• Gene Tavervetti, Ed.D.

Avoiding the siren song of the "ultimate solution"

I have a friend who had been overweight for his entire adult life. Like millions of men and women he would be successful at losing weight and then even more successful at gaining it back. After failing at many attempts to maintain habits that would allow him to maintain his desired weight he decided the ultimate solution was “the surgery.”

When I spoke to my friend after his initial consultation with the surgeon he was as emotionally low as I had ever known him to be.

“The doctor told me I am not a candidate for the surgery because I do not weigh enough. The doctor recommended a diet and exercise program that had been effective for many of her post-surgery clients.” “So what are you going to do?” I asked.

“I am going to gain the weight! I only need to gain 35 pounds to be eligible for the surgery ” he responded speaking in a determined manner.

Son-of-a-gun if he didn’t approach gaining weight with the discipline of a Navy Seal. In no time at all he gained all the weight necessary to qualify for the surgery.

After the surgery he was put on a very restrictive diet. A diet that was stricter than he had ever been on prior to the surgery. But, he was losing weight.

Like many people who have the surgery, there were some issues with nutrition due to limited calorie intake. His energy was very low. There were other complications from surgery itself that required him to be hospitalized again.

He was hospitalized several times in the year that followed the surgery. Each time he was hospitalized his surgeon was confident the problem had been resolved.

Although the post-surgery problems were never truly identified, my friend eventually got better. But, in moments of truthfulness that only friends can share, he will admit he does not yet feel healthy. His current diet, still stricter than any diet he had ever been on prior to the surgery.

To his friends, he will admit, “If I had only eaten like this from the beginning I could have avoided all the pain of the last years.”

Sadly, I agree with him. But on the other hand, look how much money the publishers of all the new curricular and support materials would not have made.

Did I say publishers? I meant the doctors and hospital.

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