Different Paths Can Lead to the Same Place

When you are embarking on a journey to reach a goal, there is no one path to get there. Many people have a goal of weight loss, but the paths are as varied as the people following them.

A friend of mine is deeply into the 2B Mindset program, sells Beachbody, and runs groups that lean towards that program. The groups contain great tips and motivation, so I’m always in them. It’s not a plan I want to follow and I don’t think the shakes would agree with me, based on the carb counts. I can eat pretzels all day long, but anything I drink is a minefield. Too much sugar and I’m down for the count. To make it extra fun, what I can drink one day makes me sick the next. But I digress…

Weight loss, how will you do it?

Monday’s “assignment” for the group was to walk at least 8,000 steps; not a problem on a weekday. I complete several thousand at the gym in the morning and teaching isn’t exactly a sedentary job. To check-in for the assignment, someone posted this cartoon. 

There are two windows for people to get help from. One has a sign that says toxic pills and surgery with a huge line of people standing at it. The other says lifestyle change and has one person behind the window reading a book and no one in line. Weight loss

I. Was. LIVID! My comment on the post was a screenshot of the 12,890 steps I had done so far during the day and “And that wouldn’t have been possible without surgery (insert shrug emoji)”. The poster loved the comment, which I found ironic. I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it. I’m guessing that she thinks that people who use diet pills or undergo surgery are taking the “easy way out”.

This is not a new story. Many people don’t share that they had surgery for fear of being judged. Me personally, I shout it loud and proud. I AM A TWO-TIME BARIATRIC PATIENT!!!!! I took charge of my health, made significant lifestyle changes, and with the TOOL that surgery provided, lost 140 pounds. Surgery is a tool, just like the Beachbody program. A more radical tool, to be sure, but a tool nonetheless. Without the lifestyle changes, the weight loss, if it happens, will be short-lived. I know plenty of people that put the weight back on. It’s not hard to game the system and figure out what you can eat. 


There are various chrysalises hanging on a branch, which a butterfly hanging on one of them. Weight loss

For my friends who aren’t bariatric patients, before surgery there’s a two-week diet that needs to be followed. The protocol from my doctor is 5 shakes a day, all the water you can drink, 3 ounces of protein and a cup of vegetables for dinner. This diet helps you lose weight, get into the right mindset and shrinks your liver, making the surgery easier.

The first few days are super easy. I got this! Look at me, becoming healthier, losing weight, doing the right thing. By the end, I ate an entire Publix rotisserie chicken and a whole bag of salad for dinner. I was STARVING! But otherwise, I stuck to it. Changes.

Next, after surgery, it’s liquid for a bit, then soft foods while the stomach heals. Luckily, I like things like tuna and egg salad. Toby would starve on this diet. However, I would eat a few bites of something (all my new tummy would hold), put the rest away, and wouldn’t want to eat it again. Lots of wasted food in those days. From there it’s a slow progression into a “normal” diet, heavy on protein, but eventually with fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates. 

My long-term goal was not just to lose weight, but to be healthier. Short term goal was to stick to the pre-op diet. The next short-term goal was to stick to the post-op diet. Having these goals and a plan helped me to be successful.

A hand is holding an ice cream cone with the no symbol around the ice cream. Weight loss

No more ice cream, a goal for weight loss for me

With the sleeve, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted. In the beginning, I was much more selective about what I ate. I did slide a bit and put on about 20 pounds. The one thing I don't eat is ice cream. Ice cream was my drug of choice and I quit it cold turkey. I will eat ices, but that’s as far as I’ll go. This is my willpower test and another part of my lifestyle change. I had a bowl of ice cream, albeit a small one, nightly. That stopped two weeks before surgery. And while I thought about it, I didn’t even eat any Mannings ice cream when we took our trip to Scranton, PA. THAT is willpower. THAT is lifestyle change. THAT is reaching a goal.

There's a number on the ground. The word perception is over it. One man is on the left of the number and saying 6. A man is on the right of the number saying 9. Weight loss


The prevailing perception seems to be that fat and lazy people just aren’t trying to change. They aren’t trying to lose weight. If they would just give up the “bad” foods and get off the couch, they would lose the weight. If only they would set a goal and stick to it, they would be successful. M’kay.

Go find a fat person who can’t explain pretty much every diet out there, in detail. I’ll wait. Yeah, you couldn’t find one. We know the diets and how to do them. We struggle and try and struggle some more. But none of those diets truly address the mental connection with food. They don’t address going for chocolate when stressed, the way an alcoholic goes for a bottle of wine.

While surgery doesn’t necessarily address this either, it’s usually addressed beforehand. You cannot undergo the surgery until you are cleared by a psychologist. After surgery, it gives you a tool to not eat sugar or overeat. The first year is when you must get your head 1,000% in the game, where the weight will fall off and your body will give back foods you shouldn’t be eating. Extra talk therapy can be going on during this time and just about all the surgeons offer support groups as well. 

Having a goal of weight loss is NOT an unattainable goal, nor is it one you need surgery to achieve. What you do need is to get at the root cause of why you go to food for more than nutrition.

A meme of two surgeons working on a patient. It says weight loss surgery is the easy way out, said no weight loss surgery patient ever. Weight loss

Weight loss surgery is not the easy way out

My first surgery went well, but I became dehydrated, despite my best water drinking efforts. This caused extreme nausea. That made drinking nearly impossible. And round and round we went. I ended up being re-admitted for hydration and was out of work for an extra week. When they did the revision to the RNY because of the reflux, I was horribly sick. For whatever reason, the nurse injected a syringe full of morphine into the IV  instead of using the pump. I was horribly nauseous and started vomiting blood. This went on for hours. I nearly passed out more than once.

When they sent me for a chest x-ray, the transport guy left me in the wheelchair alone. Everything started going black, and I went ass-over-elbows onto the floor. I still want to see the video. If you ever watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show, imagine the Toucha Toucha Toucha Touch Me scene. This was me. I kept passing out and waking up to different people talking to me. Apparently, when you pass out in the hallway, you trigger the rapid response team. Who knew! So it was off to CCU, an echocardiogram, and several pints of blood. Oh, and an extra week off of work.

I still need to keep on top of my anemia, a side effect of the surgery. Tell me again how easy this was. After surgery, I still need to eat right and exercise, just like everyone else. But I also make sure to get my blood work done every six months to make sure all my levels are in the correct ranges. RYN comes with malabsorption of vitamins. 

Picture of me wearing flower sunglasses. Weight loss

New goals, new me

So now, my goals are eating a healthy diet, exercising, taking vitamins daily, and keeping up with my blood work. These goals are long term and pretty much forever goals. They help to keep me on track and healthy. They are not goals I will ever achieve, in that they are a constant in my life. But I still look at them as goals because I have to strive to complete them.

If you have had surgery, you are a warrior. You didn’t take the easy way out, you took a path to make yourself healthy again. Don’t let anyone judge you or tell you differently. Losing weight is hard, no matter how you do it. And no one deserves to be judged for their path, they should only be cheered for the results and supported along the way there. 

My weight loss path was surgery. There are people who reached their weight loss goal of losing more than 100 pounds by diet and exercise. Some go with a Keto diet, some with intermittent fasting. There are people who use weight loss supplements, shakes, or pills prescribed by a doctor. All of these paths have pitfalls along the way. None are a straight shot to your goal, they are all hard but in different ways. However, all the paths LEAD to the same place, your ultimate goal.

Take your path with pride

This is true in every goal you are setting. If my goal was to make $1,000, my path to get there is going to be different than someone who is a freelance bartender on the weekends. We can both get to our goals, but we will get there differently. And that is A-OK. When you are striving for your goals, keep in mind your path is YOURS. Your journey will take you to places of growth and struggle but will lead you to success. And that's the ultimate goal.

Green background with flowers that says different paths can take you to the same place.

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