Getting My Mind Right

Obesity is all over the news these days.  It seems like every week there’s a new study issued, modified dietary guidelines are put forth and more dire statistics are released. As I write this, a new report indicates that half of Americans may be obese by 2030. How can you blame people for getting obesity fatigue?

I think it’s a branding problem. Nowadays you can’t be a mainstream water cooler disease if you don’t have a handy acronym.  We’re inundated with ads for RA, COPD, low T and the mother of them all – ED. 

Well, I think the unfortunate moniker “morbid obesity” needs to go. Trouble is, MO is already taken, as any “Law and Order” fan can tell you. If you’ve got a suggestion, post it in comments. The winner will have their voice mail greeting recorded by a true radio professional. WKSU’s Mark Pennell!

Now, back to my story:

Once you sign up as a bariatric patient, there is a major logistical issue you need to prepare yourself for: You will spend a whole heck of a lot of time going to various medical appointments, having tests performed, getting weighed, giving blood, etc.  I was very grateful that my UCM bosses were patient with it all.

My insurance mandated a six-month waiting period, which is not uncommon. Other policies dictate only three months. I didn’t mind, however, as you need plenty of time to get all the necessary tests completed, to begin serious diet modifications and to “get your mind right” – to borrow a phrase from “Cool Hand Luke.”

I even had two visits with the program’s psychiatrist, and somehow I was given the OK.

I can say with a high degree of certainty that no one goes through life thinking, “One day I will have a doctor cut my stomach in two in order to fashion a much smaller pouch-like vessel for weight management purposes.”

But one could say something similar for many of life’s challenges. When I made the decision to have the surgery, I tried to adopt a Zen-like attitude. I just embraced it all.

I wasn’t required to lose a certain amount of weight before surgery, but patients are urged to change eating habits and reduce in mass as much as possible. The suggested diet wasn’t anything new, as it called for six-to-seven small meals or snacks of healthy food daily. Though I’ve had problems with it in the past, this time something clicked.

If you stick with the routine, it seems like you’re eating all the time. One key is to make sure you have the right food when you need it, otherwise temptation rears its ugly head. I still struggled with night-time cravings, but I learned to rely on the power of sugar-free popsicles and allowed myself a bonus yogurt if the situation was dire. It wasn’t easy, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t all that tough either.

In six months I shed about 45 pounds. Then I faced a real test:  A 30-day all liquid diet.