Medical bariatric program – Week 1

For those who know me IRL, you know I’ve struggled with my weight for years. One look through my Facebook profile pictures shows the timeline of my gains and losses.

I’d been trying for a while on my own to lose weight, with all the strategies in my toolbox, but nothing was budging the scale in either direction, and so I shared my frustrations with my doctor and asked for help. She suggested putting my name on the waitlist for Ontario’s bariatric program. It offers a medically-supervised intensive weight loss period, followed with up to 2 years of followup and support. You have access to the doctor, RN, kinesiologist, dietician, and social worker during this period. All OHIP-covered. I was SOLD! (There’s also a surgical program, but knowing that I’d have to make the lifestyle changes anyways in order to support sustained loss, I figured it’d be best for me to avoid major surgery. )

So after a year of being on the waitlist, I went in for an info session. It sounded challenging, but also fine, so I opted to continue. I got a call in the fall that I’d be starting in January. At least I’d get to enjoy the holidays without any deprivation!

So here I am. Week 1 of the program, which entailed a session led by the social worker to discuss goal setting and motivation. Knowing and keeping our motivation top of mind will supposedly give us strength during the difficult moments, and having smaller and larger goals will also keep our eyes on the prize.

For me, my motivation has very little to do with aesthetics (although that’s fine if that’s your motivation!) and everything to do with quality of life. I want to be able to run and play with my kids for as long as they want me to, without getting winded or needing a break. I want to be able to enjoy summer-day hikes with my family. I want to go backwoods camping. I want to have a consistent workout routine. I want to improve my mental health and sleep better. I want to fit in an airplane or train set comfortably. I’d like to be able to wear my wedding rings again.

Yes, it would also be nice to be able to shop at a “regular” store for clothes, instead of having to shop at the plus-size stores. I don’t have a number or a size in mind, I just want to feel stronger and less encumbered by my body. Because no matter what anyone says in the body-positive (bo-po) movement, it is not easy carrying around all this excess weight.

This week I weighed in at 262.8 pounds. They suggest a loss of 10-15% of your total weight as a measure of success (and that’s what research shows offers a noticeable improvement to your health as well) so that means I’m looking at a pounds-lost goal of 26.3-39.4 pounds. There are 20 weeks to go and we’re supposed to start the meal replacement shakes (Optifast) next week. Until then…!

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