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Monday, October 4, 2010

Banging my head against a wall

Good Monday morning!  I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing weekend.  I spent a fair portion of my weekend fighting a cold (I think I'm over the worst of it - Thank God) and sitting on the side of a soccer field.  My oldest daughter (age 9) plays soccer.  She is big for her age and is a great defensive player.  Nothing and no one gets by her!  I'm proud of how hard she works at it and it is cool to see her work as a part of a team.

But I digress because soccer is NOT why I am banging my head against a wall.  My frustration stems from watching someone I know struggle with obesity.  A woman I went to college with is quite obese, as is her fiance.  I am facebook friends with both of them and the fiance is constantly posting about how fed up he is with being overweight.  He has also posted that he weighs over 400 lbs.  (181 kg.).  They have two young children and he has been in and out of the hospital this year with various obesity-related issues.  He has been unable to find a job and they are also struggling with poverty.  I have never before said anything to either of them about WLS, but this weekend, for some reason, I posted.  Here is the stream (I am posting in several colors to make it clear when the dialogue changes from person to person):

 (Original status update) If you're overweight and want to fix that, what would help you the most? Support group? Partners? Excercise programs?


Peter : Support group.

Caelyn: getting off the computer, exercise, eatting healthy, sand quitting smoking

Amanda Wooldridge (ME!): I truly believe surgery is the only option for the severely obese. The vast majority of diets fail - somewhere in the neighborhood of 97% fail,, leaving only 3% who manage to lose weight and keep it off more than one year.

Anna: it did not take overnight to get ourselves obese. surgery is a tool. and you need to be mind set. do what works best for you. it will take time. small steps for best progress. im here if you need to talk i know how hard and frusterating it is.

Brandy: I have had several doctors tell me weight watchers is the very best thing and alli....so either of those. they are both spendy but worth it. I need to do something..... ugggggg and absolutely exercise.....that one is a must .

Anna: i was given a bunch of weight watcher stuff ie the point program. started today not hungry. want me copy it and send to you

Brandy: it really does work!! I tried it for a while but then got too busy to go to the meetings and stuff.

Dawn: just deciding to take one more step than I took the day before & portion control (why does food have to taste so good?).

Heather: NO on the surgery! A support group, exercise, lowering your calories. I am working with a client right now that is very heavy, and he has had no luck til now. We have lowered his calorie intake by 800 calories, he is doing 45 minutes of wal...king four times a week, and doing 30 minutes of weights twice a week. He has lost almost 30lbs. Now we are will lower the calories he eats another 200 for a total of 1000 calories less then he was eating. Surgery is not a permanent fix. You need to fix what is broken. You need to find out how come you have gotten to where you have, you need to work on that. Usually it is emotional and not an easy fix. Then you make the mental choice to change your eating habbits, how much you eat, what you eat, and make it a goal to get in exercise at least to start 30 minutes four to five days a week. Any kind of muscle building on top of that, pushups against the wall, lifting of gallons of water, whatever you have around the house. Then go from there.See More


Heather: If you need help Call me when you feel weak, want to give in, or need a push, I am here to help. (End of stream)

I'm just shaking my head here.  I don't know how any responsible person could tell someone who is so significantly obese with numerous co-morbidities NOT to have WLS.  This guy probably won't make it to 50.  He has two kids under the age of 4 who will not have a father if he doesn't get a handle on this problem.  There are several things that really strike me about this facebook conversation.  One is that a few people suggest Weight Watchers, a program I have done numerous times (I'm actually a lifetime member).  I think WW is a good program and it offers great tools for losing weight, but it isn't the answer for most people.  Even the people who were recommending it in that facebook stream were saying they were too busy to do it or that they too were overweight and not doing anything about it.  Another person was recommending Alli and saying their doctor recommended it, but I'm pretty sure that drug is on the way out (if it hasn't already been recalled) due to numerous problems.

UGH!  I wish I hadn't said ANYTHING.  Now I'm just pissed off!  So here is what I posted in response to the last comments:

I have a lot of strong opinions on this subject as someone who used to be obese and no longer is. I've also done WW and many other diets over the years. I have come to realize that diets are a huge part of the problem. The real issue is that we are eating when we aren't hungry and we aren't stopping when we've had enough. Diets actually magnify this problem because they tell us what to eat and when to eat and when to stop eating, but they don't teach us to re-gain our innate sense of hunger and satiety. Every one of us is born knowing when we are hungry and when we are full, but those of us who are or have been obese lose this sense. We eat because we are stressed or tired or bored or angry or WHATEVER. We start eating and we don't stop when we are full.



Weight loss surgery is a tool, but it is also the ONLY tool that can offer a greater than 50% chance of beating obesity. Every diet can offer only a very slight chance of success. As I said previously 97% of diets fail and if you just read the responses to this status update, you can see several examples of this phenomenon. We assume diets fail because we are failures, but I challenge this assumption. I believe the real problem is as I stated previously.


If you have co morbidities and a BMI greater than 40, weight loss surgery is your best chance of conquering this problem. Statistically it is the ONLY valid option.

Okay, I'm going to put away my soap box now.  Why, oh why, can't people just do what I say?  Wouldn't life be so much better then?

18 comments:

~ Katie ~ said...

Loved this post! I noticed too that they were all for WW but didn't have time to do it themselves. That's how it always goes, huh? We decide to lose weight, we start a program even start exercising and everything is going good for a bit, then life happens and we quit. That's why I love my band! Life happens and I don't quit. Thanks for the comments on my blog :)

Mary H. said...

Some folks just don't believe in the surgery route. I don't think they could possibly understand unless they've been there and experienced it for themselves. You CAN screw up a WLS, but it's even easier to screw up WW or dieting. Plus, I don't know about everyone else, but part of the reason I got the band was to help me learn the right way to eat and not have to diet for the rest of my life. They don't understand that WLS is just as much about learning the right way to function with food as it is about giving your physical body an advantage against hunger and temptation...

Lonicera said...

I think you're on a very worthy crusade. All the good eating/exercise habits which the anti WLS person was advocating, they are indeed the solution - but for our children, not for us. Teach THEM all these good things, make THEM apply them while they're still young enough for the principles to be fixed forever in their brains WHILE THEY'RE STILL SLIM. For us it's too late to do this, we need the barrier to stop us over-eating, for the rest of our lives.
Caroline

MandaPanda said...

I certainly don't believe WLS is for everyone but to summarily dismiss it as even an option is just ignorant. Diets fail...someone (sorry - can't remember which blogster) did a post this weekend about how they hate the term "lifestyle change" because it's so overused but it's the truth. Surgery buys you the time to make the lifestyle change...allows you a safety net if you will so you don't go falling off the deep end that most will undoubtedly do at some point. WW is great for a lot of people but I know very few people who do WW for life. They do until they give up or hit goal (whichever comes first). They do this because WW is not a lifestyle change. NO ONE is going to count points forever. That's when weight loss is still seen as a temporary journey instead of how you're going to live the rest of your life. Now I'll get off MY soapbox. Great post! Thanks for sharing it! (sorry I babbled here)

Jenny said...

Just because it works for me doesn't mean its the answer for everyone. Your heart is in the right place for your friend. I do think that the band is a gift and it has been an amazing tool for me. Not everyone feels that way though. Maybe you should talk to your friend privately. I know how you feel getting fired up about stuff-especially on FB or blogs.

Personally, I think if he is 400lbs and has the co-morbidities he should consider WLS. There are plenty of free advice sessions given by doctors and hospitals where he can get some facts. With that said, if he isn't in the right frame of mind it won't work for him.

Bonnie said...

It is frustrating when people won't even consider surgery as an option. I think there has been more negative publicity regarding surgery than positive and that's a damn shame.

Debbie said...

You are right surgery is only a tool. WW is also only a tool. I hope they get help soon.

Blossom said...

You make great points and as a fellow bandster, I agree! But you're going to get a lot of flack, unfortunately. It doesnt' sound like he is ready anyways; saying he's too busy to go to meetings means he's not really trying. And wasn't there just some big health concern about Alli anyways? Anyhow. As mentioned above, maybe talk to him privately? After seeing how other friends reacted to WLS, he may now be nervous about talking about it!

Heather said...

Very well stated. The long term is what set me on this path. I have been skinny in my adult life... a couple of times. This time is forever!

Maree said...

Totally agree with you re diets failing, not the dieter - and yet we were always told that if we just tried hard enough and had enough willpower, we could lose weight with diet alone. You're trying your best for your friends but there are some people who see food and WLS as a moral/willpower issue and dismiss surgery as "the easy way out" - well, I don't think it is, but even if it is, so what? If it works and keeps us healthy and alive, would it matter if it was easy?

Band Geek said...

You go, girl! Yeah, that thread got my blood boiling a bit....

Drazil said...

Ah yes - the joys of Facebook. Some days I love it - the other days I want to delete my account.

Epiphany said...

I agree 100% with what you said. Why do people think that choosing surgery is our version of trying to "cure" or "fix" things the easy way? It's not, it's a TOOL. Like a diet, but MORE SENSIBLE!!! GGGRRR. Well fought. ;)

workinprogress said...

hehehe - love your last sentence 'why can't people just doe as I say' - lol!!! I think we've all been there!

I totally agree with you and would be very interested to know how many of these people making saying things like 'exercise, turn off the computer, etc' have really ever struggled.

Good for you for putting it out there. The other comments are things I have heard before and only make you feel like more of a failure when you are stuck in the obesity cycle.

Tina said...

I'm with you Amanda--the problem is that the person needing weightloss has to see if for his or herself. Hopefully your comments will seep in slowly and will help someone over time.

I have friends who have known the whole time I had surgery and still do not see it as a good option for them. The whole idea of surgery scares them. For some I think it is having to let go of eating what they always have...I think everyone wants a magic bullet and there just isn't one. The band is as magic as I can get and I love it but I have also prioritized the changes.

Kristin said...

It's funny, I was just thinking about how much I agonized, really agonized about the decision to have my surgery. I first thought about doing it five years ago, and then held off.

Now that it's done, it seems like soooooo not a big deal. I did it, I'm thrilled I did it, and I would do it again over and over. It's hard for me to remember why I found the idea of WLS so radical, but I try to keep it in mind when i hear other people talking that way. WLS is referred to in derogatory terms almost every time you read about it or see something about it on TV, and that does influence other people's thinking.

Good for you for holding your ground and explaining your argument. You did it really well, Amanda, and who knows? You may have planted a seed in your friend's head. Bet you get a phone call from him in the next few weeks...

Christine said...

It's so difficult to love people like your friends and to watch them suffer without any ability to help them. Unless their minds are open and they are committed to putting in the hard work, their lives aren't going to change. It must be devastating for you to sit back and watch this happen. Unfortunately, that's all you CAN do. You've told them you want to help them, you can educate them about WLS. The ball is truly in their court now.

Kenda said...

I'm really glad you posted this on here Amanda... this FB discussion really ticked me off too... in fact.. I think I had a lot of choice words in response to the anti-surgery stance. As you know, the original poster does want to have WLS, however, there is the issue of the insurance not covering it until he develops diabetes... ridiculous rules.. he is now well over 525 pounds, can barely manuever around the house, deals with major depression issues, and lots of other stuff... If we had the money I would send him down to the place you went. Please, keep prayin for him, and I greatly appreciate your support! <3 to you!! -K