Do whatever you want in your life!

Do whatever you want in your life!
It is not unusual to see a foaming frenzy over something said about bariatric surgery in a Tweet, Facebook post, magazine or TV soundbite. With all due respect, bariatric folks can be a touchy group who get a tiny bit worked up and defensive about their surgery. Have you ever been in the middle of relating a grand story to a friend about ‘WHAT SO AND SO SAID ABOUT YOU’ when you suddenly stopped mid sentence and realized how silly it all sounded? That is how I felt the last couple of weeks reading the comments relating to what Dr. Huizenga of The Biggest Loser said about bariatric surgery. I wanted to scream ‘SO WHAT?’ Seriously, did anyone think this reality guy would endorse bariatric surgery?

It’s a cliche but I think the way to create positive change in how bariatric surgery is perceived is to be a Good Representation of what this surgery does for people. Be a bariatric ambassador. Eat food that’s good for you, don’t wash down Subway sandwiches with Coke, take in enough protein so your hair grows back, jump rope and take vitamins so you don’t create your own deficiencies. BE the person that embodies the good in bariatric surgery that you want others to see. Stop worrying about what people say about your personal medical choices or about you in general and DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE. Be kind, be confident, be fabulous, ROCK that Little Black Dress and be proud of who you are right now, not who you may be when you’ve lost another fifty pounds. Offer no apologies for who you are. Life. Is. Very. Short. Do not forget that.

Is it the Magazine that hurts us?
Every year folks get up in arms about the Annual Weight Loss Issue of People Magazine. When this ‘special issue’ is no longer a top seller because weight loss surgery is such a positive compliment to diet and exercise, the editors will find another topic for drama.

The cover of this issue touts the catchphrase ‘No Surgery and No Gimmicks’, but they are just words unless we give them power by owning them. Take a deep breath and LET IT GO. Props to those on the cover as it IS harder to lose 100 pounds without surgery, or without gimmicks (think cabbage soup or horse urine). I’ve done it fifty ways and and by far bariatric surgery has been the easiest. Wait, this is the same ole ‘You took the Easy Way Out’ argument. Instead of feeling ‘less than’ for having weight loss surgery give yourself a pat on the back for being brave and coming as far as you have. DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE!

Who’s the Biggest Loser!
I am more affected by the uproar over what ‘The Biggest Loser’ doctor said or petitions to take down a ‘Save the Whales’ billboard or an attempt to ban People magazine into changing their tact than the target that’s been deemed offensive. I think these public outcries prompt people to be even more cruel in their comments about ‘fat people’. People write horrible things online, but those who would make fun of another person’s size were not raised well and they don’t matter! This includes editors and marketers. Stop acknowledging or owning what any of these people have to say. It is exhausting to give so much power to such negative thoughts. DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE!

Stop Looking at Me!
I was embarrassed that I was morbidly obese but did not let it stop me as the alternative was to go sit in a corner somewhere. I weighed well over 200 pounds for most of my adult years because of choices I made. Maybe it’s a mindset possible when you are older and wiser, but I own it. I know why I was obese; I created the perfect storm of food versus medical circumstance, but that doesn’t mean I want to participate in elevating the cause of Fat Equality. Sorry but I don’t want to publicly defend Obesity armed with the argument, ‘It’s a Disease!’ and I don’t believe you can force anyone to view ‘obese people’ differently.

We all know someone who has gained back every single pound of a 50 pound weight loss with or without surgery. People will continue to think what they believe is true about obesity, weight loss and weight loss surgery until they have a different personal experience. As long as there are 300 pound people in the checkout with Hot Pockets, Little Debbie and Dr. Pepper, people will continue to think we made our own bed. So forget what people think and DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE! Be a good person. Be awesome at your job. Take a walk and smile at people. Adopt a shelter cat.

What’s wrong with Diet & Exercise?
The PEOPLE Weight Loss Issue and The Biggest Loser give hope to millions that they can lose weight with diet and exercise. Not everyone can have bariatric surgery, not everyone wants it, not everyone needs it. Many, if not most of the people featured in People and The Biggest Loser do ‘gain the weight back’, but have you taken a good look around the weight loss surgery community? We have gained it back too! People with two surgeries have gained the weight back! Plus you CAN lose half your body weight with diet & exercise, no surgery and no gimmicks.

Surgical weight loss is not automatic or permanent especially once you are out there a few years. It is supposed to be complimented by diet and exercise but the problem is that for most it stands alone. We are the people on the cover of PEOPLE or standing up there on The Biggest Loser, even with surgery. Do whatever you want in your life. Make peace with who you are.

Don’t Believe Everything you Think
DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE! What you weigh has nothing to do with who you are. Smile when you feel like smiling, laugh because something is funny and dance because you are at a party and it’s fun, not ‘because no one is watching’. EVERYONE is watching! You’re at a party and you are supposed to jump up and dance when Billy Jean starts playing. That’s what parties are all about. Once you begin to believe the good about yourself, the words flying around you won’t matter. I know it sounds too simple, but the way to be happy is to love yourself regardless of who you are and where you stand even if you are looking to change.



18 thoughts on “Why do we CARE what they think about WLS?

  1. Tammi Goff says:

    Susan, this article is so spot-on!  As I learned in pre-surgery counseling, no one/nothing can have power over you unless you give it to them.  I still have times where I have to stop, take a deep breath and tell myself to just let it go.  I can’t let someone else’s opinion or ignorance affect me or how I live my life.  As you said, WE need to be the ones to change how obesity & WLS is viewed by living a healthy lifestyle & showing the positives of WLS, not by starting an ugly war of words with someone sitting at a keyboard.  Thank you for your insightfulness & words of wisdom.

  2. Ursula says:

    Thank you, Susan Maria, for your “righteous outrage”! Every word you’ve said is true.

    We all struggle every day with keeping the weight off and ugly, ridiculous comments don’t help in any way. We all know someone who took off a large amount of weight only to gain it all back again. It happens. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try. And try in a way that’s comfortable and works for THEM. It’s like the old “no pain, no gain” philosophy. It’s been discounted for fitness training, so now they apply it to weight loss. Absurd. We also know people who have lost and kept it off. God bless them, whatever they did and are doing, good for them. When will professionals ever stop trying to shove square pegs into round holes and insist that everyone has to be the same kind of [whatever] or there’s something wrong with them.Geez!

    Thank you for standing up for all of us! You rock! Hugs, Ursula

  3. DeLana Honaker PhD OTR FAOTA says:

    Thank you for this article and emphasis.  I had my gastric bypass April 2014 and have lost 73 lbs to date (began at 282…have another 39 lbs to goal).  My entire family refuses to comment about my weight loss because they think I took the ‘easy way out’…really?  I’m 51 yrs old…for literally 30 yrs I’ve been overweight and been on the diet roller coaster – I have tried over 80 diets (no exaggeration – I actually had to list them all in order to justify my surgery with insurance).  WLS was the very best decision for me…I had complications before and after but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat and I AM eating better because of WLS…I actually chose a fruit cup over french fries the other day at a restaurant (never done that before in my life!) and I’m not eating (or drinking) sugar-laden desserts or Cokes (the real kind…not the diet) because I get so sick after…it’s a price I’m very happy to pay for living a healthier lifestyle.  Truly, who cares what anyone thinks..even family members who think WLS is the ‘easy way out’?  Your life IS all about YOU…so YOU do what you believe is the best for YOU and BE happy.  Best wishes and blessings to everyone.  🙂

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      DeLana, thank you for YOUR comments! It funny to me that in this regard ‘the easy way out’ is not a compliment. Since when is beating ones head against the wall doing something the hard way considered either smart or preferable. YES, I did it the easy way. It IS easier than 80 diets that yielded nothing. The ‘easy way’ is often the best way. Is a triple bypass the ‘easy way’ out of heart disease? Probably not but its better and overall easier than living a 60% compromised life. It always makes me laugh when someone seriously says those words. Its a soundbite and not an original thought. (Oh, you took I-95 to grandmas house? Thats the easy way… I took the hard way on small roads with lots of traffic and 3 hours longer time in the car!) Ciao, Susan

  4. Linda says:

    Hi Susan Maria

    – I had my bypass done in 2002 at 320lbs and have been at a stable weight of 195lbs- have not gained and watch my intake the best way I can- being Italian we ate pasta with every conceivable veggie that grew in my grandfather’s garden- today, I do not eat pasta or rice and to tell you the truth, it does not really bother me. I use spaghetti squash as an alternative and my husband loves it!!!

    To address the skeptics who put us down for the path we decided to take, is absurd!!! For many of us there was NO OTHER WAY and would not be here to tell our war stories about the many years of fighting the darker side of obesity. The depression, the name calling, the ones who passed judgment on ALL OF US at the time we needed support and understanding. When asked my opinion from someone who is contemplating surgery, I tell them do your research, speak to your doctor, speak to others, attend a seminar and make your own decision. It is not something that anyone has the right to say “do it” . It is a very personal decision, but one I made, on my own after months of reading, investigating, etc. When I met with the first weight loss surgeon, I was on diabetic medication and I said to him, “what are the chances of surviving the surgery” his answer to me was
    “what are your chances of surviving now” that left a profound impression on me and that is what made up my mind to have it done. I am 64 years old, ride a bike, play tennis, enjoy a wonderful life and met the man of my dreams online. We married in 2010, had a beautiful wedding and would NEVER go back. I pray to God everyday for my choice to have surgery and to all the skeptics with lots of stupid opinions, unless you have been where we have been, you do not have a right to judge us for our choice to have surgery and by the way, it is far from the “easy” way out. We struggle each and every day to maintain our goals. Surgery has given me the ability to have a life that I would have never been able to have at the weight I started out. Susan Maria, thank you for your continued support and for what you give back to our community. Ciao, Linda

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Uninformed people making stupid comments they have no business making is why LET IT GO and DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO IN YOUR LIFE… are the soundbites for today. I am thrilled you have created your own happiness! Ciao, Susan

  5. Roxann Burns says:

    Thank for the pep talk!  It was 5 years ago almost to the day that I had WLS. Pounds lost over 20 months 180.  Pounds gained 20. Diet & exercise are a must to maintain weight loss. I’ve been very motivated to work on those 20 pounds before they are 50. Hang in there people!  You can do it!

  6. Phyllis Williams says:

    Hi, Susan Maria and followers.
    What a great article, and wonderful comments from readers. I am just in the middle of getting qualified for my surgery, and it took me a looong time to come to that decision. Nothing “easy” about that part, and I’m sure I will face just as many challenges during and after the surgery.  Hey, if everyone on planet earth was exactly the same, we would all have exactly the same problems in exactly the same proportions. But since we are all uniquely different, I just don’t get how anyone anywhere gets the nerve to comment on someone else’s personal health decisions. I think people who are taking action, no matter what the action is, are some of the bravest people you will find. Yay us!

  7. Barbara Bozic Conner says:

    Just had Sleeve last week.  I had lap band before in 2010 and had issues.  It had to be removed.   That didn’t stop me though.   It is something that I had thought about for a long time again — did I want to do it again – did I not —-  YES won and going thru it the 2nd time of course is not easier at all.   People who call it the easy way should do all the pre op and post op and see what it’s like.  It isn’t easy – but like I tell people…..  It’s really all mental.  If you make up your mind to it you will succeed.  You have to be mentally set to do it.   Wishing doesn’t work.  I’m glad of my decision and would encourage people to think hard about it – because it isn’t for everyone, but with the right mental attitude you can do it.

  8. Janet Batten says:

    I had gastric bypass surgery 4 1/2 yrs ago and have lost 100 lbs. I do not regret the decision even though others do say that I took the easy way out. My question is this: I do not have a regular exercise program at this time because I’ve had hand surgery due to arthritis and I’ve had low iron and am requiring iron transfusions. I have not gained any weight back……I’ve actually lost 10 lbs…..but is it inevitable that I will gain some weight back? I’m terrified of the thought! I would appreciate any feedback! Thanks:)

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Janet, all I know is that you have the rest of your life to live with this surgery and that we can’t take anything for granted. Let’s find something for you to do for a workout that won’t hurt your arthritic conditions. We have short workouts on the website that are low impact but still raise your heart rate. Don’t be scared… Just be aware.

  9. Janet Batten says:

    Thanks for the response Susan Maria! And thanks for the reminder…..I guess I just need to take one day at the time and make the best choices that I can. I’ll take a look at the workouts on the website as well. Be blessed:)

  10. Dena says:

    I’m in the process to have Gastric Bypass. I’ve looked all the pros and cons. I am sometimes indecisive. Right now and never before am craving sugar/sweets. And I truly enjoy bread and pasta. Will the hankerings go away? Will I still desire these foods so much? Trying to make up my mind. It scares me one minute and the next I’m all for it. I have also been on too many “diets”, from prescription drugs, over the counter, and of course Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Nutri System and many more only to lose a little and gain more back. I believe this is my only way out.

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Dena, you need to have a serious talk with yourself and decide if you ‘truly enjoy bread and pasta’ more than you want to be slim and healthier. I was the kind of Italian who made a pot of sauce every Sunday for my entire life and I don’t eat the spaghetti anymore. I still make the sauce but I pour it over a scoop of ricotta or eat just the meat sauce in a dish. So that pretty much does it for me but its NOT an issue as I have all the flavors I love without the pasta. I don’t care about bread… its not a big deal. I no longer have hunger at all. I had been on all the same diets you have and yo yo dieted my way to 300 pounds. My RNY surgery allowed me to get out from under the weight that I would NOT have been able to lose otherwise. It is still a lot of work because having a four ounce pouch is a tool to help you make better choices. It doesnt magically change your life… YOU still have to do that! Choose well for yourself. Ciao, Susan

  11. Patricia Barros says:

    Having sleeve surgery on 3/18, I’m on day 6 of liquid diet and for last two days it’s been very hard! feelings are hard to handle (without food) and don’t know what else to do to keep me occupied and my mind off of the fact I cannot eat now and won’t eat like before, hopefully ever! I have support, therapist, etc. I know I chose this path to lead me into a healthier life. But right now is HARD!!! Any suggestions??? Tks

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Yes, my suggestion is to NOT worry. It is VERY hard. None of us could do this without surgery. Don’t beat your self up. You will be able to have a WONDERFUL life with food. Have you not looked at the photos of my recipes??!! I travel all over the world and the only thing I cannot eat is VOLUME and that is not a problem. You will have other things to make up for the joy of a buffet. It will all be fine. As for your liquid diet, I HIGHLY recommend your getting our INSPIRE protein drinks as they are so much better than anything out there and make protein a happy thing. – Susan

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