Bariatric Surgery: The Easy Way Out
There is one recurring … fear and frustration that dogs many people who have had bariatric surgery (aka weight loss surgery). I’ve heard it from patients online, in various support groups I’ve attended/facilitated/led, as well as while at various obesity related events. It’s this perception that using surgery to get to a healthier weight is “taking the easy way out”.
I suppose I’ve been fortunate enough to never have had it directed at me from those around me, at least not to my face. But if anyone were to do so.. my response would be along the lines of… “So?”
I could sit here, typing away a long list of arguments about why that statement isn’t true, but let’s suppose for a moment it’s not. So what? Is there some sort of award, maybe a merit badge that I would get if I did it “the hard way”? Because if so, I should have about four or five of them.
It didn’t happen often, but I could do a pretty good job of losing 50+ pounds… of course they would always find their way back eventually. And bring friends. What surgery has done is help me do something I had never done before. Keep the weight off for more than a year. Actually nearly 10 years at this point. I can say nearly 10, because as of today I’m actually one day past 9-1/2 years, so I’m officially closer to 10 years now.
Why does getting to a healthier weight have to be done the hard way to be legit? When someone wants to quit smoking, sure, we give kudos to someone that goes cold turkey (the hard way), but we also applaud those who take the easy way with the help of gum, patches, etc. And every day we do things ‘the easy way” because of the advances we’ve made as a society. Or did you take a horse and wagon for your commute to work today?
Think of it like building a house. Yea, I could build a pretty decent house using hand tools. A hand saw, a regular hammer, etc. But I could also build one just as nice using a power saw and nail/screw guns. Is using those power tools taking the easy way out? Is my house any less a home because I didn’t stick to the hand tools?
It doesn’t matter. Those homes are the same. And when all is said and done they’re going to take just as much effort and discipline to maintain for the long term. (1) What we’re doing takes work, at times very difficult work, but yea, I chose to get some help. I chose to make it easier. Not easy, but easier than it otherwise would have been. And I’m not ashamed or afraid to admit that.
So if anyone tries to tell you that you took the easy way out when it comes to having had bariatric surgery, challenge them. Ask them why taking control of your health should be hard? We should all be doing everything we can to make healthy living easier for more people, not putting up barriers and obstacles and stigma that make it harder for people.
The video above, where I basically say what I just said here was done as part of the Weight of the World Initiative (2) by the Obesity Action Coalition as part of National Obesity Care Week (NOCW). The video was released as part of promoting the focus on Bariatric Surgery as a treatment option. Please take a moment to read more about NOCW and maybe even take the pledge to help spread awareness about the issues around obesity, and maybe even sign the petition to help push for more coverage of bariatric surgery as a legitimate treatment for obesity.
(1) Quick Note: While I’ve been using the power tool/hand tool analogy in this type of discussion for years, the bit about long term maintenance is one I just recently read on other postings on Facebook, and I’m sorry, but I don’t recall who posted it. I would give them a shout out if I did.
(2) What is the Weight of the World Initiative? This quote sums it up nicely, but you can find out more at weightoftheworld.com
Weight of the World is a global initiative that aims to connect us through our stories. This unique video collection platform, powered by the OAC, seeks to help Community members understand they’re not alone on their journey. Others are out there who look like you, sound like you and have similar experiences that have shaped their lives. Our stories bring us together, offer support and change perceptions about what it’s like to live with obesity.