150 patients returned to the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss Saturday for a reunion as the group marked its own milestone: 3,500 patients since Dr. Rayford Kruger launched the unit nine years ago.It is now the largest and busiest bariatric surgery program in New England, with three surgeons who perform about 650 procedures at Wareham's Tobey Hospital a year.
Recently when I saw a fresh weight loss and posted it, I was confronted with a commenter who asked me why I posted my body-weight. It is a fair question and I do not challenge her asking it, because it's been asked of me many times when I have posted my actual weight-as-a-number.
I will say that number-sharing is the norm (…or was?) in the weight loss surgery/bariatric community as a whole for as long as I have been a part of it — and that is at least 10-12 years that I have actively read and participated in emails, groups and chats. I posted the question as a poll this morning on Facebook as well. Go answer! Come back.
Back in the hey-day of message boards we would add a line of text to our signatures (..siggies!) to signify our –
HW (Highest Weight)
SW (Start Weight or Surgery Weight)
CW (Current Weight)
GW (Goal Weight)
They would look alot like this!
HW – 320 SW – 298 CW – 151 – GW – 150
Don't judge the comic-sans.
I would go back to *my old posts circa 2003/2004 and show you, except I was banned from my message board back then, and my posts via BethLButterfly disappeared. She posted in Comic Sans at times. Her demise is why MM exists.
Number or weight sharing is. Was. Always will be? I would say that in general — most individuals that have bariatric surgery are often proud of every single pound lost, and want to wear their "pounds lost" as a badge of honor. Some post ops are extraordinarily proud and not only wear the pounds lost, current weight, but will add things like "LBS GONE FOREVER!"
Losing weight is no easy feat, and after bariatric surgery — it feels like victory. Why wouldn't someone want to own it — even just for a while? I suppose when you've been 500, 400, 300, 250 lbs — wearing a newly slimmed down self is quite a change and being able to put that number out there to the universe — even just for a while is worth it.
Now, for me. This commenter wondered if my posting about my actual number was an obsession – let me clear it up here. No. I've always weighed myself.
Bariatric surgery and the life afterwards is ALL ABOUT NUMBERS. Losing pounds, inches, and sometimes counting calories, measuring food, and exercise. If you're a pre-op that doesn't want to 'hear that' – I am sorry – but it really, truly, is.
I absolutely understand that some people take these numbers to an extreme – and extremes are unhealthy at any level — and that is how we get into situations like: needing bariatric surgery. Extreme caloric intake is unhealthy, an extreme sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. We require balance.
It takes a very long time for some people to learn this: example —-> ME.
While I have always "weighed-in," I am also The Queen Of Avoidance, and as soon as I see the scale move up – I remove the scale. (That's magic, if I can't see my regain, no one else can. That is, until I SEE THE PHOTO EVIDENCE MYSELF AND SCREAM. *See below.)
So what has changed? I removed myself from the effects of negative influences — changed my views on some things and … GASP …
I added ACCOUNTABILITY to my daily life. I now weigh myself near-daily, or at LEAST weekly. I check-in my food nearly every single day on a journal.
Is that obsessive? No. Why? Because before — not paying attention led to weight regain. Surrounding myself by people with negative and apathetic views on life – brought me down.
But, recently I started paying attention – and seeing results:
My brain likes to see results, black and white, literal, on paper, in lines, to show me that if I DO X – Y WILL HAPPEN.
Because it works. (Shut up Weight Watchers.) And my little brain likes proof.
If I can see tangible results I will keep going – I will keep doing a thing if I can see a result. I do not like to work for "free – " you see. Does that make sense? Here's an example, a very simple one. I started going to the gym and doing basic exercise (…long walks on the treadmill and seated elliptical) about a month ago (…I'll check back in my Facebook check ins) and I noticed a tangible result the night before last. My leg muscles are coming back. This is enough to create a positive reaction to keep me motivated.
It's not about obsessing about a number. I don't have a goal.
When I post this image, it's a big deal for me. This indicates that Beth Has Been On The Treadmill For An Hour Almost Every Day 9/10 Days. I also don't typically chart my activity unless I do something on purpose so – this is "doing something on purpose."
I am trying to make a habit — to create a new habit — to learn to enjoy exercise before I develop complete loathing for it. Because it isn't that I hate exercise, I don't. I just don't enjoy many of same things that others LIKE to do and I am not cut out for a lot of the things that many of you might enjoy.
For example – I will never be a long distance outdoor runner. It just won't happen. I can't run outdoors, unsupervised. Why? I am an uncontolled epileptic and likely to dash into traffic. I can't swim alone for the same reason, nor can my kids. I can't kayak. I can't use a bike. Nor can I take my kids on bike rides. Yeah, yeah. It sucks. Whine whine. LOL.
I CAN walk briskly on a treadmill with a safety clip on – with people around me. (10 times, 10 hours. 3/5-4 miles each. I haven't fallen.)
Nobody needs to know I am a high-fall risk. (Even though I am.) I take two medications that cause "dizziness" and "sleepiness" among other things.
I CAN walk with the family away from the road, in the woods, trails, etc. I can hula hoop. I can roller skate! (I just did.) I can take classes at the gym when I can GET there. I've been lying to myself about all the "can'ts."
I am approximately five pounds above my very lowest post op weight, which I saw one year post op before I got pregnant and right before I bounced up to 175 lbs. I will say this, my lower weight looks different the second time around. That first low-weight crash post surgery looks like death-warmed over. I look healthier now, and I think it's honestly because I eat food now and haven't had a massive weight loss like in 2004.
People have asked me "What are you doing differently now?"
Food journaling and keeping myself aware of the calories I take in. I don't journal everyday, but I DO journal.
I stopped using soy milk, and swapped to unsweetened almond milk in my coffee and for whatever other "milk" uses I have. I don't use dairy milk at all.
I quit my Starbucks habit pretty much altogether. I get an iced coffee or cappuccino if someone else takes ME out for coffee, but it's rare, and definitely less than once a week. Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, once a week.
No crackers. If I must, one serving, with protein.
No potato chips, etc.
No candy, only super dark 70%+ chocolate if I must have something. One serving.
No protein bars, except to review them, unless I am REPLACING A MEAL with one.
No protein shakes, except to review them, unless I am REPLACING A MEAL with one.
This isn't "new" – but zero alcohol in my house. It's just a rule. If it's not here, I can't have it. It's just the rule.
If there's one thing I have learned this year – it's that I can't graze without noting. I can't just nibble all day long and expect that I won't see gains, because I do. I gain very fast on relatively low calories.
I have also learned that giving up things I can't control – stressors – outside influences – people, even – helps. I started losing the weight as soon as I made this connection.
Look at my weight loss timeline. Look at the dates.
Now look at my regain photos from the last year – same timing.
Seems easy enough, right?
Let. it. go.
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” ― C. JoyBell C.
People CAN be TOXIC to your HEALTH. Let. them. go.
(*Not the ones in this photo. LOL. But, I am also 25 lbs lighter SINCE these photos and the timeline. It's a visual.)
I'm not a shopper. Since I work from home, I rarely get new clothes.
The other day I noticed that New York + Co had a 50% off everything sale and went in. The saleswoman said to me, "You look like you'd rather be anywhere but here."
I told her that I am not fan of clothes shopping, and she called me "Cute," and "Small."
I laughed, and realized soon why I have so much dismay for clothes shopping. THE FITTING ROOM. THE LIGHTS.
THE VARICOSE VEINS. I have the legs of an 80 year old woman.
It's not about SIZES or the number on my scale, because I am nearly to my lowest weight. I reached my lowest weight just after one year post op, I hit 149 pounds for one day and regained immediately.
I am 156 pounds today.
I still don't like the melted candle puddle of skin that I have — nine years later. Full honesty, I am FINE with it once I am wearing appropriate undergarments and everything is in it's place, but even in a size 8P (I also bought a pair of 6P) – sometimes you feel like a puddle of flesh.
1. Life with Cake – Greta Gleissner is a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. Life with Cake is a personal blog about her recovery from an eating disorder and includes advice about addressing urges to eat emotionally.
2. Karen C.L. Anderson – Karen C.L. Anderson writes about what happens after achieving “weight-loss success”. She talks about self-acceptance, how to truly feel your feelings, and eating mindfully.
3. The Begin Within Blog – The Begin Within Blog is a blog for individuals recovering from eating disorders. The blog covers a wide range of topics from binge eating to intuitive eating to kindness and compassion.
4. Savor the Blog – Savor the Blog expands on the themes found in Savor, the popular book by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung. Many of the posts are about mindful eating, while others address the emotional reasons we make our food choices.
5. A Weigh Out – A Weigh Out is a blog written by a number of contributors — all of them professionals in the field of nutrition, emotional eating, and eating disorder therapy. While some of the posts are personal reflections by the coaches and therapists, a number of the posts include advice about addressing emotions in our lives that can affect health — and diet.
"The newest insanity to hit the weight loss circuit.. 1-2lbs a yr or up to 10lbs in 5 yrs if you….. Lick the peanut butter off the spoon daily, eat 2 crackers daily, lick your fingers when eating chips…. INSANITY"
I know exactly what this blogger is referring to – I attended and recorded the event where the discussion took place.
Clinically, Dr. Sarwer is the Director of the Stunkard Weight Management Program and is actively involved in the Bariatric Surgery Program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts behavioral/psychological evaluations of patients prior to surgery. He also treats individuals with eating or other psychological concerns after bariatric surgery. Dr. Sarwer provides psychotherapeutic treatment to persons who have body dysmorphic disorder or other appearance concerns –
Dr. Sarwer needs to immerse himself in our WLS community forever thankyouplease, or not, because we have the BODY DYSEVERYTHING –
Body Image Researcher David Sarwer Debunks Hollywood Myths http://huff.to/RHjGnH
Myth 1: The fatter you are, the worse your body image.
Q. People assume that weight gain and bad body image go hand in hand, and yet, that assumption doesn't reflect the truth. What's the truth about weight gain and body image?
A. There's typically very little relationship between someone's objective appearance and their subjective body image. Individuals who are the most objectively attractive will sometimes have very negative body images, and individuals who are less attractive will sometimes show relatively little body image distress. [That said,] as the American population has gotten heavier, we are perhaps a little more accepting of full-figured body presentations in public. Ten to 15 years ago when we talked about the body image of overweight individuals, the focus was: "Isn't it unfortunate that people who are overweight feel like they need to camouflage their appearance in big, baggy clothing." Now, the discussion has gone 180 degrees in the other direction: "Why are overweight individuals wearing inappropriately form-fitting and revealing clothing?"
Myth 2: Losing weight is the best way to boost body image.
Q. You've written that weight reduction is the most popular form of body image therapy. But is it the best way to boost body image? What do you have to say about that?
A. A number of studies have shown that as individuals lose weight, even very modest amounts of weight, they show improvements in body image. At the same time, a lot of people after weight loss, including the more dramatic weight loss we see with bariatric surgery, still have a good degree of residual body dissatisfaction. There are limitations to how much weight you can physically lose. Perhaps the best way to address this [residual] dissatisfaction is learning how to think and behave differently.
Myth 3: Gastric bypass surgery cures body image woes.
Q. Clearly, bariatric surgery decreases weight-related health problems, but what about body-image woes? Is it reasonable to expect gastric bypass, among other surgical weight-loss procedures, to boost body image?
A. With all bariatric surgery procedures (gastric bypass, the sleeve, the banding procedure), the average weight loss is somewhere between 25 and 35 percent of an individual's initial body weight. Individuals typically reach those weight losses within the first 18 to 24 months after of surgery. With those weight losses, there are typically significant improvements in things like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease within the first year or two after surgery. But before patients reach the largest percentage of weight loss, they report significant improvements in body image. As patients are losing weight within the first three to six months after surgery, they report significant improvements in body image. The caveat: after they've lost weight, some patients complain about the loose, hanging skin. That's probably a big reason why more than 50,000 Americans every year turn to plastic surgery after massive weight loss.
Myth 4: Liposuction, tummy tucks and other shape-altering surgeries transform body image.
Q. The hope is that liposuction, tummy tucks and other shape-altering surgeries will transform body image, but is this hope well-founded? Do these popular procedures actually boost body image, or do they leave people feeling just as bad, if not worse?
A. After cosmetic surgical procedures, patients do experience improvements in body image. The primary catalyst for a cosmetic procedure is dissatisfaction with a part of their appearance — with their nose in the case of rhinoplasty, their love handles in the case of liposuction, or their breasts in the case of breast augmentation. After surgery, the vast majority report improvements in their physical appearance and their body image. In some cases, however, patients may be dissatisfied because of complications or scarring. In other cases, it may be they had unrealistic expectations about what the surgery was going to do. Somewhere between 5 and 15 percent of patients suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. They're preoccupied with a relatively slight defect in their appearance. Those patients typically don't report improvements in their body image after undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Myth 5: Breast implants boost body image.
Q. One of the most surprising things I've learned from your writing is that there's an increased suicide risk among women who get breast implants for cosmetic purposes. I know you're not saying the surgery causes suicide, but what have you concluded about body image and breast implants?
A. Seven studies throughout the world have shown an increased rate of suicide two to three times greater among women who have undergone cosmetic breast augmentation. (These studies were looking at women who get breast implants for cosmetic purposes, not for cancer.) The reasons are not particularly well-articulated, but it's likely that these women have preexisting [mental illness] that is not picked up by the plastic surgeon or not even recognized by the patient herself. One of the strongest predictors of a subsequent suicide is a history of psychiatric hospitalization. These women already have a history of significant mental illness that is returning some time within years after the cosmetic procedure.