How one Kiwi lost more than 150kgs
30 October 2014
I now own a pair of pants that three people can fit into. Why? Because I used to fit them myself.
I don't say that to show off. I say that simply to paint a picture of the road I have travelled.
Shedding a ton of weight is just one side of the story. Regardless of how I got there and the tools I used to get to where I am now the journey has been more than about the numbers recorded on the scale. It has perhaps more so been about submission, forgiveness, healing and redemption.
I had to submit to the fact I had a problem. I had an addiction that was the same as a drug, alcohol, or smoking addiction. The only difference with mine was I could not remove food completely from my life, I could only adjust how I used it. Or the term I use now, change my relationship with food in order to change my life.
This admission was perhaps the hardest of all to make.
I had to admit that there were deep-seated emotional triggers I had to deal with to be effective in this change. Not all negative but they were there to be dealt with and I was introduced to some very inspirational people. Others stepped up to help me in other ways that made my road to travel a little less lonely.
150 kilograms is a lot of weight to lose. Did I do it without surgery? Of course not.
In June of 2013 I had a gastric sleeve. Did it make it easier? No. It has brought about its own share of challenges. I can mess it up and revert back to the way I used to be. It is a tool, like gum to a smoker trying to quit, treadmill to a runner or a swimming pool to a swimmer.
Bariatric surgery is NOT an easy option, nor is it a cure to the cravings, the desires and the habits of 20-plus years of living as a 7XL man. It helped me lose about 50 per cent of the total amount I have lost. The responsibility is now on me to keep it that way and that is not easy.
To that side I have had the help of counsellors, psychologists and dear close friends and family who have sat with me for hours and hours, talking through the challenges that have arisen in the months since surgery.
I have had emotional moments in retail stores that for two decades I could never shop in for anything more than socks or ties, and even then would get sideways glances. In one store, the nice lady asked me what size I was used to wearing, and really didn't grasp what I was telling her that I used to wear 190cm pants and showed her the jeans I once wore without a belt.
Visiting stores like that are now literally a part of my recovery and ongoing therapy.
The forgiveness I speak of has come from a loving and patient wife. No greater compliment comes from her lips than her saying how proud she is of me, but I cannot say how proud I am of her. She waited long and hard and when the time came, put her foot down which three years ago helped motivate my changes.
Most people do not like negative motivation. People either walk away or take up the challenge. I took the challenge by walking, not away, but walking towards the hills and distances.
I walked around Lake Taupo in the 2012 and 2013 relays, walked the Rotorua Half Marathon, and doing other events like Tri-Maori and IronMaori in teams, and this year for the first time as a solo participant. It's the smiles and arms of my wife and daughter that keep me going when in the most difficult and trying moments I imagine them waiting at the finish line.
In my journey I went through the ups and downs people normally do with the numbers on the scale.
I went from 257kg to 179kg on my own. Quite an achievement, but it didn't stick.
Slowly but surely, in 2012 under the pressure of study and other matters it crept back up. By December 2012 I was back up over the 200kg mark. On the day of my surgery I was 193.8kg.
I'm now sitting at 110kg and far more active than I have ever been in my life. I find myself trying to work with people who want to make changes in their lives. Literally, I've been given a second chance at a life I've never experienced before.
Here is how new it is for me: I'm actually now 10kg lighter than I was in forth form (year 10). Yet I know, never before physically have I ever felt this good.
I now in the words of Shakespeare am in "undiscovered country" for me and while there are moments of confusion and uncertainty, I am excited about the life that's up ahead, because of the one I've left behind.
Bariatric surgery causes remission of food addiction
16 October 2014
Food addiction is an interesting entity and this study looks at how Bariatric Surgery affects this condition. The concern from Bariatric surgeons is that patients who have a food addiction will have a poor outcome from the operation. However, the good news is that it seems to have a very beneficial effect on patients who feel that they are affected by food addiction. The word addiction suggests that it is something that is out of the patients control, and the nice thing is that weight loss surgery gives patients back the ability to control their eating and drinking behaviours - something they may have felt was never going to possible for them. If you would like more information on this or any other topic around weight loss surgery - please don't hesitate to email me.
Bariatric surgery-induced weight loss induces remission of food addiction and improves several eating behaviours that are associated with the condition in extreme obesity, according to the study published in the journal Obesity.
Although, bariatric surgery is believed to be one most effective available weight loss therapy for obesity and impacts on patients desire to eat, it is not known whether it can affect food addiction in patients who meet diagnostic criteria for the condition before surgery.
Therefore, researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition and Atkins Center of Excellence in Obesity Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, assessed whether weight loss induced gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy induced remission of food addiction, as well as normalising eating behaviours associated with the condition.
They recruited 44 obese patients (39 women, mean BMI48 ± 8) before and after bariatric surgery (after they lost ∼20% of their body weight). Twenty five patients had gastric bypass, 11 gastric banding and eight sleeve gastrectomy).
Food addiction was identified in 14 of 44 subjects (32%) before surgery, with no significant differences in factors that could affect the condition such as age, race, level of formal education, and income level.
They reported that remission of food addiction in 13 of the 14 subjects (93%) and no new cases were identified after surgery. The prevalence of food addiction in this study population decreased from 32% to 2% (p< 0.00001)
and reduced the median number of symptoms in all subjects (p< 0.0001).
Surgery was found to decrease food cravings in both groups, but the decrease was greater in patients addicted to food. Unsurprisingly, the addicted patients craved foods more frequently before, but not after surgery. Interestingly, surgery decreased cravings for all types of foods but cravings for starchy foods were still more frequent in in the food addicted group (p=0.009).
“Our findings demonstrate that weight loss can induce remission of food addiction, even though subjects are still obese,” the authors write. “These data suggest that obesity itself does not cause food addiction, but that food addiction is a contributing, but modifiable, risk factor for obesity. Additional studies are needed to determine the mechanism(s) responsible for food addiction remission, and to determine whether the presence of food addiction influences the weight loss efficacy of bariatric surgery.”
Magda Szubanski parts ways with Jenny Craig again
9 October 2014
I suspect this sounds familiar to a few of you... successfully losing significant amount of weight on a diet and then being faced with the heartbreaking reality of weight re-gain. The yo-yo dieting phenomenon is a very real experience for lots of people and it can break the strongest resolve. It is a cycle that slowly eats away at your self worth and puts you into 'failure' mode. This is devastating and certainly makes you ask the question 'is there a better way?' Bariatric surgery is definitely an option for most people who are obese and can be the catalyst needed to finally break the cycle of failure with successive diets. Anyway, let me know if you need more information. Afterall, it doesn't hurt to be better informed.
Magda Szubanski parts ways with Jenny Craig again
- September 10, 2014
Not a happy ending: the relationship between Magda Szubanski and Jenny Craig has finished for the second time.
Just six months after she was re-signed, Magda Szubanski has split with Jenny Craig.
It looks fishy and some news outlets are reporting that it is because Szubanski failed to lose upwards of 30 kilos fast enough.
A spokeswoman for the weight loss company confirmed the 53-year-old comedian will no longer hold her role as an ambassador, but refused to be drawn in on the reason why.
Szubanski in 2012, during her first stint as ambassador for Jenny Craig.
"Jenny Craig and Magda Szubanski can confirm that their working relationship will not be continuing," she told AAP in a statement on Wednesday.
"Magda will pursue her weight loss journey privately."
It is a surprise move given Szubanski's contract was reportedly worth more than $1 million.
The split comes only half a year after Jenny Craig re-signed Szubanski in March, so the Kath and Kim star could try to shed the kilos she re-gained after her previous weight loss success with the company.
Szubanski famously lost 36 kilos with Jenny Craig, dropping to 85kg from 121kg between 2009 and 2011.
The comic starred in Jenny Craig's ad campaigns and was credited with triggering a spike in new customers.
But her failure to maintain her goal weight reportedly led to her being dropped from the company's promotional material.
She was replaced by rising star Rebel Wilson, who was then succeeded by former Spice Girl and X Factor judge Mel B last year.
Szubanski drew criticism for signing back on, including from radio commentator Matty Johns, who lamented the company was "rewarding people for being fat, and getting fat again".
She blamed "calorie amnesia" and a broken rib for the piling the weight back on.
Szbanski and her management are yet to respond to calls for comment from Fairfax Media.
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