Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Is Not a Race: Six Months In

Six months ago today, I was coming out of anesthesia after my RNY gastric bypass surgery. It's hard to believe that it's been half a year.

The scale has not been my friend over the past week. I didn't lose any weight. This means that not only did I fail to reach my goal of 100 pounds lost by this time, I also failed to reach my alternate goal of 90 pounds lost since surgery. I've been doing everything I'm supposed to be doing; in fact, I was more compliant last week than I was the week before. But still, my body just didn't want to shed the weight.

Six months out is a crucial deadline for RNYers. The RNY "honeymoon period," the time when it is easiest to lose weight, supposedly ends between six and eighteen months post-op. Six months is admittedly a conservative estimate--but even still, at this time, the appetite increases, the weight becomes a little harder to lose, and you start moving on from the thrill of rapid weight loss to a more leveled-out way of life. My surgeon said that by six months out, he can tell whether a patient is going to be one of the best, just average, or poor. (During my last appointment, at approximately 2.5 months out, he said that I was about average and told me that I could be doing better. I couldn't imagine how. The appointment sent me into a tizzy - see here and here.)

I cannot decide how I feel about reaching this milestone. On one hand, I've done great so far. My life is already much different from the way it was six months ago. I feel more like a 20-something, and less like a 50-something. I've been following the rules and haven't had a major slip off the wagon. On the other hand, my surgeon's premonition that I would just be an average RNY patient is now true. I've never been content with being average, so this is a little disheartening. It makes me wonder whether I'm ever going to make it to a healthy weight.

I'm trying to remember that this is not a race. There are RNY patients who start out at around the same weight or BMI who have lost at a faster rate than I have, often eating things that we are NOT supposed to be eating. Honestly, that irritates me. But, as the WLS cliche goes, I should not compare myself with others. I can't make my body do what it won't do, so I'm happy that my eating and health are under control and I've made great progress so far.

I'm happy to have gotten where I am, but I am not satisfied. I think that's the right attitude to have about this, and perhaps about life more generally. Happy six-month surgiversary to me!

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