During my first weeks of the program I attended one of the monthly WLS support groups provided by the clinic to get a better picture of the services provided. It was sparsely attended, with folks who were pre and post surgery. The topic was dealing with food and feelings. They shared their own stories and this is the story of the post-op group.
You were told this surgery would make your life better. Disease would disappear and willpower would replace it. That didn’t happen.
You were told WLS was just a tool; you would still have to work hard to diet. You heard this but didn’t believe. This surgery was going to do the work for you; if you were willing to go under the knife you must be able to stick to the program. But you didn’t.
This was stomach surgery. It wasn’t brain surgery. Your patterns and your history remained the same. You regained the weight, and were here to get back on track. To diet, that is, but now with a host of digestive issues.
You were sold a better life, you got a different life. And the scars to prove it.
All through my training the clinicians made it clear that the surgery wasn’t the solution; that restriction was the only way to achieve and maintain weight loss.
Sitting in that support group that evening I wondered what could have been different. I wondered if patients would be able to trust and respect the body that society is constantly policing, pathologizing and demonizing if they were given the support needed to make behavior changes.
And I realized that I was now in the position to find out.