“She’s not that big, she doesn’t need weight loss surgery, I bet if she just work out a little more she could lose her weight, weight loss surgery should really be for people only over four or five hundred pounds.”
These are all things that ran through my mind years ago when I first was considering weight loss surgery and while sitting in the seminar I saw people who could fit in the chairs comfortably didn’t look like they would have an issue putting on their shoes, people who looked like me when I was in my early 20s – when I was most active. They met the requirements for weight loss surgery at their weight – but for me – I was turned away during my most critical state. While others were able to continue on their weight loss journey, my jealousy and irritation formed into these nasty little thoughts. Of course, I’m not proud of it, but I’m going to keep it real. For a moment I was just like all the other weight loss surgery critics that I knew….and that I couldn’t stand. At that very moment – I was the naysayer.
It wasn’t until I found a surgeon willing to operate on someone my size that I began to realize how dismissive those comments were to those in their weight loss journey. These ill-informed statements fail to take into account the individual journey of each weight loss patient and the decisions that led them up to make the decision to go under the knife. People who have suffered infertility because of their weight, who have tried diet after diet, who are on multiple medications to control their obesity-related illnesses, who have heard the constant conversations between their loved ones about how concerned they are about their health. People who sat on the sidelines of life watching year after year pass by, who had experiences denied to them because of their weight, who have been hindered professionally by their weight – because obesity still is one of the most widely accepted forms discrimination and ridicule. People who have attempted to lose weight on their own, those who are battling eating disorders, who have aches and pains from their weight. People who just want to be around longer for their children and families.
Everyone has their story. Everyone has their journey. Everyone has their joys, sorrows, and experiences that have led them to this decision in their life. To write off someone else’s journey and struggles because of external appearances is asinine.
When I look at success stories now, I look at them with the utmost respect. Someone starting their journey at 250 pounds has just as much validity to their decision as I do when I started my journey in the 500s. They have gone through their own unique trials and stood face to face with their future. They made the decision to take complete reins of their life by conquering one of their most difficult battles. Through fear, judgment, and constant criticism – they move forward. The road ahead is filled with uncertainty and new beginnings, and they chose to keep going. They are my bariatric family – and I love them.