reflections of a 7+ yr postop (from LIPO board)

Dec 22, 2009

Wonderful, awful, amazing, boring, simple, complex, challenging, easy, suprising, routine, long, short...

Perception I find is everything. My journey can be characterized with any word or its opposite, depending on my lens or view at that moment in time.

Reflection for me has brought about some amazing discoveries...this journey has been so long yet so has been challenging yet simple.

What I initially failed to see or consider on my journey was just that the destination was not about wt loss at all, it was not about a destination it was about progress, not perfection and a road i was choosing to walk along....Yes i have lost weight and maintained it for the most part...yes I have been successful in so much more than weight loss though...I have been peeling layers of myself to find my authentic hidden by physical and mental layers of fat....

So many things have changed yet stayed the same. I am the same person yet I am not at all if you can understand that. When I thought I had arrived, I realized shortly after that was so far from the truth!

Year 1 postop I was the poster child, I did everything perfectly, I lost 100% OF MY EXCESS WT, FOLLOWED THE 'RULES' RIDGIDLY AND PREACHED THEM AS WELL!!! My identity became that of the WLS patient....I found so much but lost myself in this label...Years two I squeaked by cockily thinking this tool was grand and I would never go back EVER..I had after all lost almost half of myself in wt and that was gone forever..ohhh how short sighted that was....................

Year three the wall of emotional upheaval, so many stressors in my life leading me to discover the tool is flawed and I need to work my emotional side more and more everyday as the tool is a SMALL pieve in my recovery from emotional eating and eating issues. I was still in the midst of an exercise addiction what I switched food the wt stayed off as a result of that obsessive and compulsive framework/life.

I did discover that personal growth work was IMPERATIVE..I worked on that the shame, past issues....after a year I felt better...but not whole. Shaying active online and in support facilitating groups and educational seminars etc was a huge part of my staying on track while watching so so so many others fall off and regain and struggle with old demons.

Fear was still tightly grasped inside of me and I was better but by no means cured! (I now know there is no such thing) but the perfectionist in me thought so..if I ONLY WATCHED THE SCALE ENOUGH OR COUNTED CALORIES OR CARBS OR EXERCISED SO MUCH ETC.  I ridgidly still thought of the rules of a WLS not seeing them as guidelines or recommendations...

Again at year 5 I found myself in need of more personal growth tuning up...I did invest in myself and found more of my inner child work necessary and helpful....Freeing the shame that binds me, workign on codependency issues, journaling, reading and being active in support were foundations of my success and journey. tools as strong if not stronger than my pouch.

Learning to let go of what I can not control and controling what I can (myself only)....helped so much.
I went through the body image phases of finding external beauty with the wt loss and then plastics..Discovering societies response to a thinner woman, some adolescent moments relieved with joy at the response followed by ANGER of the injustice of this, I am the same perosn damnit, well no I guess I am not. (darnit!)

It was in needing to be beautiful in others eyes that i could find my inner beauty and believe in my worth outside of the external skin and layers.

There was much professional growth along the way, challenges in my relationships that have made many stronger in so many ways. I had some selfishness much needed along the way to find my ability to love unconditionally myself and others, to give and learn to receive...

I have dealth now with allowing my persona of the wls person to fade, my authentic self to emerge, letting go of needing alll the time to be perfect, to please others and to know taking care of myself first is the goal and not selfish. I have found boundless self esteem and energy, I have yet to conquer the all or nothingness of exercise balance has still alluded me but we all need work to progress on huh!?

I have let go of the need for attentiona around my outward appearance enough to say despite spending thousands on plastics it was time to have a baby, my mommy body wasmore important than breast implants and a flat tummy from a Lower body lift. HUGE shifts for me. I have now become a mother, yet a new label I am mroe than a mom but a mom is so much a part of me. So much to learn and accept.

None of this possible unless I had taken the time to start this process and INVEST in myself. My surgeon is awesome, so is my plastic surgeon and clinical nutrition doctor. My support groups online an in person are also great supports but it began and will end with me, my chpoices, my decisions...

I have chosen to live, to explore, to fall down and get up again. This journey has been an adventure as I chose it to is not without potholes many I am still challenged to get out of in a timely fashion. I can see them mostly even if I still fall in. Many I walk around and many I get out of quicker.

Just when you think you are at the end for me I reqalize it is the beginning.

Thank you for listening to my ponderings and musings. It is my personal reflection, your mileage may vary...again it is all about perception. SO THE NEXT TIME YOU THINK YOU HAVE ARRIVED CONSIDER THE OPPOSITE, IF YOU THINK YOU ARE FAILING PERHAPS IT IS A LESSON YOU ARE LEARNING, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON I BELEIVE.

The scale ain;t that important, it is such a small measure of any success for me if they all blew up tomorrow I;d be fine, but ask yourself would you? How would you measure your progress, success and self worth?