Not so long after my 50th birthday I was trying on clothes at Nordstrom’s or Macy’s and took a long hard look at myself in my undies and thought “Yikes.” I have been a yo yo dieter for years, the hardest thing is I truly love food, i love thinking about food, reading about food, and making food. However, I also weight a hefty 250 pounds and that is not sustainable if I want to be around for my little girl. I also realize that as a post-menopausal woman weight is increasingly easier to gain and increasingly harder to lose.
One evening after work, I wandered upstairs in my building to hear about weight loss surgery. This was not an easy decision, because I remember when people I worked with started having gastric bypass back in Arizona and ended up woefully malnourished. I had heard all the horror stories. When I walked in I was a little heartened by the girl who stage whispered “Why is she here? She’s skinny, ” but I sat through the entire presentation and realized just how much had changed in the world of weight loss surgery. I randomly spoke to a colleague right after that meeting, a colleague who is super healthy, eats pretty much what she wants and it turns out that she had undergone the less invasive weight loss surgery – the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), and had no regrets. Now, this is me, so of course I dithered for a few months, and finally made an appointment to see the surgeon to talk about the VSG procedure. I just barely meet criteria for this surgery – I am “not quite fat enough” for immediate qualification, but I have a very mild case of sleep apnea so that counted as my “co-morbid condition.” I naturally dithered again, and decided to wait until Spring 2019 to have the surgery so that we could go home for the Christmas holidays.
We came back from the UK and off I went to meet with the Heart and Wellness Team at a local hospital (I say local but every appointment the GPS took me a different way, and I could not make that drive without GPS.). This team consisted of a nutritionist and a nurse practitioner. The first nutritionist I saw was lovely, the NP I did not warm to, but I figured since I would be working with her we had time to develop a rapport.
After these first appointments I went off to see a psychologist to complete a massive battery of tests to make sure I was sane enough to proceed, and did not have any underlying eating disorders or anything that would make the surgery inadvisable. I passed that with flying colors, well, kind of….I am apparently defensive and “further exploration of her weekend cooking and eating habits could be helpful, particularly from a nutritionist’s perspective.” I guess my love of cooking somewhat challenging and elaborate meals on weekends (you know when I have the time) is somehow a teensy bit pathological. (And yes, I know that was a defensive response ….). But I was cleared to move on to the next steps of what was going to turn into a very trying and frustrating process. It all started with “fat class.”