People ask me about gastric bypass surgery often. Should they have it? Should they not? Didn’t I have weight loss surgery? Spoiler alert: I have not had weight loss surgery. But I almost did. I spoke to several doctors in my area and even had a consultation scheduled. I was this close to getting the surgery. I ended up not going through with it, though. This is my weight loss surgery story.

In 2005, I was working at a state-owned group home. It was an okay job but I was unhappy. I was very overweight. I had tried many different diets and workout plans and I could never find success. I would lose twenty pounds and then gain it back. The only thing that stuck around was my fat! A coworker had gastric bypass surgery and I realized that my insurance might pay for it. So, a good friend and I both started looking into the process. There was a lot of paperwork and phone calls involved. My friend and I decided to schedule our consultations at the same time.

After I scheduled the consultation, I immediately felt depressed. In the back of my mind, I knew I was trying to take a shortcut. It felt like the easy way out. I did not have a good reason for having the surgery. All my limbs worked. My heart was in fairly good shape. I knew that I could lose weight if I really tried hard enough. In the time leading up to the consultation, I continued feeling sad and angry with myself.

On the day of the consultation, I drove to the doctor’s office and then I just sat in my car. I cried in the parking lot for a long time. I was scared, embarrassed, and disappointed in myself. I left without ever going in. Instead, I went to Hardee’s and binged on a bunch of food because I felt so down on myself. That cycle of overeating and depression continued until 2013. I finally decided to stop making excuses and looking for shortcuts. I dedicated myself to my health. But it took a long time (8 years!) for me to get to that point. During that time, I made a lot of mistakes. It was very painful but I am grateful for it because it made me who I am today. I would not be able to help you guys like I do if I had not gone through that time.

Now, just because I chose not to have gastric bypass surgery does not mean I am against it. If you choose to have surgery, then good for you! I will be here to help and support you when you are recovered and ready to work out. Because surgery is not a simple fix. You have to make exercise and nutrition a part of your lifestyle. Otherwise, you will gain all the weight back. That is why my advice is to avoid surgery if you are healthy. If you have working limbs and a working heart, then skip surgery and start putting in the work. It will be cheaper and you will get the same results.

Remember, losing weight is possible. Yes, it is hard work. Yes, it requires some sacrifice. But you do not need anything special. I did not learn some secret knowledge or discover hidden abilities. I was just determined, patient and resilient. If I can do it. You can do it!