December 7, 1996 at precisely 8am was the last time I smoked a cigarette. I have to admit quitting that nasty habit was one of the better things I've done for myself during my lifetime, but like with so many other things in life the good comes with some bad things attached. I've often wondered why so many things in life are defined by that infamous double-edged sword. Why is nothing just sheer bliss and harmony?
Within months of quitting I noticed my clothes were becoming snug. I hadn't replaced cigarettes with food so the weight gain was a bit of a mystery to me. My first thought was to wonder if my crappy gene pool had finally caught up with me. Was I developing diabetes? Off I went to the doctor to solve the mystery. After lots of blood tests to rule out the obvious things that might cause an unexpected weight gain, my doctor reported back to me that I was as healthy as a horse. That news didn't make me want to whinny, but left me with the question of WTF was happening to my body. My doctor quickly cleared up the mystery for me by informing me that I was battling the same thing he was. He had stopped smoking also and had started to gain weight. He told me that once a person stops smoking their metabolism slows down and even though nothing else changes, due to that slowing down process pounds will slowly start to pad their once slim physiques.
He advised me to increase my activity level and to cut back on my calorie consumption. Like everything else in life, I didn't heed what he was telling me. I was hell bent on doing it the Mildred Ratched method. I immediately thought he was crazy if he thought after working outside all day long in the brutal Florida heat and humidity that I was going to come home and then go to a gym for a nice little workout for an hour or so. What was he thinking by telling me to cutback back on my food consumption? I don't eat breakfast. I rarely eat lunch. I didn't snack on junk all day. Dinner was my only meal most of the time. Was he telling me just to starve myself? Sure thing, Doc! Consider food off my daily routine!
By the time I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes six years later, I had gained about 10 pounds per year. After the diabetes came an avalanche of other diagnoses until reality started slapping me in the face. Now I have to admit I'm going to die at a young age unless I do something to change my deteriorating health. After much deliberation and careful thought which by the way is totally unlike me because I like to live in the moment and make impulsive decisions, I have decided to start the rather lengthy process of having gastric bypass surgery.
For those not familiar with how health insurance companies work, let me tell you that they truly dictate what your doctor can and cannot do. They deny coverage of medicines that are prescribed simply because they're expensive. I do understand that they are a business and the bottom line is to make a profit, but their bottom line affects people health and lives. In order to have gastric bypass surgery the insurance company requires a 6 month process before the surgery will be approved which includes seeing a psychologist, a specialized bariatric nutritionist, being on a 6-month supervised diet, going to support group meetings and various other educational seminars along with of course, seeing a bariatric surgeon. Usually, by the time people have gotten to the point of deciding to undergo gastric bypass surgery diets, both supervised and unsupervised, have been tried many, many times with no real success.
Most people simply view obesity as someone with no willpower and no self-esteem PERIOD, but actually under all that fat are problems far greater than simple willpower or self-esteem problems.