I received a phone call yesterday from my mom... she was really concerned about my aunt. My aunt is extremely obese for her frame. I think her BMI is somewhere close to 60 (if you need a reference, obesity starts at a BMI of 30). Anyway, throughout her life, she's had her ups and downs with her weight. About four or five years ago, she got down to a healthy weight, but unfortunately, a series of surgeries plus quitting smoking has made her bounce back up in her weight, making her get to her highest weight ever. I've tried to help her, especially since my own BMI was about 45 when I started losing weight, but her response to everything is that it may have worked for me, but I'm younger than her, I exercise, etc.
So, my mom calls me yesterday to tell me that my aunt went to her family doctor for a check up and that, in response to her weight gain, her doctor said, "Well, there's nothing else we can do for you. You should go get a lap band or gastric bypass surgery. That's the only way you'll lose weight." And like my mom, I was FURIOUS at this doctor. How can you tell someone that's the ONLY way they'll lose weight? I'm not saying that my aunt gained weight out of the blue. Obviously there are things that contributed to her gaining weight, including her own bad habits. But for a doctor to have this defeatist attitude, that this "quick fix" of gastric bypass will solve all my aunt's problems... it disgusts me. Gastric bypass is a last resort for many people. But before you get to this point, you try things: why not send her to a nutritionist or even a therapist to talk through her food issues? Why is it this "all or nothing" attitude?
I admit that when I was tipping the scales at 230 (I think closer to 240 if we're being honest... I never weighed myself when I was really heavy), I thought about how I would never be able to lose that weight. That I would probably just keep getting bigger and bigger. How I would never be able to have kids, because how could my body handle being a 300 pound pregnant lady? Once in a while, the idea of a lap band or gastric bypass would find its way in my mind. But finally, I got to the point where something in me snapped. I didn't want to live life as an obese American. I wanted to be thin, healthy, and to be able to shop in stores that weren't called "Lane Bryant".
But I think all of us who have been on this weight loss journey experienced this kind of epiphany, something that made us start eating better and moving our bodies. What happens when someone doesn't reach that point? What can we do to get them there? Unfortunately, I'm finding out the hard way that you can't do anything. I've tried with my aunt, I've actually written down what I eat and what I avoid for her (there is no magic recipe, but this is what works for me), I've encouraged her to not give up (which is SO important)... but I am so frustrated. It makes me sad to know that she's seriously considering some form of gastric bypass even though she was completely against the surgery for many years. I'm not saying gastric bypass is bad. It's a surgery, and like any surgery, there are possible issues. I'm concerned about her getting through the surgery, possible complications, etc. I just wish she wouldn't give up so easily on other methods of weight loss that don't involve anesthesia.