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First Work Conference since 2019 - Surgery in 2020

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Wow - What a week I've just had! Due to COVID, we haven't had our yearly work conference with customers since 2019. I've been with my company for 20+ years (and overweight the majority of that time) and haven't seen most of our customers post surgery. This past week was the first one and the reactions I had from co-workers (we work remotely so I haven't seen many of them since 2019 either) and customers was fantastic! I had folks who didn't recognize me at first and others who were just amazed at the transformation.

I haven't been shy about how I lost the weight. Hell, I'll tell anyone how and why. I'd like to see the stigma of it gone. I waited so many years because intially I also believed I simply needed will-power to lose weight and keep it off. Like most of us here, I'd lost weight and gained it back plus some for a good part of my life. I tried everything and yup, I was still fat. This week I had several folks who were overweight ask me REAL questions about the surgery and life afterwards. It felt great to be able to explain the pros and cons of it all. I used what I've learned from both my experiences and this site (THANK YOU ALL!) to explain what it's like and how it affects you. Here are some of my thoughts and talking points:

  • If you're an emotional eater, stress eater, or triggered eater, then this may not be the right answer for you. You definitely have to get that under control BEFORE surgery, Of 3 people that had surgery at about the same time, 2 of us have been successful (all sleevers). Another has only lost ~50 lbs. He simply wasn't ready for the changes and has managed to out eat the sleeve with junk food.
  • If you're a social eater (that's ME) who has problems with primarily with Portion Control, you'll probably be more successful.
  • You have to be prepared mentally for the changes (see bullet point 1). It's a roller coaster. The first few months are overwhelming. Hormones are out of control, you find you can do things you haven't done in ages as the weight loss, people are commenting, and sometimes you feel like your life will never be the same again.
  • Many of us CAN eat anything we want after we heal- Just in smaller portions You will always need to be aware of this and try to make smart choices. I try to be smart about it. If I know I'm going to be tempted by junk food, I try and eat some heavy Protein (chicken, beef, fish) FIRST so I really don't have any room left over for the temptation. Other times I just say F-it and eat the chips, crackers, dips, etc. I don't make it a habit, nor do I feel guilty when I do. You CAN out eat the sleeve.
  • Yep, I drink. Sometimes to excess. Most of the time I don't. It's a social thing and I enjoy it. If I were doing to escape, I'd be worried.
  • I get on the scale often. As in daily if I have it with me. This keeps me in check. If I don't, I find myself being far less conscience of what I'm eating or drinking. I know me, and if I don't I'll simply convince myself that the dryer must of shrunk my clothes! I have a 5lb threshold that I adhere to. If I get near that, I go back to tracking immediately so I can't lie to myself.
  • If you're mentally and physically prepared for the restrictions and the lifestyle changes then this really can be the "easy way out" (I am fully aware that for many it is NOT easy so please don't take offense if you're stuggling). I'm one of the lucky ones.
  • This surgery is life-changing in so many ways and I'll stress again, you need to be mentally prepared for those changes. If you're married or in a relationship, be prepared for how this affects your significant other (mine has been very supportive). Be prepared to take a good hard look at yourself and what you want out of this. People treat you differently - even ones you've known forever. I did this 100% for me. Frankly, a lot of it was for vanity and comfort. I was tired of being uncomfortable on a plane and not being able to experience things that had weight limits. I wanted to wear clothes that didn't come from Omar's tent factory. I find myself to be more confident and outgoing. This can be a shock to those around you. People may feel that you've changed (you HAVE). Be aware if you're becoming toxic and critical.
  • Surgery is the right thing for some people, and the wrong thing for others. Don't be judgemental.

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How lovely to hear you had such a positive experience. I hope that some of the people who were asking about WLS got the courage to move forward with it. Not the right thing for everyone, as you say, but when it is it really is.

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It’s great that you had information to offer them not only from your own experience but From others as well. And really great that you had the courage to help reduce the stigma. It has taken me a lot of years to finally admit I have bipolar disorder because of stigma. Hopefully I will get to that same point a little sooner with WLS. So far I have only shared with people that I am really close to. I think once I am a few years out and haven’t gained it all back I will be more outspoken about it.

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