Saturday, 26 February 2011

"Obese choose surgery over healthy living" - my rant

This article appeared in one of Britain's national dailies today - The Independent - and I decided I would write to them because we are the ones affected by Weight Loss Surgery, and we're not being heard.  I have no idea whether they will print my letter or not (I'll certainly shout about it if they do!), but I wanted to share it with other bandits and blogger friends.

Dear Sirs,

The title of your article (Obese choose surgery over healthy living, 25/2/11) implies that we who are contemplating or have had weight loss surgery could, if we had set our minds to it, have become forever slim by changing to a healthier lifestyle and bingo, problem sorted. In fact it should be as natural as any other surgery, with no particular attention being called to it.

The decision to 'be healthy' may be possible for borderline obese people, or if they have not been obese for very long, but for those who are morbidly obese this is simply too late, because it’s too difficult: the enthusiasm and motivation required for such an undertaking is hard to sustain for longer than several months at most without outside help – enough for a moderately overweight person, but virtually impossible for someone who needs to keep going for a couple of years on willpower alone to shed their excess weight. Sadly it’s also unlikely that one will go from hating exercise to being willing to do regular and sustained exercise for the rest of one’s life.

Ask any smoker – those who have forever given up smoking cold turkey are few and far between. They are more likely to succeed with some form of outside help. Lucky for them that they have the relatively inexpensive nicotine patches, and that they don’t need to smoke to live.

We have been saying for years that there are many long-term benefits for the NHS to support weight loss surgery, but there is an even longer term benefit. I have for several years been part of an international blogging community that has had gastric band surgery, and all these issues are discussed at length, and often. The most valuable message that comes across is that this tendency towards obesity must stop with our generation.

As “bandits” we acknowledge that we got into the obesity mental cycle from a young age and relied on food for comfort and pleasure, we’re grateful gastric banding has become available to us and has helped us to lose weight (though it is not infallible by any means), and we are determined that our children and grandchildren should learn from birth not to see food as a reward or a substitute for love or comfort, and to enjoy physical exercise. It may be too late for us to truly learn these lessons and apply them for the rest of our own lives, but we can make it right for generations to come. This is how we need the NHS to help us.


Photo Finish:
From Lonicera's digital archives

A little Photoshopping...

Río Negro, Argentina.  The trees and the grass in the foreground were black, and the sky was almost bleached out.  I lightened one and darkened the other, and I'm pleased with the result.

In my anxiety not to miss a close-up of this guanaco female, most of the shots I took were all skewed.  The field is on a downhill anyway, but this picture shows the horizon corrected.  I also lightened up the creature's attractive face and beautiful eye(s).  She was nervous of me standing so close, though I was on the other side of the fence... she's not as sweet as she looks - guanacos need to be treated with respect.

This was a so-so picture taken in the rain in the Maldives, but I realised the other day that its beauty lay in a close-up of the lush shades of green and the light shining through them, so I cropped to zoom in on the bright colours.

Similar principle applied as to the picture above.  Being digital, even zooming in on a small section keeps it quite sharp.

And again - I love the lushness and the jungle feel to the roots snaking round the tree.  I've grown all the plants you see here with great difficulty as indoor plants here in Britain, so it was wonderful to see them running away with their growth in their natural habitat.

I love taking pictures through natural frames - this is taken at Chepstow, Wales, with a bend in the river Wye just visible.  Thanks to Photoshop I can now lighten the frame - which was black - and darken the view, which was too pale.  I really like the result, and I'm afraid you'll be subjected to more like this in the next few weeks!

A couple of pictures of London taken last July.  All I did here was crop because there was something distracting on the left.  In the old non-digital days, if this had been a slide I would have had to remove the slide from its mount and fiddle with tin foil for ages to achieve the same effect...

We were on a boat on the Thames here, about to sail under that bridge.  It was a little scary getting so close to that boat on the right (of which I managed to chop off the top of the mast, I've just noticed).



Tina said...

Goodness the ignorance of the news never ceases to amaze me. Instead of??? This band has helped me to live a more healthy lifestyle...

I don't think obesity will ever be recognized as the complicated condition it truly is. The obese are destined to forever be looked upon as weak-willed. This is not the case and it annoys the crud out of me that we should somehow be punished for perceived 'weakness' by being turned away from the one thing that can help us achieve that lifestyle.

tsk tsk on them! :)


Sandy Lee said...

That just makes me so sad that WLS is trashed as an easy fix. The surgery is still not covered in Canada so we choose to pay ($16,000 ~10000 pounds). Worth every penny.

There will always be controversy. But health is worth it. It is hard. Every day. But worth it. So we ignore the naysayers and just get on with life.

BTW. Love you photos as usual.

THE DASH! said...

Ignorant! Theres no other word for it. Seriously. Are they for real? Thanks for posting, Caroline.

Lonicera said...

Tina, you make a very important point that I'm ashamed to have missed - that the op and the subsequent weightloss are for many the springboard from which a healthier lifestyle often results, because it's provided the necessary shortcut to renewed health esteem. I sent another e-mail to the letters section to make that point, but probably too late, even if they WERE going to publish my letter. Thanks for reminding me.
Sandy and Carla, I also agree with you both.

Lonicera said...

Should have proof read - I meant self-esteem... Sorry

Joyful said...

I don't have a band. Perhaps at my weight I should have one but am too afraid. I keep trying other ways and means. I feel I will have success sometime. I just need consistency which is hard for me to achieve.

I don't like the news headline any more than you do but when I read the article I was shocked to discover how many deaths can result. You ladies with the band are much braver than I will ever be.

Lonicera said...

Thanks for the comment Joyful. I can't speak for anybody else, but what drove me wasn't courage, it was despair and deep unhappiness. I'm a long way from being slim, but the band gave me the boost I needed to recover my self-esteem, and the daily reassurance that it is helping me to control what I eat (not enough, but bingeing is now out of the question).

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