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Life after Bariatric Surgery: What I’ve Lost

By Jeff Butts

Jeff butts What I've Lost - smPeople who know me say I’m always looking on the bright side of things and putting a positive spin on life. However, today I’m talking about loss. Just kidding! I’m talking about loss in a positive way.

I know that bariatric surgery is a controversial topic for some. Even at 643 pounds, having bariatric surgery was a difficult decision for me.

But getting around was a major chore! I went to work every day but getting there was really tough. Heck, just getting up and getting moving in the morning was a challenge. In this picture, the two walkers on the right are from my bedroom so I always had one within reach. The canes were beside my chair, just for getting up and getting going. On the far left are the remnants of my hand controls from my minivan. Not pictured are the extra-long nail clippers, lawn chair, CPAP machine…and the list goes on. In many ways, these are some of my most important “losses”!

It’s amazing what I put up with, how much suffering I allowed in my life, and how I managed to lie to myself about my quality of life. The final straw came when I couldn’t find a power scooter that was large enough for me but could fit through my door. Now, six and a half years out from my bariatric surgery, it’s sometimes hard to remember those days. I wasn’t living, I was merely surviving.

Never forget how far you’ve come! Give yourself credit, celebrate every day, and rejoice in your NSV’s (Non-Scale-Victories). It’s not about some meaningless number on another hunk of steel. For me, life after bariatric surgery is about doing all the things I love, anytime I want to do them!




About the author

Jeff Butts is a facilitator of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program and Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. He is a Wellness Coach, inspirational speaker, and Bariatric Support Group Leader. Jeff’s mission is to “Help others free themselves from the physical and emotional prison of obesity by sharing my experience, my wisdom, and my heart.” Jeff’s passion for helping others stems from his own personal struggle with food and weight. Reaching a weight of 643 pounds, Jeff knew he had to do something to regain his health and get back into life. Upon looking into bariatric surgery, he realized that it was just a physical tool, and that he also needed help to deal with the emotional reasons he ate. Through a twist of fate he discovered that Dr. Michelle May’s Am I Hungry? program was the additional tool he needed! He had bariatric surgery in 2008 and has maintained a 419 pound weight loss and leads five Bariatric Support Groups for St. Vincent’s. Jeff now teams with his Am I Hungry? teacher, mentor, and friend, Dr. Lori Hurst, to offer Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops throughout central Indiana. He also offers Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery workshops and webinars. A recording of Jeff’s webinars is available for facilitators-in-training. He also speaks frequently to local schools, colleges, civic, and health organizations. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of GasAmerica’s Charitable Foundation and Board of Directors of PAWS, a pet rescue in Hancock County, Indiana. He volunteers at Hancock Regional Hospital, Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen, as a Big Brother, and foster parent for PAWS animals as they look for their forever homes.

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