Words of Wisdom Wednesday, from John Lennon
Words of Wisdom Wednesday, from Dwyane Wade

A funny thing happened on the way to the bariatric surgery forum

So y'know that post I wrote Monday where I had an epiphany in the dressing room at Avenue? The one where I went home and made some phone calls? I called my insurance provider about bariatric surgery coverage.

While looking up specific numbers, the customer service rep mentioned that our coverage includes a weight-loss coaching program, which is free. 

But that's not what I was calling for. 

I got the insurance information and then called the bariatric surgery department of Cleveland Clinic Florida. I found out that the hospital has informational sessions every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8 a.m. I was so there.

Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. I headed into the conference room with about 10 other people. I don't know what I was expecting to see, but most of the people there were women about my age and about my size -- not at all the 400-pounders I expected.

Here's where it got interesting. A few minutes into the session, the insurance authorization specialist had us look over the requirements for our individual insurance plans. As I looked over who qualifies and what you have to do to qualify, it hit me:

By the time I got done with the tests and the medically supervised diet, I'd be well under the minimum BMI to qualify. 

For the most part, you need a BMI of 40 or above, or 35 with two "co-morbidities," ie: diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc. Thankfully, I don't have any of those and I wasn't about to get one just to qualify. I also wasn't willing to not lose weight or even gain weight to stay qualified.

I started scribbling down the things that bariatric surgery patients would have to do to be successful:

  • 8 glasses of water
  • Exercise 6 days a week
  • 80 to 100g of protein a day
  • Good multivitamins
  • Adequate sleep
  • Behavior modification

"OK, I'd have to do these things anyway. Why not do them without the surgery?" I thought.

I was interested in finding out more about ghrelin. It's the "hungry" hormone, and in some people -- yours truly included -- it can go haywire, leaving you hungry all the time. In sleeve gastrectomy, the part of the stomach that produces ghrelin is removed. So I asked if there was anything else that could affect ghrelin production. The dietitian, who I worked with before in the Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program at Cleveland Clinic, said that a meal containing lots of protein and fiber helps quiet the ghrelin monster (my word) by hanging around your stomach longer than other foods. As long as your stretch receptors are activated, you're more likely to be satiated.

Driving home, I felt a renewed dedication to do the right things, especially the behavior modification. So I called back the insurance company and signed up for the weight-loss coaching. 

Fit happens
This was my day: journaling and blowing my nose.

I had my first session with the woman, a former Weight Watchers leader, yesterday, and I think it'll be a good complement to the Weight Watchers online program I'm doing. I'll check in with her every week and go over the short-term and long-term goals that we've set.

One of those goals is cutting out after-dinner eating and I kicked it off spectacularly last night -- mostly because I came down with a rotten head cold and all I wanted to do was lie in bed with a ton of tissues and watch baseball. 

This morning I got on the scale and -- poof! -- I dropped a pound and a half. I credit the extra sleep, cough drops and Sudafed.

I also bought myself a "Fit Happens" journal at Target. It's by Fitlosophy, the maker of my favorite Fitbook, but this one is a little less food-y and a lot more journal-y, something I need right now. 

So there ya have it. Too small for surgery. Now to work on getting that Nobel Prize for eradicating ghrelin.