Weight Loss as a By-Product

Dr. Dean Ornish once said that, “lasting weight loss is a by-product of deeper healing.” Have truer words ever been spoken?

The other day I was filling my sister in on the details of my visit with the surgeon and I told her about what I thought was going to be the moment of truth. The doctor seemed ready to call our little consultation to a close and wondered if I had any questions for him. Besides the most pressing question (When the heck can I get this surgery???) the main thing I wanted to know was how much weight I have to lose BEFORE the surgery. I held my breath, waiting on his response.

“No,” he says, “I’m not requiring you to lose anything; we usually reserve those measures for our larger patients.” Larger patients? He saw my eyebrows go up in question, so he continued, “I mean, those who are 400-500 pounds.” Aha. THAT was an eye-opener for me on perspective. It’s kind o t like the way I consider myself short because I’m shorter than almost everyone else I know. Then, once or twice a year, I meet someone who is 4’11” and then I think, now this person is REALLY short. Suddenly, despite my morbid obesity, I didn’t feel nearly as large. Interesting.

Still, no one weighs what I weigh without having some sort of underlying emotional issues. So when my sister asked me how much weight I was going to attempt to lose on my own before the surgery. I told her that to be honest, I’ve decided to do the internal work necessary to support permanent weight loss. If I don’t deal with what got me to this point, then I have the feeling that the surgery will only do me some temporary good, at best. When I say goodbye to the weight I want it to be forever. For me that means truly dealing with the spiritual issues that affect healing and wholeness. I’ve got some work to do and I’d like to take the summer break from teaching to FOCUS on that; to devote all my attention and awareness to it. If Dr. Ornish is right–and I suspect that he is–then if I get my inner healing taken care of, then weight loss cannot help but be a by-product. I intend to put this theory to the test.


The Irresistible Invitation

I hear your call: the invitation. Your call is insistent, almost irresistible…

and yet I hesitate,


hand10I see your outstretched hand, and I want to…

It’s just that I’m afraid and

hence the air of bravado, the gregariousness

that I despise in others: the stupid sham.

But I put it on anyway, even in layers.

I pretend to believe that it covers me,

covers the bruises left by emotional abuse;

the scars left by rejection.

I smile the smile that has dazzled hundreds, laying it on thick,

surprised and dismayed that it never fails to fool the rest. Aye, the fools!

The heartless fools. But you were never deceived.

I wink the wink that has smitten them in droves,

pucker and pout and raise and eyebrow: make a suggestion

that leaves them thinking they thought of it

and baby somebody’s gonna get hurt, but I’ll make sure it’s not me.

Oh, God! They don’t SEE…

But I know you see. With loving eyes

you penetrate the disguise

removing each layer (OW! Could you be more gentle?!) as I wince in pain

embarrassed and ashamed.

You don’t blanch at the ugliness, the stench of ill-treated sores.

You dress my wounds, bathing them in your tears (of joy?)

It is for this that you have called to me!

And now I recognize you for the Wounded Healer that you are.

I want you for my own!

…But you have others to attend to…

2007. Dedicated to Henry J. Nouwen, author of “The Wounded Healer.”


The “Weighting” Game…

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This is me, at the most I have ever weighed. But I am still smiling, because I have hope…

I have taken the first step, just as I said I would, but this waiting around is difficult.

#1 I have done all my research regarding the newest weight-loss surgery, the laparoscopic sleeve. I know the risks involved and the success rates, based on the average amounts of weight lost over time by clients. I have also chosen my doctor, which is where my first mistake may have come in–but I’ll explain that in a minute.

#2 The second step is to attend a seminar where they give you all the information I just mentioned: the various surgical options, along with the risks associated with each; the insurance plans they will work with, patient history sheets to fill out, and a list of lifestyle changes clients can expect to make once they have had the surgery. Okay, so NO, I didn’t attend the information session because I did that back in 2010, the FIRST time I made up my mind to have some type of bariatric surgery. However, I DID avail myself of the online information session, which–just as I suspected–had only a few minor changes. But anyway, kudos to Wake Forest Baptist Health for trying to insure that their patients are educated before making huge choices like this one.

#3 Once you have attended the information session, perspective clients are supposed to call the office for a consultation with the doctor of their choice. Well, I did…and I’m still waiting…and “weighting”… That’s what I meant when I said that perhaps I had made a bad decision in choosing a world famous doctor like Dr. Fernandez.

It just so happens that I am privileged to live in a city that is host to one of the nation’s preeminent medical facilities. But I tend to take that for granted because, well…I grew up here! I realize that people come from all over the US (and the world?) for treatment here, but I still expect to the attended to quickly!! And I swear I didn’t choose this doctor because of what it says on the website, “Led by Dr. Adolfo “Fuzz” Fernandez, our expert bariatric surgeons have performed over 1,000 procedures since 2003…” No, the truth is that his own wife (Dr. Andrea Fernandez) referred me to him just before she gave me an endometrial ablation back in 2006. No, she didn’t refer me for weight-loss surgery, but for a quick removal of what she figured was an umbilical hernia.

I called the office on last Monday and was told that someone would get back with me to set up an appointment. Tomorrow will make one week of waiting. Should I just try to schedule with another doctor on the team who is not quite as famous as Dr. Fuzz? It’s just that I have heard so many wonderful things from happy clients of his. And one of the nurses who works with him just happens to also be my beautician [she only opens her shop by appointment]. She only expresses the greatest admiration for his work and talks about how happy and successful his patients are.

#4 The say that as soon as the consultation with the doctor has been scheduled that you can go ahead and also schedule your appointments for a psychological evaluation, for a talk with the nutritionist, and for a consultation about exercise. Then I guess after all that you will be fully set up to have the surgery.


I Couldn’t Wait!

English: Hiking trail Soonwaldsteig

English: Hiking trail Soonwaldsteig (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did it. I actually began my new hobby, HIKING, yesterday.

I wrote about it yesterday and my plan was to get up early today in spite of the threat of rain and go out to Salem Lake. But I was so excited that after writing I went right out to a walking trail at Historic Reynolda Village, which is about 7 miles from my house and put my new hiking boots to the test.

The trail is lovely! Anyone can read about the area founded by  Mr. R. J. Reynolds in about 1917; just google it. But I can confirm that the beauty of the place lifts the spirits, just by being there in the midst of so many old and majestic trees. Yesterday’s weather was absolutely perfect for the moderate pace and easy trail conditions. I understand that the whole hike is about 4 miles, but I only saw a very limited portion because my hike was only 30 minutes.  I may have covered about 2 miles or perhaps a little less in that time. Again, this was not rigorous hiking like it would have been in a mountainous region but covering natural terrain and going up several little inclines insured that I was breathing nice and deeply. I had a ball.

Autumn is not quite here yet. There are many fallen leaves and such, but the colors are not at that vibrant peak that I will expect in just a little less than a month from now. The trees made the most wonderful natural canopy and there was an abundance of tiny red berries on green foliage that looked sort of like holly. I noticed a creek bed, but due to our recent lack of rain it was pretty low and there was almost no movement. It was pretty late in the evening when I began; nearly 5:00 p.m. so the only action was that of the squirrels digging and collecting their stashes.

My plan is to go back and finish the other half of the trail. I think that’s pretty good as a beginner. Then I will work my way up to doing the whole 4 miles all at once! I’m so proud of myself I could just burst.