Monday, March 7, 2011

My Weight Loss Journey - The Night Before...

"Obesity is a worldwide epidemic, and is rampant in the United States. It is newly recognized as a major disease. Obesity not only affects the individual's physical appearance, but also increases health risks and incidence of death. To know that in the United States alone, there are more then 300,000 preventable deaths yearly, about 34 each hour, is very serious and frightening."* you want to know a secret? I'm fat and I've never really had a problem with it. When I think of myself, I don't think of a fat person. Walking in front of a mirror is always a sad surprise. It seems like it's always been all the OTHER people around me that have had a problem with MY body. Even though I'm over 100 pounds overweight, I'm in almost perfect health. My blood pressure and cholesterol are totally normal. Sure, I might get out of breath going up a lot of stairs, but I can still get up them with no problems. Plus, I really do enjoy food. I enjoy the act of creating a big meal and sitting down to eat it. So, the night before my life-changing weight loss surgery, I've started to ask myself who, exactly, I'm doing this for.

Don't get me wrong, months..hell, YEARS of research have gone into this decision. I've weight the risks and the rewards. I've tried other methods but after six months of a medically monitored weight loss program where I was eating right and seriously working out five days a week without much of a dent in my weight, it's become apparent that weight loss surgery is my last option. But who does the shape of my body matter most to? My husband...I'm sure he wouldn't mind a skinny wife who can lounge next to him on the beach in a bikini. A wife who can hike up a mountain or around a foreign city with him. My family...obesity is huge (pun intended) problem with my family. When my psychologist first asked me why I was doing this the only response I could think of was "I don't want to end up like my grandmother." I'm not trying to be mean when I say this and she's one of my greatest supporters when it comes to having the surgery. The rest of the world...even with the vast obesity statistics it's still totally counter culture to be overweight. In the end I want to live my life to the fullest...not be afraid to get on planes because of my weight or stuck in bed when I'm older because I'm too heavy to walk anymore. Mostly I WANT to be doing this for me.

I don't want these outside opinions to matter as much as they do. I want to be skinny for my husband because that would make ME happy. I want to be skinny for my family because it would make ME happy to break this family curse. I want to get thin and healthy so that when Mike and I have children they have the best possible chance from the very beginning. Not just through gestation, but as their own habits develop as they grow.

"To the patients with a status of 'morbid obesity' - 100 pounds or more above their ideal weight - the treatment of choice becomes surgery, since nonsurgical methods are projected to have an almost total failure rate."*

So, tomorrow promptly at 8am I'll be walking confidently (well, nervously) into Overlake Hospital for my Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery. Yes, it's drastic. Yes, I'll mourn food. Yes, I'll wonder over and over what the HELL I did to myself...but maybe in the end I'll be able to look in the mirror and see the person I've always pictured myself to be.

Mike, Me, and my grandmother June 26, 2010
Photo credit: Chris Schmauch, GoodEye Photography

* Excerpts from Before & After: Living and Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery by Susan Maria Leach
All images and content Copyright 2010 Amber Melena.