When 70 percent is not good enough

Last week I met with my surgeon to ask a long list of questions I had for him and to schedule a date for my surgery.  The first question I had for him was

“How much weight can I expect to lose?”

He said, “Well, with the sleeve you can expect to lose 70% of your excess body weight.”

After that, he explained to me that at my height, my ideal weight would be 150, he then figured out what my excess weight was and then we both did some quick mental math.  The number we both arrived at was pretty sizable–175.

I looked at him and said, “That’s not good enough for me.”

I think I surprised him by saying that because the look on his face was priceless, like I’d just taken the wind out of his sails.  I said, “My PCP gave me a similar figure, saying that my goal weight should be 220.”

He nodded and I continued, “The reason it’s not good enough for me is that it still puts me over 200 pounds.”

I then said, “If possible, I’d like to get under 200.  If I can get to 180, I’d be good with that.”

He said, “Well, it is doable.  It will be tough, but it is doable.”

I nodded and said, “I know it will be a lot of work, and I am willing to do it.”  He smiled and we continued our meeting.

Now if you know me, you know that I don’t half-ass anything.  The best piece of advice my mother has ever given me is:


And I’ve followed that advice for most of my adult life.  My undergraduate years would be the thing in direct conflict with that piece of advice, but I learned my lesson and roared back full stop the last 3 semesters, making the Dean’s List each semester.  But that’s a story for another time.

I tell my students constantly that they should not settle for 70 percent, and that it shouldn’t be good enough.  I explain to them like this:  your doctor doesn’t treat 70 percent of your illness; he/she treats all of it.   When you go out to eat, the people who cook your food better cook it more than 70 percent done, and when you have your car worked on, the mechanic better fix the problem more than 70 percent complete.

So why should I settle for only a 70 percent excess weight loss?  I am an “A” student, dammit, and to me, 90 percent is acceptable.

I am willing to put in whatever work is necessary to exceed that expectation–I will be vigilant about my protein, water and carb intake. I am planning to try several protein shake recipes that I’ve been thinking up so that I do not get bored with my food during the first 2 weeks of my eating plan.  I am one that needs variety in my daily sustenance, and boredom with my food will lead to temptation to eat solids before it’s time.  I’m reading labels like crazy so that I can try mixing various shake combinations with the right protein, carbs and fat counts per my nutritionist.

I will exercise–I really like to do it, believe it or not!–and am already planning to take swim lessons and aqua Zumba at the rec center once I am fully healed up.  I am planning to walk like a fool–inside with Leslie Sansone, mind you, as Texas summers are ridiculously hot and I refuse to be that active when it is over 90 degrees out and in my 40 years of life on Earth, I have grown quite fond of air conditioning.  I might even drag my chunky booty to the mall to walk there.  It’s air conditioned too!

I am planning on contacting my EAP through my health insurance to see if I can find a therapist to help me work on fixing my relationship with food.  The mental journey is going to be as important as the physical one, and I want to make sure that I am given the correct tools that I need to succeed.

I am already journaling–here in this blog, but also in a paper journal.  I bought a lovely red hardback journal that I pasted the quote “all great changes are preceded by chaos” into that I have been keeping track of things in, such as my pre-op eating plan, notes about my surgeon’s meeting and the answers to the questions I asked him–all those things that I’d prefer not to air in the blogosphere.

I have already been doing the little things I need to do to prepare.  These things, plus the things above, will hopefully help me exceed my doctor’s expectations.  I want to be as healthy as the tool he is going to give me will allow me to be.

I will start at aiming for 70 percent, and gradually raise the bar higher.  I know that if I start aiming for what I want right away, I will be met with disappointment.  So I’ll begin aiming for the vaunted 70 percent, but I’m not going to stop there.

Most importantly, I want to be as healthy as I am ready to be.  I can’t wait.

One response to “When 70 percent is not good enough

  1. Pingback: Post-Op Week 26 Progress Report and Closing In On Surgeon’s Goal | La Guerra de La Gorda

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