By Dustin Hartman
I started the weight loss surgery process by attending the Emory Bariatric Seminar to learn more about my options. At the seminar, the leader told us to look around at the other people attending the seminar. He said that the majority of my peers would not follow through with weight loss surgery. At the time I thought that was ridiculous, but he was right – the majority of the people who attended the seminar didn’t complete the process. Between my insurance requirements, Emory’s requirements and my own personal life, the process of getting insurance approval and becoming mentally and physically prepared for surgery took a year.
The surgery itself was incredibly easy; I was in and out of the hospital in three days and back to work in three weeks.
Life after surgery is completely different, yet still the same as my life before surgery. I had thought that once I had the surgery, food wouldn’t be such a big part of my life anymore. I was wrong! Now it’s a bigger part of my life. I plan every meal ahead of time.
Before I go out to dinner, I look at the nutritional information and decide what I am going to eat. I have to chew my food for what at first seemed like an eternity and I carry a measuring cup with me so that I can always measure out my one cup so that I know I won’t overeat. I set my iPhone timer for 30 minutes before and after meals so that I remember not to drink and I religiously log every calorie I eat. I can no longer go to a drive-through and order something or just get whatever I want at the grocery store. Now I have to know exactly what I’m eating and how it will affect me. Because I pay such close attention to nutritional information, I know how bad my eating habits were before I had surgery. I make better decisions based not solely on taste but also nutrition. One of the dietitians at Emory suggests asking yourself “Will this help me reach my goals?” before eating something. That has really helped me determine which foods I choose to fuel my body.
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