That’s what my srugeon’s office calls it. It’s the class where you go and learn about what to do pre-op, what to do the day of and the day after, and what to do post-op, and how to eat and all that fun stuff. Although there’s really no eating to speak of until 4 weeks post-op, when you actually get to try some solid foods. Two weeks post-op you can start with pureed foods, so there’s a little gumming, but not much eating. (Am I bad for saying I’d rather just eat baby food than try to puree chicken in my blender? ‘Cause I would. I’m just sayin’.)
I learned why the surgeon ordered my pre-op liquid diet to last 3 weeks instead of the two they initially told me. It’s because I’ve got a lot of belly fat, and it will make the surgery easier for him to perform if more of that belly fat gets gone between now and then. They said people lose between 5 and 25 pounds on the pre-op diet alone, and that’s before they ever even get banded. I spent $300 on a whole lotta boxes of Op.ti.fast, some chocolate, some vanilla, and some strawberry. Joe’s got gobs of sugar-free Jell-O in the fridge, and I’ll pick up some sugar-free frozen pops tomorrow. And I bought a handy-dandy shaker to mix things up.
I have to confess I’m nervous about this. I’ve never successfully stuck to any kind of a liquid diet before. I’ve got the motivation of prepping for surgery, which helps, and I’ve got a lot of people rooting for me. My boss told me yesterday that she’s going to make sure I don’t eat anything I’m not supposed to eat while I’m at work. But it’s over Christmas, and we’re going out of town. Joe bought so much candy and cookies and junk food for the great Christmas celebration with our best friends, and every time he asked if I wanted this or that for my stocking, I told him no. So while we’re sitting down for Christmas dinner in whatever restaurant we have Christmas dinner in, they’ll be eating and I’ll be sipping a shake. On Christmas morning while the kids (and Joe) eat so much chocolate they’ll be bouncing off the walls, I’ll be sipping a shake. On Christmas Eve while we’re touring the Johnson Space Center, they’ll eat overpriced food at the cafe there and I’ll be sipping a shake.
Welcome to my pity party, huh? I don’t mean to be a pathetic whiny-baby. I keep telling myself that it’s worth it. I have a goal to get rid of a lot of weight, and I’m doing this to get banded, a tool that will help me keep it off. I’ve lost before, lost plenty, but every time it came back because I let off eating right and went back to my old unhealthy patterns of eating.
I read someone’s blog post yesterday where she was asking why people who get banded or gastric bypass, as a way to help force themselves to eat properly, don’t just choose to eat properly. She made a comment about how if people want to lose weight without bothering to exercise, then fine. But she made it very clear she thinks we’re being lazy. Well, guess what? Getting the band or getting gastric bypass doesn’t automatically make one eat properly. I know some people who have had these surgeries and continued with unhealthy eating habits, and have gained back much, if not all, of what they initially lost. I know people who have had these surgeries and have not exercised, and don’t have the strength and energy to live a vibrant life.
When I first met my surgeon, he told me that if I follow only half of his instructions, I will have only half a success. I choose to have a full success. That means I choose to exercise every day. That means I choose to eat well, following the guidelines he has given me for the proper way to eat for the rest of my life. Yesterday they emphasized the importance of walking, right away, for half an hour a day, working up to a full hour a day. Starting 6 weeks post-surgery, I can go back to riding my recumbent bike, or I can do exercises with the gaming system I’m planning to buy if Santa Claus doesn’t bring it. So getting banded, or sleeved, or having gastric bypass, isn’t taking the easy way out. It requires as much deliberate effort as losing weight without having the surgery; it just provides a tool for my weight-loss arsenal.
So to the woman who wrote that blog post, I guess I’d just like to say that you cannot paint every person who chooses to have these procedures with a broad brush. We’re all coming to this decision in our own ways. For me it’s been years of thinking about it, talking to people who’ve done it, trying to lose weight on my own, giving up on losing weight on my own, back and forth back and forthness. It wasn’t an easy decision. I think it’s a good decision for me. But it’s not easy. Never easy. Easy is I decide I don’t want to be fat anymore, and I wake up the next morning skinny. That’s easy. This is not like that.