I cannot even think about forgetting today! It was just 7 years ago that I decided to do something to take care of myself. It has not been a simple ride; it has been a challenge at times and a wonderful opportunity for personal growth along the way. I have learned so much about myself and received so much more than I originally thought I would get! My focus changed from dieting to lifestyle, my focus went from scale obsession to coming inside and noticing, my food addiction reared at 1 yr, 3 and then 5yr. Each time I decided more personal growth (therapy) was called for. The tool is glorious but I also know now how flawed it is and how flawed my original thinking was.
My nonscale victories are numerous..no more aching joints (Well being 30 wk preg doesn’t exactly count with back pain does it?) LOL..Being able to move and exercise I feel blessed, no more high BP or pills, no more fatty liver, no more insulin resistance no more high cholesterol or meds! I have escaped my fat prisoned mind, I have found strength in the midst of difficulty. I have learned to embrace and accept more and find the lesson in the most challenging and difficult times......I have met some marvelous people and gained support I never knew existed. I have flourished in my career, my passion of bariatrics too formed...I can fly w/o the seatbelt extension, I get respect and eye contact from others, I can cross my legs w/o issues, fit in a small car, I am HEALTHIER THAN I ever was at 29 now turning 37! I have learned to love me as I am at any time (mostly!)
How I have come around with body image in such a way that getting pregnant and having a wt gain is not the be all end all as the scale no longer rules my life or mood; heck why get on it if I am emotionally present and consistently making the best choices.. I know where I am at if I do not avoid repress or stuff!.
I have confronted fears, insecurities and emotions and embraced them...with much help! I have found some awesome parts of myself and also worked on the not so awesome ones. I have worked on perfectionism and still have a long ways to go! BUT I AM OK with it all!
Making an educated and informed decision was important, for myself though letting go of the need to be perfect, rigid thinking (all/nothing), needing to control everything and in doing all the thinking avoiding the feeling and life, being consumed with WLS in general so much I 'lost my life/identity' to a LABEL (I was a WLS person) when in fact I am much more than that for the first year or two.
I battled addiction transfer with my 4 yr exercise addiction; I am still seeking balance in that arena.... That despite the OPERATION the need for myself to do personal growth (therapy, 12 step work, develop supportive network, learn to take care of me FIRST) around my personality/character traits of codependency and how they are so intertwined into my obesity no tool can fix those (although I wish it could of, that would of been magic as many of us hope WLS will be!). That in acceptance of myself at any moment, healthy boundaries, taking care of myself I could succeed or at least learn to reframe success as something more than a number on a scale or if I ate enough that day in protein or didn’t eat too many carbs or drank enough fluid or got exactly enough exercise in etc. I am winning!
Surgery was the easy part looking back although going through it I thought it was the hard part (ha how skewed that was!) living the lifestyle after in a consistent, self responsible manner is the most CHALLENGING thing I have ever chosen to do for the past 7 yrs, I did not realize preop the immense effort it takes each moment to be healthy! It is so worth that energy though the freedom it brings! OR so I decide today that is my REALITY and perception!
I have accepted vs. know intellectually that Happiness and Success will NEVER EVER come from an external source (person, object, number on the scale). It can and will ONLY come from internal self-discovery and love. I NOW AM Listening to my BODY which is so instrumental and key, my natural physical hunger, my body knows and will not let me down..is my mantra and truth!
I have learned that I have consume my life in the past with food, thinking about what I can and can not have, when I can eat or should eat, how much, how often, how it should be cooked, when to buy it, how much, etc that I occupied so much time and did not even realize that that left me with no time to feel (the point) in an addiction, it used to take me over so I could forget what I was scared/fearful of feeling/being. I think the WLS lifestyle was also sort of addiction and escape for a while (until life overwhelms the beauty of the honeymoon!) and for myself exercise became an obsessive addiction as well.
I wish I had known that WLS is one of the million steps on my life’s journey *it is not the destination*! BUT I know it now and only my journey could of given me that!!
Writing all the reasons why this was my choice, what my expectations and goals were (*considering those beyond wt loss itself), what I was so fearful of. All my core fears (Death, Failure, Making wrong decision, not being accepted and loved/abandoned, not perfect enough etc) helped mold and shape my ADVENTURE!
I recommend those preop consider trying to fill their minds with as much optimism and positive thinking as possible! Basically, become more conscious of what you are thinking and feeling, and start preparing yourself to think of food and your life in a different way. This is a courageous step for you to take, and it's not just about weight changing -- it's about life changing. This is why so many of us are challenged by the enormity of the decision.