What I Gained From Weight Loss Surgery

This post is sponsored by HCA Midwest Health.

I’ve been overweight my whole life. It was a classic combination of genetics and environmental factors. Food was my friend, and it was always there. And food never judged. It soothed, it numbed and it celebrated. For me, this was a poisonous combination. The more I ate, the more I felt bad. The more I felt bad, the more I ate.

For decades, I never saw a way out of this cycle. Furthermore; I didn’t feel like I deserved out of this cycle. This was my lot in life, and that’s OK. But then I had a kid. A lot of people assume I had this surgery for my kid, and in a way, it’s true. Sure, I want to live a long, healthy life to be around for her, and I want to play with her and run with her. But, more importantly, I wanted to model what taking care of yourself and showing up for yourself looks like. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. 

Weight loss surgery is a tool. It’s a dramatic tool, but it’s only a tool. I had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This surgery works by not only physically restricting the amount of food your stomach can hold, but also by absorbing fewer calories (and nutrients) from the food I do eat. This means I have to be strategic with prioritizing nutrients, and I’ll have to be on special vitamins the rest of my life. In addition to the tool of surgery, I do cognitive behavioral therapy and seek guidance from a dietician. I like to keep a pretty full toolbox.

I am just shy of six months out from surgery, and I have lost around 80 pounds. But what I have gained is so much more important.

I have learned what I am truly capable of, that I am worthy of self-love and self-care, that my body can be a safe place for me and that food has no control over me. All of these things I have gained came not only from the surgical tool, but from the decision to radically accept my reality and ask for help. I couldn’t do this on my own and I knew I wouldn’t get better without help.  

When I made the decision to get surgery, I decided that I was going to be open and honest with my friends and family. Sure, I had shame that I had let my life and health become unmanageable, but I knew I needed the support of my loved ones. Immediately, my friends and family showed up in ways I never expected. I began getting connected with people who had already had weight loss surgery, and they were all willing to answer my hundreds of questions. I even have a friend that I met through this surgery give me hand-me-down clothes that became too big for her after her own surgery before mine. 

About three months after surgery, I started going to classes at a nearby gym. Before surgery, I had had periods of time where I worked with personal trainers but nothing long term. It always felt like punishment. Now, going to the gym is a celebration of what my body can do. I never imagined a time in my life that I would look forward to going to the gym, especially at 5 a.m. Because of this mindset shift, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to get to exercise and spend time with my gym community. Not only has it helped with my weight loss, but it has tremendously improved my mood – something I never believed was possible.

Weight loss surgery will not fix all of your problems. It will not cure disordered eating or magically fix your depression. But, if you let it, it can teach you that you are worthy of help.

The staff at Bariatric and Metabolic Specialists will make sure you know everything you need to know before you go into surgery. They make sure that not only are you physically ready for surgery but that you are mentally prepared for the lifestyle after surgery.

Recovery hasn’t been easy and there have been many times I wasn’t sure I made the right decision, but now, after almost half a year, I can say this was the right decision for me. If you think weight loss surgery could be right for you, I encourage you to book an appointment with Bariatric and Metabolic Specialists.

Reach out to any friends or family that may have had weight loss surgery. And if you don’t know anyone who has had weight loss surgery, you do now and I’m always up to grab a sugar-free coffee.


 

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At HCA Midwest Health, the caring and knowledgeable bariatric surgery team helps you take charge of your health. Their expert bariatric surgeons will provide you with the latest weight loss surgery options and recommend a coordinated treatment plan that is best for you. Learn more, take a free weight loss quiz and find a physician at hcamidwest.com/weightloss.

li was born and raised in Lee’s Summit, MO and graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Political Science. She met her wife, Abby, in 2015 and the two now live in Leawood, KS currently with their amazing toddler, Amelia. In addition to wrangling her toddler, Ali loves adventures, road trips, Diet Dr. Pepper and advocating for causes she cares about. She’s never met a stranger and loves connecting with new friends. Ali is excited to be joining the Kansas City Mom Collective and to share her unique perspective on becoming a mom, advocating for mental health awareness and learning how to be a more socially responsible human (and raising socially responsible tiny humans).