Obesity: Part 1

I shall be having Bariatric surgery this weekend in the form of a gastric band…this is the start of my journey of survival and one I wish to share here for all others who are overweight and considering their options.

In 2008-2010 I had heart problems and over time, due to inactivity as a result of those problems, I gained weight that exacerbated other conditions, including the slanted spine that I was born with.  I became depressed and ashamed of the way I looked and decided to do something about it.  So I tried new diets, including Xenical Reductil tablets that I bought on the internet for £100 per month’s supply.  When those didn’t work, I went to see my GP.

My GP told me that prior to a referral for a gastric band, I was expected to fill a certain criteria, so firstly I was sent to see a Health Adviser who discussed healthy eating with me.  During those 10 sessions, I learned everything I already knew – I wasn’t fat because of a bad diet, but because of inactivity.  As part of her job, she had to give feedback to my GP, stating that I had engaged in all of the sessions and had made progress in my quest to be healthier.

Upon returning to my GP, I found he had left and another doctor had taken his place.  The new doctor insisted he’d made the referral for a gastric band for me but insisted I again fill a certain criteria and referred me to see a nutritionist.  After several phone calls and missed appointments due to miscommunication, the nutritionist told me they were unable to help me because I was not able to engage in 1 hour’s strenuous exercise after each consultation with them.  So I again returned to my GP.

By this point I was very depressed with the situation and things got worse when my doctor advised me to eat less.  It had been assumed that I was overweight because I ate too much and I’d been conveniently stereotyped as “just another greedy fat person costing the NHS £1000’s”.  My GP made some excuse about the hospital’s computer system being updated and my gastric band referral not reaching them as a result.  He also suggested I be tested for Diabetes Type II, that “fat person’s disease”.  Suffice to say, I stopped visiting my GP.

When I related my experiences to a friend of mine, they kindly told me to research the private healthcare sector and get some quotes and offered to pay for the procedure as a gift to me and a healthier future.  This I did, chose the one I believe to be the best in the UK, and we booked a consultation.

I am currently 122.4kg in weight with a BMI of 36.6…apparently, on the NHS, you have to have a BMI of 50 before you can even be considered for bariatric surgery, regardless of any medical condition you might have.  I believe this to be unfair, same as I believe it unfair to stereotype every overweight person…we aren’t all greedy and lazy…some of us have real reasons why we have ended up in the position we are in.  When one is in severe physical pain every time they exercise, it becomes a catch-22 situation. No exercise means no weight loss regardless of whatever diet one chooses to partake in.

I’d be interested to hear your views on this topic and share in your experiences and suggestions.  I pay my taxes and thus, have a right to my voice…even if the powers that be disagree.

2 Replies to “Obesity: Part 1”

  1. Hi Laura,
    what you write is true and interesting. I am sure there are many people out there who agree and find their situation similar.
    A few days ago I saw a man walking fast down the street. Indeed he was what we call “fat”. But after a few moments I admired him. It is a great deal to say: Yes, this is my situation but I want to change it and I will change it! No matter what others think about it. So what you write is written with courage and the strong will to change something. I am sure you will take the right road on your way to a better and healthier living.

    1. Obesity has become a major problem in our society here and for some, there is no answer. Obesity causes many other issues and exacerbates many many more. It isn’t just a physical problem, but a mental and emotional one too that often causes the sufferer many months and years of pain and turmoil. Some say they are happy with being “big”, but after a lifetime of struggling to cope with weight issues, going from one extreme to the next, I have learned that obesity is a facade to hide behind and humour regarding the situation is an effective coping mechanism. For me, it squashed my self confidence and caused years of anxiety. It takes a lot for me to say “I need help, I can’t do this on my own”, and from when I had the courage to say that to my GP, I was tremendously disappointed by both his lack of understanding and also his unwillingness to help me.

      I am fortunate that I have a friend who could see my daily tortures and offer me a way out…but so many others aren’t so lucky and by being honest here, I hope to be able to reach out to others, discuss the issue with them and hopefully, help them to overcome their difficulties by pointing them in the right direction and advising them on the best route to take in order to change their situations.

      Thank you for your comment here…a lot of people read me but have not yet found the courage to raise their voices and debate the issues I raise. There is an echo…one that hopes to someday become a voice 🙂