"All The Weight I Didn't Lose..." on January 25, 2013 1:41 pm
All the weight I didn’t lose - from Salon.com
"I am the “after” side of surgery, having lost more than 250 pounds. No one gets this, at least not without an explanation, because I still weigh over 200 pounds, and the weight loss fable is supposed to end when you’re thin, not when you’re merely “an average fat American.”
Yes, some of us do "get it."
This is a powerful article a friend of mine who happens to be a special kind of "after" (which is not the kind of " air quotes" that indicate failure, but that she has SHIT TO DEAL WITH and y'all need to stop judging a person at first glance, you know?) posted in my BBGC support group. Thank you, Sarah. I GET IT. Some of us DO. Rawr.
Please read it. Please open your mind to all "afters," and stop the WLS shaming.
"I still wonder if I should get more surgery. I have so many pieces of clothing that fit, but that I reject because they cling in one place wrong. That particular place is my right thigh and calf, which are obviously larger than the left. (I call it my freak leg.) Doctors have no real explanation, but the general theory is that a fall I suffered when I weighed 600 pounds actually broke off a chunk of fat in my calf. That place just above my knee seems swollen, and is the reason I can’t wear skirts anywhere close to above the knee. If jeans stick to the freak leg, I toss them into the back of the closet and try another pair.
In general, I have bravado about my body. I worked hard for it, and I willingly wear a swimsuit in public. I endured surgeries for this body. I lost my navel when they chopped off all my redundant skin. “Redundant.” The word reminds me of English movies where someone gets fired, “made redundant.” I have wanted to fire my whole body at one point or another, but that putrid mass of dangling gut skin, my prize after losing nearly 300 pounds, sat quivering at the top of my layoff list. It oozed and wept and smelled like old gym socks. I could lift it like an apron — not an uncommon phenomena in gastric bypass circles. The surgery to remove this old skin is actually called a panniculectomy because the latin word for apron is “pannus.”
If you’re a woman fat enough to have required a panniculectomy, and you’re not a total uggo, you’ve probably heard the best, worst compliment thin women can bestow: “You have such a pretty face!” They say it the way you apologize to someone when a pet dies. The “but” hangs in the air, unspoken, and the person who tells you about your pretty face generally shakes her head sadly before walking away..."
All the weight I didn’t lose - Go read the entire article at Salon.
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Body Image MYTHS - DEBUNKED! WLS Will CURE... on November 18, 2012 5:17 pm
David B. Sarwer, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as well as Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. He received his B.A. in 1990 from Tulane University, his M.A. in 1992 from Loyola University Chicago and his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1995 from Loyola University Chicago.
Clinically, Dr. Sarwer is the Director of the Stunkard Weight Management Program and is actively involved in the Bariatric Surgery Program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts behavioral/psychological evaluations of patients prior to surgery. He also treats individuals with eating or other psychological concerns after bariatric surgery. Dr. Sarwer provides psychotherapeutic treatment to persons who have body dysmorphic disorder or other appearance concerns -
Dr. Sarwer needs to immerse himself in our WLS community forever thankyouplease, or not, because we have the BODY DYSEVERYTHING -
Because, this? No.
Here are some question and answers via Jean Fain L.I.C.S.W,, M.S. on Huffington Post - they are AMAZING little chunks of AMAZING -
Body Image Researcher David Sarwer Debunks Hollywood Myths http://huff.to/RHjGnH
Myth 1: The fatter you are, the worse your body image.
Q. People assume that weight gain and bad body image go hand in hand, and yet, that assumption doesn't reflect the truth. What's the truth about weight gain and body image?
A. There's typically very little relationship between someone's objective appearance and their subjective body image. Individuals who are the most objectively attractive will sometimes have very negative body images, and individuals who are less attractive will sometimes show relatively little body image distress. [That said,] as the American population has gotten heavier, we are perhaps a little more accepting of full-figured body presentations in public. Ten to 15 years ago when we talked about the body image of overweight individuals, the focus was: "Isn't it unfortunate that people who are overweight feel like they need to camouflage their appearance in big, baggy clothing." Now, the discussion has gone 180 degrees in the other direction: "Why are overweight individuals wearing inappropriately form-fitting and revealing clothing?"
Myth 2: Losing weight is the best way to boost body image.
Q. You've written that weight reduction is the most popular form of body image therapy. But is it the best way to boost body image? What do you have to say about that?
A. A number of studies have shown that as individuals lose weight, even very modest amounts of weight, they show improvements in body image. At the same time, a lot of people after weight loss, including the more dramatic weight loss we see with bariatric surgery, still have a good degree of residual body dissatisfaction. There are limitations to how much weight you can physically lose. Perhaps the best way to address this [residual] dissatisfaction is learning how to think and behave differently.
Myth 3: Gastric bypass surgery cures body image woes.
Q. Clearly, bariatric surgery decreases weight-related health problems, but what about body-image woes? Is it reasonable to expect gastric bypass, among other surgical weight-loss procedures, to boost body image?
A. With all bariatric surgery procedures (gastric bypass, the sleeve, the banding procedure), the average weight loss is somewhere between 25 and 35 percent of an individual's initial body weight. Individuals typically reach those weight losses within the first 18 to 24 months after of surgery. With those weight losses, there are typically significant improvements in things like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease within the first year or two after surgery. But before patients reach the largest percentage of weight loss, they report significant improvements in body image. As patients are losing weight within the first three to six months after surgery, they report significant improvements in body image. The caveat: after they've lost weight, some patients complain about the loose, hanging skin. That's probably a big reason why more than 50,000 Americans every year turn to plastic surgery after massive weight loss.
Myth 4: Liposuction, tummy tucks and other shape-altering surgeries transform body image.
Q. The hope is that liposuction, tummy tucks and other shape-altering surgeries will transform body image, but is this hope well-founded? Do these popular procedures actually boost body image, or do they leave people feeling just as bad, if not worse?
A. After cosmetic surgical procedures, patients do experience improvements in body image. The primary catalyst for a cosmetic procedure is dissatisfaction with a part of their appearance -- with their nose in the case of rhinoplasty, their love handles in the case of liposuction, or their breasts in the case of breast augmentation. After surgery, the vast majority report improvements in their physical appearance and their body image. In some cases, however, patients may be dissatisfied because of complications or scarring. In other cases, it may be they had unrealistic expectations about what the surgery was going to do. Somewhere between 5 and 15 percent of patients suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. They're preoccupied with a relatively slight defect in their appearance. Those patients typically don't report improvements in their body image after undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Myth 5: Breast implants boost body image.
Q. One of the most surprising things I've learned from your writing is that there's an increased suicide risk among women who get breast implants for cosmetic purposes. I know you're not saying the surgery causes suicide, but what have you concluded about body image and breast implants?
A. Seven studies throughout the world have shown an increased rate of suicide two to three times greater among women who have undergone cosmetic breast augmentation. (These studies were looking at women who get breast implants for cosmetic purposes, not for cancer.) The reasons are not particularly well-articulated, but it's likely that these women have preexisting [mental illness] that is not picked up by the plastic surgeon or not even recognized by the patient herself. One of the strongest predictors of a subsequent suicide is a history of psychiatric hospitalization. These women already have a history of significant mental illness that is returning some time within years after the cosmetic procedure.
Jean Fain is a Harvard Medical School-affiliated psychotherapist specializing in eating issues, and the author of "The Self-Compassion Diet." For more information, see www.jeanfain.com.
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A highlight from the OH Conference. on October 20, 2012 6:43 am
Recently the Obesity Help Conference I met this great woman, Jill. Jill was to speak during the event, but I did not know that, nor did she introduce herself as anyone of importance.
And we just TALKED AS PEERS.
Let me tell you something -- I LOVE THAT.
I love when there is no pretense, no bull, no "Hey I Am Smarter More Important Than You Because I Have Six Degrees In This And Related Fields Already And You Boooooooooore Me" - she just spoke to me. This woman probably would have taken off to coffee and sat for hours to discuss things, because she seemed genuinely interested.
People often introduce themselves to me as Their Very Important Titles, "Sally Smith, Director of ______ , ADHD, MD, PT, OT, PhD, XYZ, etc...AND YOU ARE?" and then they subconsciously roll their eyes and look for ways out of the situation when they realize they are socially mismatched with an unemployed "disabled" college freshman = me. "Oh hi, I am still talking to you!" (Or not. That also happens. Thank you!)
Self-important cat is self-important.
*That said, she's trained to speak to Teh People Like Me so it may have been this as well? (Please don't say it. I get it, please note *subconscious eye-rollers, we (lay people) see it. Also, "Have you lost weight? Changed your hair? Lost a spouse? Stopped eating? You look better than the last time I saw you." Don't do that. It's really, not okay.)
This is what Jill had to say about the Obesity Help Event in her newsletter -
The OH Conference was amazing! Thank you OH, for organizing such a warm, caring, joyful event! So much celebrating of every ones WLS successes! I can't tell you how touched and elated I was to attend the OH fashion show, where so many conference participants got to strut their stuff down the cat walk, enjoying the fruits of their WLS successes while being cheered on as they publicly owned their new bodies! It was truly beautiful to witness so many men and women celebrating their own courage, progress, and hard work. There was also plenty of opportunity for learning and for talking about how the WLS industry can be improved.
There was a particularly lively discussion about what's missing for many of the post-op folks.
Beth S-B. (of Bariatric Bad Girls) and Courtney W. were two very courageous post-op women on a panel that spoke very honestly and directly about how the WLS industry needs to do a better job of standardizing care and helping post-op patients get access to the psychological aftercare services they need to address addiction and transfer addition issues that can plague the WLS community—before AND after the surgery.
Courtney + I at OH
Unfortunately, there is no "lap band" for our brain, so it's critical that the WLS industry recognize that the medical intervention of surgery is literally just the first step. The next, equally important step, is to get the kind of emotional and behavioral support necessary to develop healthy (non-addiction based) strategies to deal with day-to-day stress and the eventual return of hunger and cravings after the surge.
This additional step is critical to achieving sustainable, long-term success after weight loss surgery. Thank you Beth and Courtney for speaking to the prevalence of addiction in the WLS community, for wanting more for those who feel alone and ashamed because they suffer from addiction, and for being bold enough to demand aftercare that targets this silent, deadly (and not so secret) epidemic.
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Thank you Jill. Really. THANK YOU.
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