Recently, when the newspaper, The New Orleans
Picayune, interviewed me the reporter mentioned that there is a
common criticism of weight loss surgery stories. They are either
absolutely wonderful or they are disasters.
She questioned whether there is a segment that never gets
heard from. That
started me thinking about those who consider themselves failures,
and how we define failure in relationship to this surgery. But
before we look at failure, let’s look at success.
The surgical community considers anyone a
success when they have lost 50% of their excess weight. Right there we have a problem. I think we all approach this
surgery expecting we are going to lose 100% of our excess weight.
And if we don’t, then we consider ourselves failures even
though our surgeon is adding our name to their success column.
The first month or two after the surgery makes
matters worse. You are
losing 20 pounds a month and believing that this will go on forever.
I know I had my calculator out and was trying to figure out
how long it would be before I hit my goal (excess pounds divided by
20). But life isn’t like that for most of us. We hit plateaus.
We come to the end of our widow of opportunity before we
reach our goal and we stop losing.
Or we stop losing and regain some of our weight.
And there are people who term themselves
“slow losers.” They may never achieve the “20 pounds lost per
month” mark. These are the people who my heart truly goes out to.
They are the silent group who may stop going to their support
group because they feel like they are such failures.
They don’t go to their surgical follow up appointments
because it will mean getting on the scale. They don’t discuss what
they are going through in chat rooms. And they probably don’t
because they get the same response, “Are you eating your protein,
exercising, and drinking water?” “If you are, then you must be
snacking.” “It has to be your fault.” And the feelings of
failure adding to the low self-esteem continue at an accelerated
rate, because after all, the person had weight loss surgery.
Why do surgeons consider 50% as a success?
It is because there is no other method that you could use
that would result in that much weight loss on a permanent basis.
Remember back to your old diet days?
Yes, you lost weight, but regained it plus additional weight.
The best you can attain with dieting is a 5% weight loss.
Before surgery, have your eyes wide open.
Although most people lose 70% to 80% of their excess weight,
you may lose only 50%.. Figure out
what 50% is, and be sure to rejoice when you hit that mark.
Anything else is a bonus!