Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I have been considered overweight all my life, or at least that's what my parents/family lead me to believe. When I was about 9 or 10, my father enrolled me in the very old Weight Watchers plan. He had to get a waiver because I was so young. Granted, I was 10 years old and weighed about 75 lbs. When I look back, that wasn't outrageous, but they thought so. Encouraging physical activity would have been more productive than starting a life-style of yo-yo dieting that brought me to the need for such a drastic change. They never encouraged any the 4 of us kids to be active in anything other than to get out of the house and go play. We did not have any family activities or were allowed to compete in sports.
The family meals always consisted of fried meats, heavy starches, and inedible veggies. My mother was not a creative cook and seemed to think that large portions smothered in gravy would hide that fact. We were required to eat everything on our plates...and sit until we had indeed cleaned them off...or suffer the speeches about starving children in 3rd world countries...or worse, hear Mom whine about how she was failing as a mother because we wouldn't eat her cooking. Guilt is a powerful weapon. Desserts were equally as large and we were wasting precious money if we didn't eat the entire serving.
When I was in 10th grade, my dad filled out my electives for high school. He enrolled me in a "weight lifting" class for gym. I was excited, until I showed up on that 1st day. At 5' 2" and 112 lbs, my instructor was wondering why I was in her class of girls that easily outweighed me by 50, 75, even 100 lbs or more. She tried to get me transferred to the swim team, but without my parents permission, her hands were tied. My body image was imbedded in my brain...I was just like the other girls in the class. We had a separate room in another part of the gym where no one could see us herded around walking in circles around the perimeter as our "activity". I dieted. I watched everything that went into my mouth, and I cried.
My 40th birthday, Mom called me to come to her house after I got off work. She had baked a cake for me...nice thought. Then she cut the cake in 4th's. One piece each for me, my step-dad (I loved that man), and herself, with the last for me to take home. Really??? A fourth of a cake??? Who in their right mind would eat a 4th of a cake? When my step-dad and I told her we couldn't possibly eat that much, Mom got upset and said I never appreciated anything she ever did. Then she told me that she hated to rush me, but they would need to leave for church soon. It was the pastor's wife's birthday. The church was having a party for her...and she was the most beautiful 40 year old woman my mother had ever seen...and again, it's pounded into my brain that I am not worthy. Even now, my mother takes absolutley no responsibility for not teaching better nutritional habits. She tells everyone that I gained weight because I had my tonsils out when I was 4 yrs old.
I had a partial hysterectomy in June 2002, after which I ballooned up from 192 to 230 lbs in a couple months. When I spoke to my doctor at that time about the drastic weight gain, he told me it was because of the change in my hormones and it would either balance out or not. He didn't want me on HRT because I still had my ovaries. He used all the right words...you're a smart woman and not unattractive...some people just can't lose the weight, so learn to accept yourself as you are and move on. So I did...to my current doctor...a woman who is encouraging and has applauded my decision for wls and is very happy with the results in my labs, etc. I'll keep her. I'm still not on HRT, but that's ok.
What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
The way people treat you and the way you treat yourself is the worst part of being overweight. The nasty comments. I could overlook a child saying something about "the fat lady" but when your own family makes snide comments, it's destructive. I had gone to visit a friend in CA when I was in my 20's and hadn't seen my dad in about 5 years. When I asked to hold her baby, my dad told my friend that I didn't have a lap to hold the baby on...and laughed histerically, like that was funny. I weighed about 200 lbs at that time. Back-tracking and fast forwarding at the same time...both my parents were obese and dad died from an occlusion of the main artery going into his heart, caused by many years of cholesterol build up from fatty foods...ya think he had any right to treat me the way he did when his own life was imminently in danger? Regardless, it was the fear of dying like my dad that lead me to start changes in my own life. I refused to be like "them".
Treating yourself as if you deserve the ugly comments, cowering away instead of standing up and blocking them, accepting that it's your fault, so you should take what's coming to you. Pretty self-abusive. Hearing someone say "you might as well marry me because, well, you aren't much and no one else is beating down the door asking you for a date". That was supposed to make me feel grateful that at least someone was willing to take me. That lasted about 11 years, until I got tired of seeing him with skinny women and hearing about how hot they were. I was about 175-180 lbs then. I left.
If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?
My gastric bypass was 7/28/11. I'm coming up on my 6 month surgiversary...dang...I love that word. I also love being much more active, wearing smaller sizes, looking good, eating healthy, and wearing heels. I also love it when my sweet man wraps his arms around me and says he loved me before my surgery (I was 50 and weighed 244 bs when I started my journey), but he loves the self-confidence that he sees in me now...and to him that is what makes me sexy.
I love feeling my collar bones, my hip bones, seeing my feet, and sharing the recliner with several grandchildren at once. Having my 6 yr old granddaughter show me with her hands how small she thinks my waist is...so sweet...I'm sure she is exagerating.
I am currently 51 yrs old, 157 lbs, and wear a size 8-10 jeans. I'm looking forward to reaching my personal goal of 20-25% BMI...whatever weight that will be. One of my goals is to go try on some beautiful evening gowns and have my picture taken in something exquisite.
Having the surgery was the best thing I ever did for myself...besides the divorce :) I don't preach that gastric bypass is what everyone should do. It is what has worked for me. The type of surgery is a personal choice. Getting your head straight and understanding that you must make life-style changes and stop "dieting" is key. Make positive choices, be proud of each accomplishment, no matter how small other people might think it is. When you get off-track and get yourself right again, don't suffer with guilt. Celebrate that you recognized that you were headed in the wrong direction and got turned around.