Cats, Pigeons and Brutal Honesty

I was not always one to just say it like it is. I would think it, I might whisper it quietly to my partner and to my close family …. but I rarely said it and if I did, it would come out in an explosion of zingers that were both cutting and, at times, extreme. Isn’t it good that age, life, and a genuine desire to be a better human being can cause us to change. And there is the word that I want to highlight today – CHANGE! Sometimes loving ourselves means that we have to acknowledge that change is needed and we should seize the opportunity to do it!

The last 2 years of my life have been full of that word. I have changed and realise that I have to say things sometimes, even if it is hard to hear. We walked away from toxic situations, I decided that I was absolutely fricken worth the heartache and struggle to take a big risk on myself and finally get my weight and life under control and I CHANGED. I stopped looking for all of the reasons that I shouldn’t improve my life and started to focus on all of the reasons that I needed to do something different. The definition of insanity ” doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. For years I tried all of the diets, all of the fad eating ‘lifestyle changes’ I exercised and thought that I was just destined to be big for always. But there was something that I didn’t do.

What I didn’t do was take full responsibility for my obesity. I don’t mean that the reasons that I ate were all my own fault! Seriously tragic things have happened in my life but allowing myself to stay bound to them gives those things the power over my future!! I mean that by not taking my life in hand and realising that only I could change it, I was staying stuck in an unhealthy, disempowering cycle. I was fat, I was miserable and I wanted to unstick myself from the crappy situation that I felt trapped in. Weight loss surgery was not THE ANSWER, weight loss surgery is A WINDOW IN TIME – ME CHANGING IS THE ANSWER. Weight loss surgery will be as effective in the long term as you are educated and disciplined – I didn’t want to hear that but my surgeon told me that and when he did he put the cat well and truly amongst my pigeons! I wanted to believe it was going to be simple. But life has taught me that NOTHING worth having is ever simple. It isn’t as simple as having surgery and waking up and you will then just magically be skinny. Success is found in the details. It is in our daily routines.

Weight loss surgery removed a part of my stomach and in my case a part of my intestines (RNY) but without using the incredible gift that WLS is to its maximum advantage, it would be possible to gain weight. It is possible to sabotage yourself. For years I convinced myself that I was eating really well. After all, my kids and hubby aren’t big people. I knew what a healthy diet looked like right? After all I had been on enough of them!! The fact is that NO, I did NOT know what a healthy diet looked like. I did not understand moderation ….. How could I think that I did? I did not become an 163cm tall 140 Plus Kilo woman by eating in moderation – I ate like someone who weighed 140 plus kilos!

When I had WLS, brain surgery was not performed at the same time. I wasn’t suddenly endowed from ‘On High’ with the ability to know what “normal” was in terms of my eating. And I didn’t understand what moderation was either. I knew that I had restriction and I knew that dumping syndrome, which in my case is terrible, would condition me to avoid certain foods, BUT I had to educate myself. I sat down and cried and cried because I realised that I had been completely deceiving myself for years about my understanding of food. And so began the process of educating myself.

For me, I wanted to maximise the 12 months after my bypass. I wanted to make the most of that period of time when weight loss is supposed to be the easiest. I had to learn what a serving size actually was. I had to learn to read the labels on the food that I was eating. I had to understand how much protein I needed to consume a day and how many grams of carbs. I wanted to understand the best way to give my body nutrients and how many calories I should aim to consume. I found that while I had a fairly good understanding of the types of foods I should be eating, I had NO IDEA about serving sizes. That had to change and it has! It may have taken 6 months for me to wrap my head around it all. But those were months well spent. Weight loss surgery opened up a transformative window in time for me. I choose every day to take advantage of it.

Self love and self care in my life looks like this – giving myself grace to learn, grow and change. Love Tash x

Every time I think of me believing I ate well I think of this line 🤣🤣

Do Your Research

One thing that I have learned is that documentation and research matter when it comes to making a huge decision like the one to undergo a surgery like this one.

Knowing what you want to achieve and why makes it so much easier. We upgraded our private health insurance 14 months ago so that we have top hospital cover and then knew that we were on a countdown. For me, this isn’t about becoming waif thin, wearing a bikini or even how I will look at the end of this process. For me it is about avoiding type 2 diabetes, avoiding knee surgery and getting rid of the mesh that holds my lower abdomen together. I have realistic expectations and I also know that while the surgery is a tool, I have to do things differently. 

I came to terms with my body a long time ago. I am not sure if that is one of the joys that comes with being in my 40’s or not? However, I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been before. I know what my body is capable of and I have put a lot of my self loathing away. So I suppose I am actually emotionally prepared for the change that has already begun. 

Once I realised that I was ready for surgery I set about finding the best surgeon to perform the procedure. I talked to a lot of people, read a lot of reviews and eventually settled on someone with an outstanding reputation. I did consider going to QLD and having the surgeon that operated on my siblings and also on me 9 years ago do my weight loss surgery but I am happy with the choice I have made. 

I made the appointment with my surgeon for one month after I had satisfied the 14 month waiting period for the changes in our health insurance to take effect. Two weeks prior to the appointment with the surgeon I saw my Gp to get a referral letter. 

After that it was appointment with the surgeon. Finding out the gap payment for this type of surgery can make your eyes water a little bit. Mine did!! 

Then a phone call to the health fund with item numbers from both the surgeon and the Gas Dr. 6 item numbers in total – this is to check that all of the item numbers are covered by the health insurance provider. Also ensuring that your surgery takes places in a hospital preferred by your health fund is a good idea so that you are at less of a risk of out of pocket expenses. 

Then!!! 

Blood tests

Dietitian appointment 

Start pre operative diet 2 weeks prior

Barium Meal X-ray 

Pre operative appointment and pay all out of pocket costs to the doctors 

And now all I am waiting on is surgery!