I think it’s important for other perspectives when discussing healthy lifestyle changes therefore this is the first in what I hope to be series of guest blog posts…
Jessica has an interesting story to share, one that is extremely powerful that speaks volumes about how losing weight, regardless of the method used, can literally change someone on the inside just as much as the outside.
We and those who see us tend to get so caught up in the scale and appearance that we forget to pay attention to the real change that happens to us mentally.
Never underestimate the impact that weight-loss has on us as WHOLE people. Feeling hopeful is the first step in being successful.
When I saw the call-out on Andrea’s I’mperfect page asking us to share how our healthy lifestyle has changed us on the outside and on the inside I knew I had to write a post.
My weight loss surgery journey has been a unique one. I have undergone two different surgeries and had a very difficult journey.
My personal journey started on started on July 12, 2010 when I underwent gastric sleeve weight loss surgery as the first step in a “staged” bariatric surgery process. I was too heavy back in 2010, I had a BMI of over 65, my surgeon’s cutoff for to safely undergo gastric bypass was 60. My surgeon also felt that I was on too many medications for my severe anxiety and depression, after being misdiagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2009. He was concerned that my medications might not be absorbed properly and I would have even more mental health issues. He said that one day I could have the bypass done if I ever got mentally and physically better.
I refuse to believe that I have failed or been unsuccessful with my first surgery. Many people are not aware that the sleeve can often be the first step in a two step process either following with gastric bypass or the duodenal switch. Many others are quick to tell me my sleeve failed me since I had a second surgery. We did the first surgery to get me to a better place physically and a better place mentally so that one day when I was financially able I could undergo the bypass surgery to help get the largest amount of weight off.
My sleeve helped me lose about 50 pounds and go off my diabetes medications. Mentally I went from 7 psychiatric medications to just barely function to being medication free. My sleeve did work, at least to me it did. My first surgery was also a difficult journey. I was hospitalized twice in the first ten months for wanting to seriously hurt myself or even kill myself. I think that’s successful considering I could have been six feet under at this point.
I had my second-step surgery, gastric bypass, on January 14, 2013. I’ve now lost over 100 pounds total through the aid of both surgeries and I am losing more each month but you will rarely see me posting numbers on my blog and Facebook page because it doesn’t define the success of my journey. I embrace everything in my journey and don’t base my success on what the number says. Now I obliviously don’t want the number going up but as long as it is going down who cares if it’s slow. I am so much more than my weight. That is something else I have learned through my journey.
My healthy lifestyle has changed me both inside and out, I became a completely different person.
Inside I mentally changed into a person who loves life and embraces every success that happens to her, weight related or not. My mental change was the biggest undergoing I had; you can just ask anyone who has known me for a long time. I am not even the same person I was three years ago.
I truly wish that mental health was more closely looked at before surgery and after. I was very fortunate that I was able to attend weekly counseling sessions with a psychologist at my bariatric center. I also attended intensive outpatient therapy through a local hospital. However, I do wish I had attended those things prior to any weight loss surgeries and think that others need to be better mentally prepared before undergoing such a big lifestyle change.
I now run my own monthly online support group chat for other weight loss surgery patients and those who are getting ready to undergoing surgery. I want others to be mentally ready as they prepare for their journeys.
Outside I changed too. There is the obvious difference of my size as you can see in my before and “current.” But you can also see the difference about how I care about my appearance: I wear makeup most days and always a smile. You can see self-confidence oozing out of my current photography. You can also see me at the gym and outside running 5Ks. Those are things I never did before weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgery has changed me all over and I would go through what I went through all over again because I am a changed person and truly love who I’ve become.
You can read my blog Bariatric Beginnings at www.bariatricbeginnings.com.