Cover

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pp. Cover-ii

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

This book has no agenda other than to provide the reader with a collective account of life before and after obesity surgery from the perspective of a group of individuals who are likely to be representative of many people opting for this surgery. This is neither a pro- nor an anti-obesity surgery book. It aims simply, or perhaps complicatedly, to explore how this procedure ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Six years ago, we attended a prospective-patient seminar on gastric bypass surgery. Our training in health psychology had made us a little skeptical of surgical interventions for behavioral problems, but we wanted to learn more about the procedure and the people who were considering it. Sure, we were ...

Part I Getting There from Here

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pp. 9-10

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Chapter 1 Taking the Leap Deciding on Surgery

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pp. 11-53

If you stood on a street corner at rush hour in any American city today and asked every passerby whether they would like to lose some weight, most would say yes. If you then asked them why, people would smile and say either to look better or to be healthier. Losing weight would be nice, and it makes an annual appearance on their lists of New Year's resolutions. For a ...

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Chapter 2 Responding to the Kindness of Strangers Now You Don't See Me, Now You Do

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pp. 54-100

It seems a cruel irony that at 500 pounds we can feel as if nobody sees us. Yet the experience of feeling invisible seems to be a common one in individuals from stigmatized minorities, as they navigate the world of the dominant majority. Ralph Ellison's seminal novel about racial prejudice in the United ...

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Chapter 3 Changing the Dynamics in Your Inner Circle Your Change Becomes Everybody Else's

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pp. 88-130

We have illustrated the many ways in which the world of strangers and acquaintances started reacting differently to our interviewees after the weight loss. Suddenly, cashiers and waiters were smiling, strangers no longer ignored or stared or mocked them, colleagues started to pay attention to their ideas at work, and the opposite sex...

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Chapter 4 Deconstructing the Self Who Was I and Who Am I Becoming?

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pp. 131-158

You get wheeled into the operating room, and the surgeon's scalpel dramatically alters your gastrointestinal system so that when you exit, it is physically impossible to eat anywhere near the amounts you ate before. You simply get violently ill if you try. The result is rapid weight loss. Great! Fabulous! The ...

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Chapter 5 Facing the Music of Self When Weight Is No Longer the Reason

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pp. 159-190

Despite the tremendous growth in the popularity of obesity surgery in the past few years, it is still considered a relatively extreme intervention. It involves very direct surgical interference with our anatomy and physiology. It has significant risks and, depending on the type of surgery recommended ...

Part II Mapping the Journey

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pp. 191-192

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Chapter 6 Greater Than the Weight of Our Parts Making Sense of It All

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pp. 193-211

Everyone is fascinated by before-and-after photographs, no matter the topic. We are drawn to the results of transformations, from bad to good and from good to bad. The transformation of a city from hamlet to metropolis, from bustling market district to bombed-out remains, from ghetto to gentrified neighborhood. We especially like to see transformations in people from ...

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Chapter 7 Through Thick and Thin

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pp. 212-232

When individuals opt for obesity surgery, they make a big investment. They have to take time off work, they cannot fulfill family duties for a while, they risk surgical complications, they spend money. Ensuring that this investment will result in good returns is a priority. For most people, that means ...

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Concluding Note Neither Weight nor Weight Loss

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pp. 233-234

Six years ago, thirty-three people sat down with us and graced us with their stories of how severe obesity and then weight loss had affected their lives. Their rich stories and impressions were about so much more than diets and pounds lost. They told a universal story of the complexity of human experience and how any attempt to reduce a life down to one component is no ...

Selected Resources for Public and Health Professionals

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pp. 235-240

Notes

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pp. 241-254

Bibliography

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pp. 255-262

Index

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pp. 263-267