Four years ago today…
It was not a Sunday. In fact, I think it was a Tuesday. At any rate, it was a day when I awakened, much like I did this morning, wondering what the events of the day would mean to me and how they’d affect my life.
Except these days, I don’t have quite the same worries.
This is a warning. My surgiversary posts aren’t 100% touchy-feely, but they are my truth. Weight loss surgery has been a roller coaster for me in many ways and I won’t “fudge” about that. It hasn’t always been good times and scale tumbling and high fives. In the past four years I’ve also had to own up to a LOT of what made me obese in the first place, especially this past year.
This is a brief snapshot of my journey. Let’s start at the beginning.
This was me four years ago. No, I am not exaggerating or purposely showing you a particularly unflattering picture of myself. This is generally how I went about looking back then. I’ve taken some flack for that picture so I feel like I must say that not all plus-sized women show such disregard for themselves. But I did, so that’s my truth.
Anyway, about this girl. She didn’t like to interact with the world. She woke up in the morning with one purpose: to survive until the end so she could go back to sleep. But for her two daughters, she hated to be hugged or kissed or touched in general. She’d done such a good job of eating her feelings that she was quite numb.
I honestly can’t even say what made me decide to have WLS. I can say that it wasn’t a well thought out decision. You Foodies educate me so much in what I SHOULD have done. I did not research RNY, did not research my surgeon. I heard him speak at a seminar and said to myself, “I should get gastric bypass.” And so I set off to do it. I am a spiritual person so I always say God was my eyes when I refused to see. And…well, thank God for that.
So…fast forward six months (you’re allowed to do that at four years out since there’s so much time to cover!). I was down about 95 lbs. I felt good. I was riding the wave of WLS success. I am smiling even as I typed that because I fondly name this period of my life the “ignorance is bliss” era. My mind was so focused on exercise, protein intake, water intake, vitamin intake that I scarcely had a moment to think about what was going on in my head. It’s always been my theory that there are two types of happy people: the blessed ones who have managed to find true contentent and me, people too ignorant to know they’re unhappy.
It was around this time I started experimenting with my recipes. I’d already tinkered around a lot with protein shakes (my restriction was such that food was not my friend up to then) and I was active on Obesity Help where I’d eventually take part in an “Iron Chef” contest inspired that me to start a little blog I named “Bariatric Foodie.”
The nine month post-op mark is significant because that’s when I hit my bottom weight. Man…I love everything about my body in that picture. I was toned (although i still sported the flabby skin) and confident. Hell, I took that picture in the damn buffet because even though my family insisted on holding family gatherings there…I didn’t care! I was strong and resolved! By the way, that’s my brother Manuel in the picture with me.
This picture is also significant because I didn’t have very much longer until the bubble burst.
So when I tell people I experienced my “bounce back” during the time when I was most active and compliant with food, I tend to get a dubious, “Uh-huh.” It is true. I gained a good bit of weight between my 2nd and 3rd year. But I think…looking at this picture now (me at 3 years post-op…the beginning of my “Bathroom Diaries” pics) that the exercise helped me. To me, I look more full-figured in this photo than in the one of me in the halter dress (and granted it is winter in this picture and summer in the other), but to me (and perhaps I’m deluding myself…you’re free to challenge me if I am) I don’t look like I’d gained 25 lbs. Which is precisely the amount heavier I am in the above picture than the halter picture.
I had to take a gulp as I type that out. Somehow I always think if I share my real struggle it hurts my “Foodie cred.” But I think I’ve ditched that mentality. I had a bounce. I’ve been the same weight since that bounce so I must be doing ok now, right? (This is where you all nod very slowly and smile)
And this is me today. Well…not today because as I type this I am in the world’s most unflattering pair of pajamas. This picture was actually taken about two weeks ago. By me. In the bathroom.
So for the sake of curiosity I will post the number stats of my journey but I’d also like to post some of the things that make an even bigger difference in my day-to-day life.
For the numbers I’ll do Surgery/Lowest Weight/Now:
Time taken to run one mile (I know this because I took a running class in 2006)
20 minutes/10 minutes/11 minutes
And here are the things that cannot be measured in numbers:
- I hug absolutely everyone I see. Before I would not let people touch me
- The sheer number of photos I’ve taken post op is a triumph. I never used to let myself be photographed (hence the one, jacked, before photo)
- Before surgery I dreamed of being a professional writer. Now I AM a professional writer.
- Before surgery I looked into the mirror and winced at what I see. Now I look in the mirror and smile and WINK at what I see.
There’s much more but I’ll stop here. My story in food and eating is all over this blog. I had nothing from you all. I am me, for better or for worse.
Thank you all for sharing in my journey. It isn’t over yet. I think this year is going to be the best so far. Stick around until next year this time to find out if I was right!