Cyclical discontent
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
This Friday brings with it the annual HALF THEIR SIZE!! issue of People magazine. They had a couple of the women on the Today show this morning, along with a peppy editor from Peopl.

I kind of wanted to smack the peppy editor within about 2 seconds of her opening her mouth. And that was because she, like so very many people out there, went on about how THESE people lost their weight "the hard way." She literally said "they haven't cheated by getting surgery...they did it the hard way." She actually lumped weight loss surgery in with pills as a "quick fix gimmick," and then my head exploded. (I was really wondering how Al Roker was keeping from running over to whack the peppy editor on the head because COME ON. At least Meredith kind of stood up for all us "easy way outers".)

Now here's the thing. I used to think of gastric bypass surgery as the easy way out. I used to think that you had the surgery and whammo, you're skinny! You can eat what you want and never worry again! I think I've established pretty well that this is not how things turn out. Surgery is not easy. It is not a gimmick or a quick fix, and my god, I wish that would stop being perpetuated.

What I really want to know is why losing weight via diet and exercise alone (aka "the old fashioned way") is seen as more virtuous than losing weight with the help of a surgical procedure. Most of these people turned to some kind of program (Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss, freakin' Optifast), so it's not like they did it all alone. How is losing a bunch of weight by eating prepackaged food somehow better than losing it via surgical intervention? Really, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. Good for them, and good for us; we all figured out what was going to work for us and we took charge and changed our weight and our lives.

Truthfully, I know that some of my anger at this comes from the fact that there are still days when I wish I had been able to lose the weight without the surgery. Those are the days when I feel like I'm weak for doing this, that I was a giant failure for needing such a major helping hand to get over my own disordered eating. And then I get pissed off again because dammit, I feel weak because people like that stupid People editor keep saying that I cheated and took the easy way out. It's a nasty little cycle, isn't it?

I'm happy for those people. I think it's fantastic that they were able to lose the weight that they wanted to lose, and I'm glad that they are healthier and happier. But I don't think it's fantastic that they think they're better than me just because they did it a different way than I did it. It's never easy; it's all the hard way. That? Is the one single truth about weight loss, regardless of how you do it.


Anonymous lisa-marie said...

I think the reason people consider surgery to be the "easy way out" is because WLS patients lose so much more weight so much faster than those who do it "the old fashioned way". Also, they have no idea what WLS people go through on a daily basis to make sure their bodies are getting all the proper nutrition to get and stay healthy. Honestly, neither did I, until you wrote about it here - I was like all those other people who thought it was "cheating". But now I understand that WLS is anything BUT easy, and have come to admire what was certainly a very difficult decision for you! Keep up the good work, Melinda, and prove the nay-sayers wrong!

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