4.06.2016

Reflections On A 100+ Pound Weight-Loss...

WLS Reflection
see original ootd posts here and here

I’ve lost just over 100 pounds since having gastric sleeve surgery on July 21st, 2014. It is one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my entire life, no doubt. Anyone whose doctor recommends it for them should seriously consider going for it. SERIOUSLY. I know it’s scary, I know there are risks, but NOT doing it has its own set of scary risks (trust me, I was there).

Let’s talk super honest here. Yeah, there’s the physical side of things (yay! I can wear new smaller clothes! I can roller derby!), but there is an almost even greater, significant, mental side to the whole ordeal. I’m not even sure where I stand on it all, and I’m still dealing with so much of it, every day.

So, I thought I’d use this post to kind of reflect on things since I’m now over a year and a half past my original surgery date. Here are things I often think about...

#1 - I feel weird “bragging” about how much weight I’ve lost.
I’m proud of it, don’t get me wrong, but it also feels very attention-grabbing, humble-braggy. People can see it, therefore I don’t need to say it? In my head that’s how it goes. This is the first time I’ve seriously sat down and addressed it all on the blog aside from discussing my lunches...

#2 - There are people who think it’s “cheating” somehow to have weight-loss surgery.
People will comment on how I look or how much weight I’ve lost, followed up by a “how did you do it?” ...and when I tell them that I had surgery, the response is kind of “OoOoOohhh…” Like I somehow cheated. Are you kidding me? I’m not even sure how to address this, except to say that if you haven’t been there, you don’t KNOW. And you’ll probably never know. It was a long journey to my decision to have surgery that had many attempts and failures along the way. Everyone is wired differently. What works for some doesn’t work for others, and it is VERY hard, darn near impossible, to convince someone who has lost weight by “moving more and eating less” that it does not work that way for everyone. Sorry. It’s not that simple, as much as people would like to make it so.

#3 - Didn’t I love myself no matter what weight or size I was?
See #1. Talking about how much weight I’ve lost somehow insinuates that there was something “wrong” with me before. And although I can freely admit that I (personally, internally) wasn’t very happy or confident with myself, I really love and admire a whole lot of plus-sized ladies. I don’t look at them and think about how they’d look, or how pretty they would be “if they only lost weight.” I guess I held myself to a double-standard. I could love other plus sized ladies, but I had great difficulty loving myself.

#4 - Plus size fashion is awesome.
It’s way better than ever before. I love the fact that Pinup Girl Clothing runs (for most items) up through a 4X. I was super SUPER sad when Domino Dollhouse closed shop. Their last few “house” brand lines were incredible. Torrid and Lane Bryant, well… they leave a little to be desired… but I love that the choices in general are improving. I’ve even had those moments where for a split second where I see a super cute plus size dress and I’m like “hey why doesn’t that come in straight sizes, too?” ...but before I can even think about whining out loud, I remember that EVERYTHING else is for straight size ladies, so I need to STFU. Fun fact: I still have a Domino Dollhouse cloak that will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands. I don’t care if it’s too big. I love it.

#5 - But now I’m not a part of that community.
I’ve been blogging since 2010, so my OOTD posts began long before my surgery. In fact, I started doing OOTD pictures as a way to become more comfortable in my curvy skin, to force myself to confront myself and to put myself out there. I frequented other plus-sized/curvy blogs, left comments, and made friends (more or less, you know how the internet goes…). But I have noticed a drop-off in likes/comments/contact via plus size blogs now, making me hyper-aware that I’m no longer a part of that community, no matter how inclusive and welcoming of “all body types” they may claim to be. Again, is this worth getting mad over, when the ratio of plus/curvy fashion blogs vs straight-size blogs is so disproportionate? Me complaining about being excluded from a minority group like this seems irrelevant and petty.

#6 - I don’t want to be a part of the “fitness” community, or “pro-health,” or whatever name it’s being given to sound more palatable.
I guess I’m “health-conscious,” in the fact that I’m scared to death that I’ll gain everything all back (see #9), but I’m not a girl who takes selfies after working out and posts it on Facebook and IG. Again, stuff like that feels all humble-braggy, all “hey I’m working out and eating this healthy food, what did YOU do today?” Ugh. Yeah. Like the “what’s your excuse” lady. I hate her.

#7 - Does being happy about my own weight loss somehow mean that I’m indirectly criticizing others inability to lose weight?
Or vice-versa, did my inability to lose weight previously make me jealous of others who were successful, thus making me later on fearful to speak up about my own journey and successes? I know deep within my being that the answer here is no, but I cannot control the perceptions of others, and (although I need to stop) I worry about that.

#8 - I still love food.
I still think about it, like ALL the time. But social situations with food suck because I can’t eat much quantity-wise, and my selection is narrowed (easy on the carbs, high on the vegetarian proteins… it can get tricky.). People do the weird passive aggressive thing where they push food on you, or comment on how much you eat. Even servers at restaurants have done this! Makes me super self-conscious. Someone at work actually uttered the words “You’re so skinny - I just want to shove a cheeseburger down your throat!” as a compliment to me. Yes, you read that correctly. As a compliment. I was supposed to somehow take pride in the fact that others wanted to force feed me because I was “too thin” (Side note: What’s “too thin” anyways? What’s “too fat?”). THAT’S MESSED UP GUYS.

#9 - I’m constantly worried and anxious about gaining it all back.
When you have weight-loss surgery, you are (hopefully) assigned a whole team of support staff to help you along the way. This includes your surgeon, a doctor specializing in weight-loss, a nutritionist, and a psychologist. I spend a lot of time with my psychologist talking about the anxiety and stress that I carry because I literally live in a constant state of worry that all of my weight is going to come back. It’s not an irrational fear, considering that there’s a whole population of people that have had surgery for weight-loss that DO gain it back, some even going through the surgery more than once (eek!). I don’t want to be in that place. A little bit of fear isn’t a bad thing, as it can be the motivator to help keep you on track, but I know that I need to reign in my feelings and get things under control if I’m going to stay successful.

#10 I’m still a “fat” girl, on the inside.
I highly suspect that most, if not everyone that has lost a significant amount of weight feels like this. I buy clothes that are too big because there’s “no way” that a smaller size would fit me. I used to walk around as a fat girl, invisible to most people, which is kind of weird since I quite literally took up more space than I do now. But I still walk around with that “invisible cloak” feeling, which can cause me to inadvertently ignore someone if they talk to me or try to get my attention. My lack of self-confidence hasn’t suddenly gone away because the weight has.

WLS Reflection
my original Derby Lite "action" shots.

WLS Reflection
me, today, at scrimmage, and my Chicago Outfit headshot

In conclusion, the correlation between weight and mental health is major. So much of my journey has been more mental than physical, and I know that I’m not alone. I wish that it were easier to find mental health professionals that deal specifically in weight-loss and food behaviors, as I think that this alone might help the population in general WAY more than the “eat less, move more” health concern-trolls that seem to take over every conversation when it comes to weight.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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