Being fat sucks. Being tired and feeling sick and having no energy is not a wonderful way to live your life. Luckily, I stay active, even with my excess weight. My children and husband demand an active lifestyle, and so we continue to enjoy walks in the woods, days at amusement parks and zoos, bike riding out in nature...all things I love and treasure, and am blessed to be able to do with my family. I haven't yet held them back from doing what they enjoy in life, even if I have held myself back many times due to my weight and size. I know they would all prefer me to be healthier and also more eye appealing, but never have my own family made me to feel like I am a burden (I am not, I do everything for them, for the record, but they could whine and complain much more than they do).
I despise being fat, and hate when people mention that I look as if I have lost weight...I do not like that attention on myself. I don't like people noticing as it makes me feel even more self-conscious. Sometimes I think that alone plays a part in my losing motivation. Stupid, maybe, but being heavy is not only physically exhausting, but also emotionally and mentally. It plays with your mind and your body. It's not a fun manner of living.
Lately, I have been confronted with numerous friends and acquaintances who have chosen to do something about their weight once and for all. However, they are doing it surgically, rather than through diet and exercise. And I am sort of stuck in this fight with myself about how I feel about doing something so drastic. Is it okay, is it necessary, is it an easy way out, is it the "magic pill" everyone dreams of finding? Here is what I have concluded given my own weight battles and my own experiences:
I believe that being overweight is somewhat of a choice. Yes, there are many other roles playing a part, but ultimately, it is me who places the food in my mouth, and if I make poor choices, I will gain. If I choose not to get out and exercise, I will have no muscles to break down the fat. This is also a choice, and one I am not very good about completing, other than for necessity. So, it lays on my shoulders, the choices I have made in getting me to this place.
Once you reach a certain weight, it is no longer an easy task to turn it around. Your habits persuade you, and even in your very best of intentions, it is easy to fail. Often, with being overweight, you are confronted with additional health issues, such as diabetes, joint pain, back pain, stomach issues, an inability to have children, heart problems. These are all medical issues, but stem from choices you have made. It is a result of being overweight. I, personally, have been lucky not to suffer any serious medical issues due to my weight, but do tend to have pain in my knees and ankles, surely from the weight they are forced to carry. This does scare me for the future, when even healthy people are confronted with walking difficulties and other medical issues, completely unrelated to weight issues, but present nonetheless due, simply, to aging. I am not boding well for the future, due to the care I have given my body thus far in life.
Medical issues can be turned around, and prevented with weight loss. I get this. I also get that having gastric bypass surgery or putting in a stomach band reduces your weight. But what really bother me about these processes, is that too many people I know are doing it not because of health issues, but simply as a chance to be free of extra fat. And I struggle with believing that this is acceptable.
I hear my friends giddy with happiness over the prospect of upcoming surgeries, or seeing others melting away into a normal-sized person. And I am jealous that it isn't me being allowed to walk into any store to buy clothes, or sitting on a plane without worrying I am taking up the seat of the person next to me, or not going on a rollercoaster for fear I won't fit in the seat. But still, I have done this to myself. Is it right for me to then have surgery to take away the pain of the years of abuse I have done to my body?
I know these surgeries are not easy. I know you must go through a period of hell before you reach your desired weight. I know it isn't an easy solution. However, when I speak to some people about it and they haven't taken any opportunity to try to do this for themselves before resorting to something so major, it does make me a little mad. Why have they been able to abuse their bodies for so long, and not have to fight to get desired results? I am not speaking of all people who do choose to have this surgery. People who have struggled with their weight, sincerely tried doing something about it, and failed for whatever number of reasons, I can back them up. But for others, I just struggle to uncover how this drastic measure will result in the new person they think they will become by losing weight.
I understand the desire to be free of excess weight and all the pain that comes with it. I understand the need to seek happiness you can't find hiding behind layers of fat. But, I don't know to what extent I agree and support gastric bypass surgery. I know I would be a candidate for it, and I also know that with our medical system here it would be affordable. Hearing my friends and acquaintances discuss their choice to have this surgery almost makes me want to head to the doctor and start the process. But something within me knows I am here because I did it to myself. And I am not sure I can allow myself the freedom of losing this weight, knowing I didn't do all I could for myself, mentally, emotionally, and physically, before resorting to something so major. I think I owe it to myself to have to fight for what I want. And if I fight and then can't manage it, then maybe I have the right to search out a deeper level of help.
I don't begrudge these people their choices or decisions. I do envy what they receive at the end. I just hope that they find what they have been seeking all along when they reach goal weight, without dealing with the problems that brought them to that point in the first place. Or, better yet, that they do deal with those issues and find complete happiness and pride in the person they become after going through gastric bypass. For myself, I've got a lot more thinking to do on this issue.