Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Striking up the (lap) band

I have a confession to make. I have known several people in my lifetime that have had, or are going to have, or are just considering, weight loss surgery.

No, that’s not the confession. It would be a pretty boring one if it was. The confession is this: until very recently, I always thought of having surgery as the easy way out. A cheat. Just eat right and exercise. It may take a bit longer that way, but it will work. People who have band surgery or stomach staples are just taking a short cut. They just don’t want to do the work, right?


A recent conversation I had with Land Line Now listener Kevin Raines opened my eyes to the reality of something seemingly as simple as Lap Band surgery. Kevin had the procedure himself a few years ago. And hearing his story convinced me that there is nothing easy about it.

Kevin had to give up eating meat, bread, soda and a host of other things. The surgery helped him along, but he still had to work at it to lose weight. There was no short-cut about it.

There’s an entire industry out there that is centered around weight loss. And while many of the products in that industry – such as the Lap Band System – are legit, there are many others that are little more than snake oil.

Diet pills, creams, oils, weight loss contraptions (Thigh Master, anyone?). They all promise to help you lose weight both quickly and easily. And they all lie.

The truth of the matter is this: when it comes right down to it, there is no quick and easy way to lose weight. I’ve been on Weight Watchers since January and it has taken me six months to lose 30 pounds. And I’m still a long way from my goal.

But I’m willing to keep going. To work at it. And no matter what you do, that’s what it’s going to take. Things like band surgery and stomach staples and gastric bypass surgery will help. That’s been proven. But they aren’t overnight miracle cures, either. And they sure as hell aren’t the easy way out.

They can be powerful weapons in the battle of the bulge, but ultimately, a weapon is only as good in a fight as the person wielding it.