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Linda Misleh Wagner: Future Former Fatty

The Truth Behind Bariatric Surgery – FFF #195

I had gastric bypass surgery in 2006. I lost almost 250 lbs. And I kept it off for five years. In the two years that followed the five year mark, I began to gain weight back, and I have since gained 115 pounds back. In this last year, I have pretty much maintained, albeit losing fifteen to twenty pounds of that weight and gaining it back and losing and gaining the same 15 to 20 pounds.

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After under going twenty-four weeks of classes to teach me everything I need to know about the surgery and how to care for myself, I was sent to see a psychologist. For the record, everyone who suffers from morbid obesity eats for psychological reasons. Emotional eating is a very common thread for us. Anger, depression, boredom, and stress are some of many emotional reasons people turn to food.

The reason for seeing a psychologist is not to see if we are eating for emotional reasons. It is to see if we can handle the drastic change to our lives when we lose so much excess weight. For example, when I weighed 430 pounds I had virtually no interest taken in me by men. After losing so much weight, I looked amazing, and even though I was still heavy by most standards, men were paying me so much attention.

For some people, this new found attention can go to their heads and for many reasons these people may not be able to handle the attention. They may feel depression because they may think the only reason they are getting this attention is because of their new found size and not because of who they are.

Others may be so heady with the attention they begin to crave more attention seeking many sexual partners. Sex may become their new addiction. This type of behavior is called transfer addiction.

Transfer addiction is very common amongst prior food-addicted people. Alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling are common transfer addictions once food-addicted people suffer from.

Others, like myself, revert to food and begin to gain weight back. The issue is not the surgery. It is the reason as to why people become addicted in the first place, and that is to escape some sort of emotional condition.

Stress at work or at home, anger or repression, depression, new found attention and the many other emotional reasons people turn to food are the reasons people revert to old habits that once brought them comfort. The key to success at

gastric bypass is to find new positive ways to handle the triggers in our lives that lead us to self destructive behaviors.

Gastric bypass surgery does not prevent cravings for food even if those who have the surgery can no longer eat very much at a time. And we re-gain the weight by grazing; instead of eating three huge meals, we eat constantly. Obviously carrot and celery sticks are not what people are grazing upon. It is more likely high caloric foods. Candy, cookies, French fries, and other fattening foods are what are being consumed.

When I had gastric bypass, this particular surgery was considered to have the best long term results. But the statistics show that most gastric bypass patients will gain ten percent of the weight they lost within the first year after weight loss, and up to fifty percent after five years. Yet, the statistics in regard to weight gain for the other options is higher. I personally prefer gastric by-pass surgery because of these statistics.

What is really important to know for people who want to consider surgery to lose weight is that any of these surgeries are only a tool. Like me, if you don’t adhere to eating like you ate after surgery, and if you revert to old habits, you will begin to gain weight back over a period of time. I pray any person who has undergone surgery to lose weight will stick to the recommendations set forth by their surgeons in regards to their daily diet and learn tools to combat emotional situations which can lead to over eating.

The surgeries result in very quick and immediate weight loss. I lost 19 pounds my first week and had lost 250 pounds within one year. Of course, this amount of weight loss creates a great deal of excess loose skin. Per my surgeon, I have about twenty to twenty-five pounds of excess skin on me. I have wanted to have surgery to remove the excess skin, but I have not had it done because at the time when I was keeping the weight off, I did not have the money to do plastic surgery. Several of my friends who had gastric bypass surgery did have excess skin removed once they reached a weight they felt they could maintain. Having surgery to remove the excess skin helped them to feel very good about themselves, raising their confidence and self-esteem.

Some people cannot do weight loss surgeries due to health reasons that may complicate surgery or recovery. This is a serious discussion between doctor and patient that will decide if the risks out weigh the benefits. I will tell you, I have known many people who suffered from very serious diseases from being over weight, who suffer from and need knee and hip replacements because of the weight on their joints, and these people have benefited tremendously and are doing exceptionally because of having gastric bypass surgery.

It feels so amazing to feel light and energetic after losing weight from surgery. It feels equally demoralizing to gain hard earned weight loss back. Gastric bypass

rid me of diabetes and high blood pressure even with the extra 115 pounds gained back. I will be forever grateful to my wonderful surgeon whom I feel saved my life. It is up to the individual to learn the requirements and adhere to these requirements to remain successful in maintaining their weight loss.

It is recommended to follow a low carb lifestyle to maintain the weight loss. Low carb eating helps maintain blood sugar, reduces cravings for sugar and other fattening foods, and is conducive to our health and well-being. My surgeon was thrilled with my progress, and my blood tests proved I was healthy.

Gastric bypass and other bariatric surgeries may not be for everyone. If you simply live a healthier lifestyle and enjoy a low carb way of eating, you won’t need surgery. It is not about having surgery to solve our binge eating. It always, and I mean always, comes down to changing our mindset, moving, moving, moving, and eating the foods conducive to a healthy body.

Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty.

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