It was one of the toughest, yet most rewarding decisions of my life.
It started when I was around 9 years old – I was with my mother for a scheduled doctor visit before school started, and he told her very seriously that if “we” didn’t get a handle on my weight gain, I would surpass the 200 pound mark before I turned 18 years old. You see, I was reasonably tall for my age, reasonably active, but I had something driving me that other pre-teens may not have had: A desire to keep up with my brother and nephew on the eating front. I thought food equaled love and those who got more to eat were loved more.
This wasn’t a pie-in-the-sky kind of assumption – it was a conditioned response. My father always got the biggest biscuit when we made them from scratch on Sunday mornings, he always got the biggest piece of fried chicken, the biggest hamburger or steak, etc. Why? Well, to my child’s mind, it was because my mother loved him the most. In reality, it was because he was a grown, adult man and needed more food than a 9-year old – but I didn’t see it that way. I couldn’t compete with my Dad (nor did I want to) but I could compete with my then 13-year old brother for the most “love” in the house!
I put on weight steadily until age 16 when I crossed that dreaded 200 pound mark.
I tried every diet I could – liquid protein, fasting, TOPS, Weight Watchers, etc. None of them produced lasting results for me, and by the time I had two children and reached my early 40’s, I weighed 265 pounds (and climbing slowly every year). It wasn’t until I had a major health crisis that included a two-day stay in the hospital that I began to investigate weight loss surgery.
I researched all the available alternatives at the time and decided on Lap Band Surgery. For me, it was the preferred option because I would still have some measure of control over my eating and it would “force” me to change my eating habits in order to ensure success. You see, the Lap Band doesn’t take away your desire to eat, it simply limits the quantity you can eat. Without a change in mindset and habits, no procedure will work forever – there are lots of stories of people “backsliding” and regaining their lost weight from the different procedures.
What worked for me was to update and revamp my mindset while I was working on building a healthier body through exercise and good nutrition. Yes – those are the same steps that many successful people take without surgery, but for me – and I suspect for many others – the surgery was the additional tool I needed to help me succeed. Not a crutch, definitely not the easy way out, but definitely a tool to help me succeed.
I had my surgery in November 2008 and 14 months later, I had lost 85 lbs – enough to enable me to stop taking high blood pressure medication, diabetes medication, and to build up enough strength to run my first 5k race. A big part of my success I can attribute to knowing my personality and being able to acquire the information I needed to change my mindset and my lifestyle for the better.
In part two of this series, we’ll discuss personality types and how they can help (or hinder) you in your pursuit of positive change and a healthier life.
Read more posts by Dianne Daniels, image consultant and coach. Dianne is a blogger for JenningsWire.