Community Roundup: Before and After Weight-Loss Surgery, Plus Coping with Miscarriage

iVillage members weigh in on coping with serious life changes

We all know that obesity is bad for us. Carrying that much extra weight is linked to all kinds of chronic diseases, like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A recent study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that the number of years a person lives with obesity is directly associated with their risk of mortality. Because of how risky obesity is, medical experts are changing their views regarding weight-loss surgery. Just last month, the American Heart Association decided to cautiously endorse bariatric surgery for severely obese people who have been unable to lose weight under their doctor’s supervision.

Though it can make weight loss easier, bariatric surgery isn’t a way to elude a healthy lifestyle. In fact, people who undergo weight-loss surgery have to be especially careful with their diet to make sure they obtain all their essential nutrients. On the Weight-Loss Surgery board this week, pre- and post-op candidates are discussing the positive lifestyle changes they’ve been working on. For many, the surgery has given them a new lease on life. Dropping those extra pounds has also helped many get active.

“I can walk down to the lake and back (only a 5-minute walk) and not be winded,” says iVillage member wlcw.

Not only can those excess pounds make working out feel harder, but they can also make people feel too embarrassed to even try.

“Even though I haven’t gone to the gym yet, I actually feel capable of doing a lot more versus sitting on my butt, like I used to,” says member jwtsbl.

A 2009 study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that overweight people are much more intimidated by working out than people with a healthy BMI. The weight loss associated with bariatric surgery can provide just enough of a positive body image boost to get people interested in -- and excited about –- exercising.

But even if you’re not a candidate for weight-loss surgery, the good news is that working out on a regular basis can boost body image and self-esteem. It’s a win-win situation, because in addition to helping you get fit and lose fat, it also helps you feel better about yourself. If you’re shy about your body, look for exercise programs geared towards overweight people. And, above all, choose a workout that you enjoy, so you’re likely to stick with it.

Elsewhere in the iVillage community this week, women on the Recurrent Pregnancy Loss board are discussing how to be there for a friend who’s expecting. When member njjiants told her close friend that she’d be unable to attend her baby shower, the friend responded by saying she was disappointed, and wasn’t sure where this left their friendship. Because of a chromosomal abnormality, nijjiants aborted her child six months ago, and she is still in mourning. “I wish I could go to her shower and have a nice time, but I don't think I can actually do that. It just hurts too much right now,” she says.

Research shows this is not uncommon. According to a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry that followed 13,133 pregnant women, those who suffer a pregnancy loss may continue to experience anxiety and depression for several years -- even after giving birth to a healthy baby.

Pregnancy loss by miscarriage or stillbirth affects more than one million women in the U.S. each year. Between 50 and 80 percent of women who experience pregnancy loss become pregnant again.

Member hahulahoop had four miscarriages before she gave birth to a healthy baby. “At the time, I refused to go to two of my cousins baby's showers, and honestly, I probably hurt their feelings. But I couldn’t do it at the time, and I think they understood it,” she says.

At 37, I am only now thinking about having children. I am fully aware of the risks associated with getting pregnant this late in life, and worry about my chances of both conceiving and delivering a healthy baby. Though I have friends who have struggled with getting pregnant, no one that I am close to has lost a pregnancy. I’d like to think that friends would be understanding if some couldn’t attend ababy shower while mourning a miscarriage, but for people who haven’t gone through the pain of losing a baby, it may be hard for them to understand just how great the loss is.  

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