BF Top 5: Reasons I COULD dislike myself (but choose not to!)

So every once in a while I feel moved to write a manifesto.
Today’s is loosely about gratitude. Or perspective. Maybe both.
One of the most frustrating things from where I sit is
seeing folks who are doing amazing things with their bodies and lives not
enjoying it
. I can understand this sentiment because I was one of those
people for a time. But I figured out pretty quickly that if great stuff was
happening I ought to enjoy it. The universe only allows each person so much joy
in life and I don’t need to waste any!
But I hear all sorts of reasons why folks just CAN’T enjoy
their process, can’t like themselves. To that I have this to say: liking your
life, liking your SELF, is a choice. And you can choose to do it anytime you
want, whether you feel like you have logical reasons to do so or not. To
illustrate, here are several reasons I COULD feel bad about myself (but choose
not to). In no particular order.
I’m bald
Yep. I am. I’ve made no secret of it either. You all have
seen these images of me:
But what lies beneath is this:
have a condition known as alopecia areata. In my estimation this is medical
speak for “we don’t exactly know why
you’re losing your hair but we recognize that’s not normal so we’ll give it a
name so you can feel affirmed that you do actually have something.”
Which in itself should piss me off, but I digress.
I hear a lot of you lament about your hair thinning. And I
get it, I really do. It’s scary and hair is a part of our identity. It’s
perfectly natural to be scared or sad when your hair changes after weight loss
surgery so this is not an admonishment!
But…in spite of it all I CHOOSE to be happy with myself. My
baldness is a chance at reinvention. At my job I’m known as something of a
chameleon. On any given day my hair can be any length, style or color I want it
to be. I love that! The other day I was in a blonde mood so lookit:

Point is, I’m bald but I still like me.
I have the batwings
of death
Yes, I know this pic is grainy but you can see the wings!!!
Batwings seem to be like these battle scars post-ops like to
compare. I don’t know if my batwings are as big as yours but mine are pretty
big. And they cause problems. My range of motion is not what it should be in my
arms and trying to find a jacket that fits correctly is utterly frustrating.
Unfortunately, arm skin removal is not covered by insurance so I’m stuck with the
damn things indefinitely BUT…here’s the bigger point.
I still like myself. Those wings? They aren’t just skin
hanging off of me. They represent a very large space that used to be filled
with FAT. I’ll take the skin over the fat any day.

Truth be told unless I make a big deal of my wings most people don’t even
notice them. I still wear sleeveless shirts in warm weather. I wear bathing
suits or anything else I want to wear. Because my batwings don’t define me. I
still like myself.
I weigh more than
most of you and I probably always will
I don’t know why. Even at my lowest weight I weighed about
40 lbs. more than most of you will eventually. Hell, my current weight is
probably the weight at which you all would consider yourselves a weight loss
surgery failure!

But I’ve always weighed more than the average post-op. Part of that was my
early focus on weight training. I used to lift a LOT. A LOT. So I got very
muscular very quick. Since my body was mostly muscle back then I probably
weighed even more than people who wore the same clothing size as me. So…there
ya go.
I don’t judge myself by how much YOU weigh. I try not to
judge myself at all. Instead, I try to take ACTION. If my weight is too high I look
at what I’m doing and make changes. But for the most part I love being curvy.
Before I had surgery I thought a size 16 was my dream size. For the past two
years I’ve been a size 12. At my lowest weight I was an 8 which was ok, but I
really like the fact that I managed to “regain” my cleavage so if taking a hit
on the scale is how that happened, so be it universe.

Point is…I still like myself!
I can eat more than
most of you

Being on social media, you have to have a thick skin. That’s
why I TRY not to get offended when I post a well-intentioned picture of one of
my meals and get told that the amount of food I can eat frightens people.
(Btw, Foodies, I know you don’t mean that to be mean…but
think about how people are supposed to respond to those sorts of comments…k?)
In the early days of my surgery I was very restricted. Like
most of you, I noticed a shift first at three months, then a bit more at 6 months
then a LOT more at 12 months. Now I can pass for normal at most restaurants and
food gatherings. I can eat a regular sized plate of food, leaving a little bit
on my plate.
But for me my CHOICES define my meals now more than my
restriction. I knew I wouldn’t always be able to count on that. So most of the
time I fill my plate with a whole bunch of stuff I can chew that has virtually
no calories. I plop some protein on that and call it dinner. I also allow
myself some indulgence but I find especially fatty foods and sweet foods just
don’t call to me as much as they used to (with the exception of Buffalo wings.
I still love them!)
I could be bummed that I can eat a lot but considering my
restriction initially had me contemplating suicide I think that end of the
spectrum was equally unhealthy. Now I limit my intake because I WANT to, not
because I HAVE to and I try to think of food in terms of what is healthful to
my body and what I will really enjoy. Food is NOT just fuel people. Whoever
told you that lie, smack them. If food was just fuel you’d eat tasteless gruel
that is nutritionally superior. But you don’t. You eat food with tastes you
like. Because you’re supposed to enjoy food! And I most certainly do!
But just because I can eat more than you doesn’t doom me to
failure or make me any less of a post-op…and I still like myself!
My Point Here Is…

I know it’s hard to accept yourself. I know it’s even harder
to look at yourself in the mirror and SAY you like yourself, that you’re
pretty, that you’re doing well. My advice? Fake it ‘til you make it.
Honestly! Years of people telling you that you were
unworthy, unpretty or un-something or other led you to believe that. So try telling yourself that you
are a wonderful, beautiful creation and that even if you never change you are
worthy of all the joy that life has to offer. See how that goes. Maybe you’ll
start to believe it. And maybe if you believe it you’ll start to act like it. And
maybe if someone sees you acting like
it they will think it’s ok for them
to act like it.
You never know. You could start out trying to find a more
positive image in the mirror and accidentally start a global self-acceptance
The choice is yours.

(And yes I know I only gave four reasons. The fifth, I guess, is any myriad of things I could choose about myself but you know what…I still like myself!!!)

(/end manifesto) 


  1. Love, Love, Love this 'manifesto' and agree with it 100% … you go girl!!!


  2. Kudos! Excellent post!

  3. Nik, this manifesto is one of the many, MANY reasons why I love you. Thank you for putting yourself "out there" the way you do. You've been inspiring me for two years (the six months before and eighteen months after surgery). Rock on!

  4. Go girl!

  5. Love you Nik!! Merry Christmas. Think you just gave me one of the best gifts I have received this yr.!!

  6. Thank you for being so very honest. I'm 5 1/2 weeks post-op with lots of concerns; however, this post has taken away a lot of my fears and given me more self confidence with the knowledge that I'm doing okay.

  7. i live what you said about being able to eat a lot. I too find now that 2 1/2 years have passed that I can eat a lot. It bothers me and until i just read what you wrote I thought something was wrong. this gives me a new perspective. I will now look st my choices and not focus on the amount as much. I will feel more empowered to eat and stop at a comfortable level.

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