Hot Mess Hubby and I had the talk a few weeks ago. We were talking about my struggles with food…and working out…and my weight. And he said the words that a lot of spouses are probably afraid to say.
“Babe, I’m not being mean…but at some point, don’t you have to think about surgery?”
Yowch. I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt to hear that – but after ten years of marriage, HMH knows how to take the sting out of his words. Pretty much.
He was speaking out of love, not malice. He’s watched me struggle with this for a long time now. Any normal person would be thinking “When is it going to be enough for you to just do it?” There is no pressure attached to his message, no impatience or intolerance. He loves me. He’s worried about me.
We’ve had this talk before. A few times. In the beginning, it was just my crazed ranting against surgery because I was watching a friend (or two or three) go through it without using it as a tool for healthy living. I know many people who’ve had weight loss surgery and gained it all back because they didn’t change what was really important: their thinking.
I’ve seriously considered surgery twice in my life. About five years ago I made an appointment with a local surgeon and then cancelled it the day before. Two years ago, I made an appointment with a different surgeon and kept it. I went through the entire screening process, passed the psych exam (shut up, I totally aced it), and was awaiting insurance approval when I stopped the process and decided not to go through with it. Why? Because I lost weight on my own.
Ever since the first of many of my friends had weight loss surgery, the option of doing it for myself has hung over me like a dark cloud. At one point in my life, all my closest girlfriends had done it. I lived in a world where they were so excited about their amazing weight loss that they couldn’t stop talking about it…and then they started giving me their clothes that were too big for them. As happy as I was for them, it was absolutely crushing.
There have been times when I’ve felt surgery was inevitable. There are moments when I think…what am I waiting for? How long am I going to struggle in vain before I realize that I’m just not strong enough or tough enough or smart enough to change myself?
And that’s when the answer comes. No. I’m not having surgery.
I admit it: there was a time in my life when I looked down at people who decided to have weight loss surgery. I haven’t felt that way about it for a long, long time. I understand it for what it is: a tool. I have nothing but love and support in my heart for those who choose surgery – because I’ll tell you what: unless you’ve been morbidly obese, you have no idea what this is like.
Surgery has a bad rep because there are many weight loss surgeons out there who are smarmy as hell. They get excited when they see a fat person just like a personal injury attorney gets excited when they see an accident victim. These surgeons don’t care how you gained it or why you want to lose it. They don’t care if you’re emotionally ready for it. They care about whether you have insurance or can qualify for easy financing. Weight loss surgery has become Ritalin for fat people – and that’s why it has a bad rep. I know women who have been told to gain 20 pounds in order to qualify. And I know someone who’s done exactly that.
I also know people who have had weight loss surgery and say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made in their lives. They’ve kept their weight off and they live healthy, active lives now. It’s a combination of being ready and finding a decent doctor that results in a positive, lasting experience. It’s just not for me.
I’ve pretty much fixed the inside of me. And I’m pretty damn confident that I’d be successful if I elected to have weight loss surgery. I still can’t do it. Not because I’m afraid, but because I have something to prove.
I think back to that ten year old little girl I was when I first learned what fat was. I think about the way I grew up: believing that I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t lovable enough, smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough. (Yes, I do realize I sound like that idiot from Saturday Night Live.)
I’m just not going to tell myself that I’m not tough enough to do this the way I feel I need to do it. I’m not going to think about that ten year old kid in that mirror and know that my rotten bastard of a dance teacher was right: that my best is not good enough.
I’m not going to say that to myself. I’m just not. I would rather hurt on the elliptical than hurt in a recovery room. So it’s for her that I’m doing this…that ten year old little girl who just needed someone to stand up for her. I can’t just fix her with surgery. I have to show her that she really was enough.
The path you take to living a healthy life is a very personal one. Whatever road you choose, I wish you a safe journey…and fierce success.
This is going to be an incredibly difficult post for me to write & publish, but I have to do it. I want to do it. Because I promised myself long ago that I would always be real about my process – and if I don’t talk about it, then what the hell good is this blog anyway?
I’ve gained weight. Quite a bit.
If I don’t talk about the negative as well as the positive – and if I don’t keep pushing through it – there would be nothing to differentiate me from the hundreds of other bloggers who’ve come and gone before me, their blogs now forgotten. I’ve followed dozens and dozens of them – yet I can check them on my Feedly list right now and I know what I would see: dead, dark blogs. Blogs that were once active and full of motivation, now “dark”. No posts since 2012…or even longer. These countless bloggers stopped posting when they hit bumps in the road, perhaps because they thought no one was reading – or perhaps because they were afraid of who would say what if they admitted failure.
Well, I may be afraid in some ways – but I’ve got more courage than sense in others. Whenever I think of not posting, it’s not the readers I might lose because I fell flat on my ass that makes me persist. It’s the idea that there’s one person out there who needs to hear what I’m saying as much as I need to say what I’m saying. It’s that person, perhaps with their hand deep into a box of Little Debbies, who needs to know that they’re not alone in this – and that there are people with the same demons who are fighting the same fight…and that they’re not alone. That’s the person who sends me back to my laptop. Every time.
This is also going to be an incredibly long post. Sorry. I simply can’t break this down into digestible chunks. You may want to pace yourself. I hope you read the whole thing. It’s not my intention to overwhelm you with a giant blog post, but…I have to say it all.
I’m here to tell you that I’ve failed. I’ve fallen right on my ass…all over the internet, in front of a gazillion people and the NSA and everything. I am embarrassed and ashamed, afraid and dumbfounded at my inability to save myself from something that makes me feel like the dumbest person on the planet. Yet every time I get ready to mentally flog myself for being a moron, a tiny bit of inner strength comes over me and reminds me that there are much more horrible things in this world than the fact that I didn’t get it perfect this time. The Kardashians are reproducing, for fuck’s sake. Anything I do can’t possibly cause as much damage to the world. This realization is usually all it takes for me to remember to focus on the solution and stop beating myself up.
Looking back, of course, it’s perfectly clear to me where I went wrong. I stopped logging my food, convinced that I could depend upon my auto-pilot. Without logging, I lost sight of the little things that quickly add up to bigger things. I stopped weighing myself, trying instead to focus on the positive steps of making exercise a habit.
The simple truth is that, while others may be successful at living a healthy lifestyle without logging their food, I need it. Always. And, while others can’t step on the scale every day, I have to. My food log and my scale are the tools I use to successfully navigate these waters. I am not the kind of person who can be without them. I need them daily.
Without my tools, it’s far too easy for me to get distracted by daily life. I’ve become mired down with a million details. Things to do. Places to be. People to see. I’ve gone from being a fairly organized person to being a scatterbrained twit surrounded by a bunch of half-done tasks with no idea what to do next. Completely overwhelmed. I feel like the dumbest person on the planet for letting this happen. I fell back into the land of quick fixes and lazy thinking. And six months into 2013, I still haven’t made exercise a habit.
My monumental failure: I’ve gained back all but one pound of the weight I lost.
Living in a world of elastic waist pants makes it very hard to judge whether the weight is creeping back on – especially when most of your clothes are a 30/32. It takes a lot to move from the low end of the 30 to the high end of the 32.
43 pounds, to be exact.
It would have been easy to spot had I not stopped getting on the scale every day, but I got the brilliant idea in my head that I should take a break from the scale in order to train my focus on exercise. Dumb. Really dumb. I understand what I thought I was doing, but I was failing to accept one undeniable truth: I fucking HATE exercise. I hate it. I could quit everything else in life in order to focus on exercise but I would still be focused on something I hate doing – and all that brings is negativity. I should have kept logging, kept weighing, and kept trying at the exercise.
I have one pair of jeans that fits (or used to). They’re a size 30. I don’t wear them a lot. Imagine my surprise when I went to put them on a couple of weeks ago and they weren’t even close to zipping or buttoning. I actually thought I’d mistakenly grabbed at the wrong pair of jeans. I had to look at the tag to see the size. Imagine my horror as reality sank in. I hadn’t been getting on the scale. I hadn’t been logging my food. Oh wow…HMH and I have been ordering pizza more often, haven’t we? Shit. How long had it been since I could wear these jeans? I had no idea.
It took weeks before I had the balls to get on the scale and face the music – and in that time, I still wasn’t eating as healthy as before and I certainly wasn’t working out consistently.
So here I am…facing the music and feeling like the biggest failure in the world. And the funny thing is that I didn’t feel this way at all when I gained back the 75 pounds I lost back in the 90’s. I’ve been having quite the internal dialogue about this since I got on the scale. It hasn’t been pretty. It’s been a weird combination of beating myself up and coming up with a plan to fix this – lately, more of the latter.
What am I going to do about this? Pick myself up, dust myself off, and get moving. Although the thought did occur to me briefly, I am not pursuing weight loss surgery.
As of this morning, I’m back to logging my food. Logging is my safety net and I’m never living without it again. No more pizza, no more convenience foods. There’s a half gallon of ice cream in my freezer right now that’s going down the drain tonight. I don’t need the temptation…I have shit to do.
Mr. Scale is back in my life. I appreciate him for the information he gives me. I don’t get pissed when he tells me I weigh one or two pounds more than I did yesterday. I’m a woman. For some reason, weight fluctuation is all part of the majesty of owning a uterus…or having owned one in the past, whatever your situation may be. I don’t care about two or even three pounds. I care about five. I need to know where I stand.
The 7 Dwarfs of the Menstrual Apocalypse are just packing up and leaving, so I’m not headed to the gym today – but I am tomorrow. From now on, there will be no more trying to embrace the positive kittens-and-rainbows “exercise is good for me” mindset. I hate exercise. It’s painful and horrible and I hate it – and it’s dishonest for me to try and get all warm and fuzzy about it. From now on, I am going to the gym regularly – which will require me to force myself. Tough shit. I’m giving myself permission to hate it. I’m going to bitch and moan and scream bloody murder if that’s what I feel like doing, but I’m going to the gym whether I like it or not. Like a good parent with a stubborn child, I’m going to get this medicine down my throat one way or the other.
It nearly broke my heart to pull 43 marbles out of the “Pounds Lost” jar today, but I did it. They’re not my victories to claim anymore. They’re back in the “Pounds to Go” jar where they belong. For now. It hurt to do, but I know with a certainty I’ve never had before that they’ll be back in the “Pounds Lost” jar soon.
I lost my way. I’m not proud of it. Hopefully you’ll forgive me. I sure do feel stupid because of it, but I’m not going to let myself wallow in self-pity and self-hatred over this. This has happened. I caused it. I’ve picked myself up, brushed myself off, and put my feet back on the road. I’m really not proud of where I’m standing right now.
I’m just not going to be one of those bloggers who fades into the background to lick her wounds. Y’all know me. I have no compunction about licking myself in front of you. This blog is about embracing change and finding what works. This is all part of that process for me.
I reset the weight loss ticker on the top right of this page. Makes me sad just looking at it. So here I go. One marble in the jar…
On to part 2 of this amazing tale of tired feet, sore backs, and shattered dreams. I feel duty bound to tell you at this point that there may, indeed, be a part 3. I didn’t deliberately deceive y’all yesterday when I said I had to break it into 2 parts, I’m just a real wordy bitch. Apologies in advance if that happens.
So I left off yesterday as we were ushered to the hospital cafeteria, goodie bags in hand, to fill out our official Biggest Loser applications. It was well after lunch by this time and, to add insult to serious foot injury, the grill was closed. Either that or the 684 contestants who were in front of us ate all the food and they had to close up shop. I didn’t ask – partially because I was trying not to gag over the stench of the only food they were still serving: Subway. Sorry, Jared…your food smells like vinaigrette mixed with ass.
None of us had thought to bring snacks either. Imagine that: over a thousand fat people in the same place and no food. Well played, Subway. I’d brought some carrot sticks with me, but they were long gone. Normally I would have brought a backpack full of partially hydrogenated nummies, but ya know, I thought I needed to bring rabbit food to show the producers how good I was at liking healthy food. Because my giant ass was proof that I loved nothing more than a good salad after a stressful day, right?
I sat there with my 8 new BFF’s, feeling more hungry than I could ever remember, trying to keep my hand from trembling as I filled out my application (just in case they were also judging on penmanship). I didn’t even think about the goodie bag until one of the guys in my group grumbled, “Oh great…I bet these taste good.” I looked up to find him holding a bag of something called Protein Crisps. The look on his face was priceless.
Volunteers were stationed at the cafeteria entrance, calling out contestant numbers in sets of 5 every few minutes. They called out #548 and I looked down at my contestant number. #649. Awesome. I was going to be in Subway Stinkland for a while.
After a while, we became restless. Our applications were completed with what we were all certain were perfect, heart-wrenching answers to all the producer’s questions. They were bound to pick at least one of us. Our goodie bags had been plundered. Protein Crisps, a pen with the hospital’s logo on it, a message pad that said “Biggest Loser’ on it. Nothing fabulous. And no, no one touched their Protein Crisps. Later that night I would carefully open the packet of crisps and offer one to our dog, Kokopelli. She turned her nose up at it. That dog would eat her own yard biscuits, but those Protein Crisps were just gross.
Before long, sitting hurt just as much as standing. Every part of my body was throbbing and in pain. Finally, they called #648…which was one of my BFF’s. Then #649. We were told to stand in a hallway, which we did with barely concealed excitement. The rest of our friends soon joined us and the line began slowly moving. We had no idea where we were going, but we were certain that our final destination was just around the corner. Then we rounded the corner.
At least 200 people were lined up down a long hallway in front of us. Jesus. How long was this going to go on? And now we were standing again, feet throbbing, with clunky goodie bags and applications to hold onto. At least this line seemed to be moving faster, though. The line seemed to end at a pair of elegant wood doors at the end of the hall. I pictured a poshly decorated doctor’s conference room on the other side with a shiny black table, around which were seated a handful of Biggest Loser casting directors and producers. The Promised Land.
We were positively wiggly by the time we got to those doors. They were letting in groups of 10. We were next. They opened the doors and we rushed forward, but instead of finding ourselves in front of a bunch of Biggest Loser casting honchos we found ourselves in a huge auditorium. A volunteer just inside the door told us to find seats.
We found seats off to the side in a little overflow section of folding chairs. I looked around and my heart sank. There had to be at least 600 people in that auditorium. We looked at each other in disbelief. We were exhausted and hungry. I would have cut a bitch for a half of a granola bar. We thought we were at the end, yet there were still hundreds of people in front of us. At that point, it felt like we were in the middle of some cruel joke. Morale was starting to fade.
At least there was something to occupy our thoughts this time. There was a woman on stage at a podium, speaking about her amazing weight loss success. Everyone was riveted by her story. Her “before” picture was projected on the screen behind her along with the Biggest Loser logo. It was hard to believe that this skinny woman speaking to us had ever been overweight. When her presentation ended she opened things up for questions and hands shot up all over the auditorium.
“What did you do to lose that much weight?” Girl-in-green-dress asked.
The answer was something like “Blah blah blah, portion control, blah blah blah…eating healthy food…”
Yeah. That’s not what we wanted to know. We’re professional fatties. We’ve read a million books about portion contorl. Besides, it felt like she was side-stepping something.
“How did you lose the weight?” came the next question from chick-with-red-hair.
“Blah blah blah…get in the right mindset…blah blah blah…hard work…”
No. That’s not what we’re asking. We’ve heard this shit a million times. We’re still fat.
Finally, someone with balls stands up. Blue-shirt-guy says, “How specifically did you succeed this time after so many failed attempts to lose weight?”
He got applause from the crowd. We were all losing patience with this chick and her sketchy answers. You’re in a room full of your fellow fatties, lady…spill the details already. We eagerly awaited her reply.
“I had gastric bypass surgery here at the hospital.”
She clicked the remote in her hand and the slide changed from her “after” picture to one containing information about the hospital’s weight loss surgery programs.
My chin just about hit the floor. Everybody’s chins just about hit the floor. I was wrong about blue-shirt-guy having balls…because this chick had big brass ones. So did the hospital. What marketing genius.
No wonder the hospital volunteered to host the auditions. What do you do with a thousand captive fatties, most (if not all) of whom are not going to get picked for the Biggest Loser? You make them sit and listen to presentation after presentation about gastric bypass surgery. Well played, you sneaky-ass motherfuckers.
The auditorium booed her. Loudly. She tried to recover by continuing to talk over the booing. Eventually the crowd quieted down. Off to the side, a Biggest Loser production assistant approached the stage and the auditorium went wild. He stepped up to the microphone.
“We need numbers 438 through 447 out here in the hall please.”
What? They’re only in the 400’s? I was #648. Son of a bitch. Some of us were ready to cry. It was the day that never ended.
Back on stage, gastric-bypass-chick introduced the next presenter. Guess who it was? Dr. I-Forget-Her-Name, Chief Resident Hoo-Hah over…you guessed it…Bariatric Surgery.
Sigh. It was like being trapped in a timeshare meeting for fat people.
It was a collective slap in the face. The doctor gave her presentation. I didn’t hear much of it. I started texting Hot Mess Hubby in disgust. We had waited all eff’in day for a chance to have the shit kicked out of us on the Biggest Loser. We wanted to learn from top nutritionists, chefs, and personal trainers. We were auditioning for a reality show called The Biggest Loser, not Surgery Island.
The wheels of change finally began to turn in my rusty noggin when the next speaker was introduced. A psychologist came to speak about the mindset you need for success. She wasn’t pitching weight loss surgery, she was pitching something that every weight loss seeker needs whether they seek it through surgery or not: change. I wanted to hear the presentation…but I couldn’t. Because two of my fellow fatties, seated in front of me, wouldn’t stop chattering.
Between the two of them, I’m sure they had at least 600 pounds to lose. I was (and am) a pretty big girl…and these folks made me feel small. Each of them was seated across two folding chairs and they filled up the space. They definitely needed to be here with us – but they sat there laughing and chatting with each other, making fun of the doctor as she spoke. In fact, when the doctor started speaking about change management, the woman looked at the man and said “Yeah, yeah, yeah already. Too much work unless it’s for $250,000.”
Wow. Not ready for change. At all. I sat there, half listening to the presentation and half listening to them. I was heart sick for them. Maybe they were just as beat down with exhaustion as we were. Maybe they were just venting. But I wanted them to want to be there for more than just a $250,000 grand prize.
Their numbers were called and they stood up to go. Our section applauded for them and they both turned to us and smiled, saying thanks as they picked up their belongings. My heart really went out to this woman. Her weight was everywhere. It was pushing her cheeks up against her eyes. Her neck was a giant roll. Her face was so full that her chin had a tennis ball sized protrusion at the end of it. She wheezed when she moved to gather her things. I wanted to hug her and tell her to kick some ass when she got in front of those producers.
As I sat there watching her slowly waddle away, I realized…she’s me. She’s me.
Since I was a little girl, one of my most prominent features have been my “big, brown eyes”. Everyone has always complimented me on my eyes. But at 381 pounds, my eyes had stopped being a prominent feature. My face was puffy. My body was huge. If I kept up living as I was, my body would only be getting bigger. As my new BFF’s chatted easily with each other, I sat there feeling ashamed of myself. What had I done to myself? I was on the wrong road. Whether I miraculously made it on the show or not, something had to change. I sat there with my mind reeling, knowing there was more for me to discover in this new realization, but not wanting to think on it too much in this huge room full of people. I needed quiet time to really think this through.
They called our numbers and we bolted up and ran for the door. Finally. We were ushered down another hall and told to wait. The volunteer in charge of us assured us that we were almost there, but I was hesitant to believe her at this point. I wouldn’t have been too shocked if the next room included a panel of plastic surgeons to pitch tummy tucks for when we all hit our goal weights. This was not the day of promise and possibility that I thought it would be when I woke up. It was a day of exhaustion, realization, and hard lessons.
We stood in the hall together, excitedly chattering and taking pictures of our group, vowing to keep in touch. Some of us lived quite far from each other, but we promised to get together when we could – especially if one of us made it on the show, as we would want to have a watch party some night. It seemed our time together was finally coming to an end and it made me a little sad to think of it.
The volunteer came back to us, this time with the air of a boot camp drill instructor.
“Everyone in here, quickly!” She pointed to an open door that led to a small meeting room.
As we rushed towards the door, she stepped in before us. There was a lone man, very young, sitting at a small conference table. He had a Hollywood hipster look about him, one I was all too familiar with since I’m from southern California. He didn’t even look up. The volunteer drill instructor spoke next.
“Quickly, put your things on the floor against the wall and have a seat. Bring your applications. Hurry up now!”
We dropped our shit and ran to the table and sat. It was time to win a spot on the hottest reality show on tv. The volunteer stepped out and closed the door behind her. Finally, hipster boy spoke.
“Welcome, everyone. We only have two minutes together today, so I’ll make this quick. My name is (insert hipster doofus name) and I’m a casting assistant for the Biggest Loser. Going around the table, tell me your name and where you’re from.”
He pointed at the person on his left and said “Go.”
Like military recruits, we spouted off our names and where we were from. The only thing missing was “Sir, yes sir!” at the end. He sat there, slouched in his chair, unimpressed. Inside, I was thinking “Two minutes? Did he say we only have two minutes???”
“Pass me your applications.”
We passed them. What happened next was a real eye opener for me.
“Okay, I just have one question for the group. Why do you want to be on the Biggest Loser?” He made an open gesture at all of us and said, “Go!”
Like a crazed pack of monkeys, everyone started chattering at him at once. They were almost yelling over each other, each vying for his attention. It wasn’t a discussion, it was a shouting match…and he sat there slouching in his chair with a slight smile on his face as this display went on before him. I sat there with my mouth hanging open in amazement as my new BFF’s threw all decorum out the window and just yammered over each other like this was normal every day behavior. I started laughing. I couldn’t help it. Our group went from being BFF’s forever to a bunch of screaming degenerates who’d stab each other in the back for a shot at this guy’s attention. And he sat there gloating…as if we were all on Atkins and he had placed a single cupcake in the middle of the table. I can’t imagine that he was able to hear much of what any one person said. I couldn’t stop giggling to myself over the absurdity of it all. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say that warranted yelling it above everyone else. About 45 seconds into the melee, I heard myself say in my head “You are not the Biggest Loser.”
He held a hand up and there was instant silence. Hipster doofus had the power.
“Okay, we’re almost out of time. Quickly around the table: would you want Bob or Jillian…and why?”
Each person blurted out their answers one at a time. It was the only time I actually spoke while I was in that room.
Hipster boy explained that if we were selected to continue further we would get a call by 9 pm that night. I already knew the phone wasn’t going to ring at my house…and that was okay. I have a low threshold for crazy.
We hugged each other goodbye in the lobby and promised to let each other know if we got called. That night, I waited for the call that wasn’t coming and emailed the group at 9:05 pm to let them know I wasn’t selected. One of our group was chosen to go to a casting callback and another was asked to make a video tape and submit it. Despite that, neither was selected to go any further.
I spent the rest of the day overwhelmed with everything I was feeling. I was happy that I went, angry at the insensitive marketing done by the hospital, and absolutely aghast at the 2 minute brawl that ensued in that tiny little conference room. As much as I tried, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could glean enough information from that 2 minute shouting match in order to narrow down the contestant field. It seemed to me a process that was as ridiculous as it was futile. I would rather have been pitted against others in a more civilized forum – or even a physical challenge.
In the weeks that followed, I sent a few emails to my BFF’s to check on them. No one responded. We were strangers again as quickly as we were friends, which only added to the weirdness of the entire experience. Quite some time later, one of them found me on Facebook and we’ve stayed in touch…but everyone else is long gone. I wish them well.
I ached to the bone the following day from all the hours of standing on my feet. I was curious about the experiences of Biggest Loser contestants in a way I hadn’t been before. The casting call was an eye opener for me. I waited all day thinking I would have the chance to speak to a casting assistant for the show and instead I was thrown into a ridiculous situation. In this case, the reality of the reality show did not meet with my expectations – and I wanted to see if there was anything else about the Biggest Loser that I had misconceptions about.
There was, indeed – but that’s a story for tomorrow. It’s taken me over 3,000 words to tell you about the remainder of an amazing day…and I hope you’ve enjoyed it somehow. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I learned in my search for answers. That will be Part 3. I doubt it will take 3,000 words…but like I said: I’m quite a wordy bitch.
I learned I wasn’t the Biggest Loser, but I also connected with the fact that I was on a dangerous path…and that I needed to find a way to change direction once and for all. This was the beginning of my beginning. This experience sent me looking not only for answers but solutions as well.
“Well-meaning people” are going to be the death of me…or at least my patience.
Someone I don’t know very well came to me today with the sole purpose of telling me that it’s time for me to have gastric bypass surgery. Please join me as I let out a horrified effing scream.
Before I continue, let me just say that I believe the decision to have any bariatric surgery is an extremely personal one. If you have decided that surgery is the way you want to go, then I support your right to make that decision. After years of waffling back and forth, however, I’ve decided that surgery is not the route for me…and for the last 8 months, I’ve proven that I can do this without it. I’m going to try to choose my words carefully, but please don’t take my message today to mean that I’m trashing bariatric surgery patients…because that’s not what I’m doing.
Back to my….”friend”. Actually, no, it’s not a friend. This is co-worker. And I have never written about a co-worker before, but when you:
A. Are aware that I write a blog about my weight loss efforts and…
B. Voluntarily plop your skinny ass into my workspace to give me your unsolicited opinion about how I should lose this weight and…
C. Are insensitive enough not to see that your comments are unprofessional, unwelcome, and –quite frankly – bat shit cray cray….well, you’re gett’in blogged about whether you like it or not.
Seriously, my heart pounds with the ire of a thousand screaming fat girls every time I think about this conversation. Let me get through the bulk of this verbal exchange and then maybe you’ll see why I’m nuclear-pissed about it.
So there I am, doing my work and minding my own business, when The Co-Worker stops by for a chat and asks me if I’ve ever considered weight loss surgery before. (She and I have already had this conversation, by the way…back when I was sold on having lap band surgery. She just doesn’t remember.) This question would not seem at all strange if I was friends with this person – or maybe if I worked with them every day. Neither is the case.
It’s incredibly weird and uncomfortable to be singled out by someone you barely know because you struggle with a problem that’s too big to hide. Of course, I blog about my big problem…so I’m kind of asking for it, right? I can go either way on that – but that’s not even really why I’m pissed off.
In answer to her question, I shared some of my story with this person, including the fact that I had consulted a lap band surgeon last August and was committed to doing it until I gave myself an Imaginary Lap Band last December. Obviously, I’ve given the matter a lot of thought…and still made the decision that weight loss surgery is not for me.
In her misguided, yet passionate attempt to cure me of my obesity problem she explains that she’s recently spoken with someone who has lost 100 pounds with weight loss surgery.
Oh super! So now, little Miss Never-had-to-lose-more-than-20-pounds is grabbing every fat person she sees and telling them about the miracle opportunity that is weight loss surgery. Thank God I was in the right place at the right time, right?
Excitedly proclaiming how wonderful her friend’s new life is because she is now able to ride her bike everywhere, she asks me “When’s the last time you were on a bike? 10 years ago?”
Okay, now you’re just being a presumptuous bitch. What did you just say to me??? I start to feel like I’m a prisoner in some sort of horrible infomercial. I calmly reply, “No…about 2 years, actually.” Inside, I’m thinking WTF…why did I answer that?
I should have told her to back off of her ignorant attempt to “help” me, but when someone is insensitive to me in the workplace I am almost brainless in my desire to avoid confrontation. In my professional life, I’ve been “raised” to smile around the a-holes we all run into, find a work-around, and avoid them in the future. I don’t call people out. I don’t know how to do it without being a bitch…and it’s not worth the risk of damaging work relationships or losing my job. So I continued to smile through it, desperately wondering how the hell I was going to sweetly reign this girl in.
She says “Think about how great you’d feel if you just lost 50 pounds!”
I pointed out the fact that I lost 45 pounds already. Without surgery. The reply that came back to me was something like “Yes, but you haven’t lost any more…” I can’t be exactly sure because by this point, I am officially in shock. I’m thinking…well, fuck-a-doodle-doo…I didn’t realize I was on this chick’s timetable.
I’d better get crack’in!
As she’s yammering on about the glorious post-weight loss bike riding world, I’m wondering if I can come up with a viable excuse for hurling my stapler at her forehead. Nope. I’m coming up blank in the alibi department. I have to keep playing nice.
Taking in a deep breath and smiling my very best calm-in-the-face-of-ignorance smile, I say “It’s just not for me, really. I truly believe I can lose this weight on my own.”
Would you like to guess what she had to say to that? C’mon…guess.
I said “It’s just not for me, really. I truly believe I can lose this weight on my own.”
And she shakes her head at me and says “No you can’t.”
What the frick?
This is why I am nuclear-pissed. What kind of a person does that? Who the hell says a thing like that? Who in their right mind thinks shit like that is helpful in anyway?
Then she starts on about what I’m doing to my heart. Like I’m wolfing down Twinkies everyday and I’m out of control and she’s staging some sort of partially hydrogenated intervention. I’m trying to assert the fact that you significantly decrease your risk of heart disease every time you lower your body weight by 10%…but I can’t seem to get the words out of my mouth. I am so absolutely stunned…flabbergasted…and riled up, there is no rebuttal to be found on the tip of my tongue.
Thankfully she had to go make a phone call or catch a meeting. Probably for the United Social Morons in Charge of Reeling in the Fatties. Jesus! Maybe she owns stock in a bicycle factory for all I know. I have no idea where this came from.
I know I’ve been a little harsh here and there, so I should say that this person is not a vicious person. I have to believe that this person…somewhere in their poor misguided soul…was trying to be sincere. I think she really thought she was helping me. I believe she was so passionate about trying to help me that she had no idea how she was coming off. She was even shaking her head halfway through my sentences, waiting to prove me wrong somehow. She wasn’t even listening to what I was saying.
I can even overlook the surgery thing and the bike thing…but there is one thing I can’t overlook: sheer ignorance and absolute insensitivity. No, I can’t overlook that. She actually looked me in the face and said “No you can’t.”
You don’t sit down in front of your co-worker, who has finally sorted out her issues with food and decided to attack her problems without surgery…your co-worker who has given up sugar, diet soda, and junk food…your co-worker who lost 45 pounds in 6 months, blogging about it the whole way…leaving a trail of low carb bread crumbs for her fellow fatties to follow…creating an amazing community of fat fighters who support each other on Facebook and on the blog…no, you don’t look at this person – me – and tell her “No, you can’t do this.”
I’m thinking of the character John Locke from the tv show LOST when he yelled from his wheelchair “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
Hours and hours later, I still can’t believe the gall some people have.
Well, I’m here to tell ya: Yes, I can. In fact, yes, I am doing it. Yes, I will continue to do it. And if I’m not doing it according to your schedule, then piss off!
I almost wish that I hadn’t been paralyzed by office politics because I didn’t stand up for myself. I should have been more outspoken. I should have found a way to stand up for myself instead of sitting there in shock & awe mode.
What an insane thing for her to do. I wonder if she goes to marathons and instead of cheering for the people bringing up the rear, she yells “You’re not doing it right!!!”
Maybe there’s a surgery for that too!
I’m appalled. Officially.
I am so thankful for the amazing co-workers I have who do believe in me and what I have been doing. Every single one of them was relieved beyond words when I told them that I’d decided not to have lap band surgery. Every single one of them has been amazingly supportive and wonderful. Never once have they told me that I can’t do this.
For the record, I may not be doing this as fast as others would like – but I’m not doing this for them. I’m doing this for me. I believe in myself. I know I can do this.
God help the person who tries to tell me what I can’t do.
Don’t ever let toxic, insensitive people bring negative to your door.
My employer has a pretty cool program called “HealthMatters”. Basically, employees earn a reduction on next year’s insurance deductible by doing certain healthy activities like taking preventive tests and quitting naughty behaviors like smoking, eating too much, and dating jerks. Okay, I’m not sure about the jerk thing…but the rest is true.
Every two to three months, I get a call from my HealthMatters nurse, Monica. Over the past year, she has endured assorted tales from me but there was nothing that could prepare poor Monica for the motivation train that has been plowing through the Hot Mess household lately. We last spoke at the end of November – long before I fell back ON the wagon. 🙂
So Monica calls and asks me how I’ve been doing with my goal of quitting diet soda. I proudly say “DONE! Haven’t had one since Christmas day!!”
Monica congratulates me and then says “Okay, so the last time we talked you were considering lap band surgery and were going to be about ready to schedule a surgery date…how is that going?”
I told her that I decided against having any kind of surgery – at least for the next 30 days – while I make sure my mojo is fully back. She was quite proud of me. I’m quite proud of me.
Two things that always trip me up, though, are getting too cocky too fast…and not working out on a consistent basis. In all my previous attempts to get healthy, I’ve known this about myself and yet I’ve never done anything proactive to make sure it doesn’t trip me up again. This is the first time I’ve ever actually thought “Oh yeah…I need to be sure I work out consistently and keep my focus” while I’m still motivated and doing well. I may be the slowest learner on the planet.
I know that I will get bored and discouraged if I don’t keep this interesting, so I spent a little money on myself today. I’ve had one of these before but I lost it somewhere in this house. (Most likely Sarah the cat decided she didn’t like all that noise coming from the treadmill, so she batted it under a huge piece of furniture somewhere.) At any rate, I’ve bought myself a second S2H Step pedometer. Ever heard of these?
Basically, the pedometer counts your steps like any other pedometer does…but this one gives you a code after you take 10,000 steps. You register online for a free account and log each code you get. Each code is worth 60 points. Rack up enough points and you can spend them on whatever prizes you want. Prizes vary and availability varies, so you have to keep an eye on the website. Last year, they offered a Nintendo Wii system for a while.
There are lots of prizes to chose from including discounts on spa weekend getaways, gift cards to stores like Walmart and Target, and music downloads. If you’re a parent and you’re trying to get your kids to be more active, there are stickers and other kid things available as prizes. If the pedometer won’t work for your kids, there’s also a wristband. So…this was my first little splurge today:
As much as I love walking, I’m afraid I’ll get bored if that’s all I do. I would love to get an elliptical trainer, but like most families in this economy, we just can’t afford a purchase like that right now – and I hate gyms. I like to exercise in privacy and solitude. I also like to dance. So…this weekend, I plan to shake it like a polaroid picture. Check it out:
I do have “The Michael Jackson Experience” for PS3, having four asses makes dancing like the King of Pop more frustrating than fun. So little Michael will have to keep his moonwalk’in ass in the bottom of the perfectly matched decorator basket that holds our collection of PS3 games. I’ll have to lose some pounds before I can convincingly grab my crotch and shriek “WooHOOOO!” in my living room. Too much of a challenge for me right now!
Speaking of challenges, I passed the temptation test today. I’ll give you the short version: Office Party. Cake. Me. Bad Ass. 🙂 Didn’t eat any. Wasn’t worth it. WooHOOO! (No, I’m not grabbing my crotch like Michael…promise.)
Another challenge tomorrow: lunch with a couple of my girlfriends at my absolutely favorite restaurant. Let’s just say that if you ask a server for nutritional information at this place, they smile and giggle. LOL. Here’s the deal, though: my favorite entree is actually not bad at all because of the way I order it. It’s basically a piece of heavenly seasoned, grilled chicken on a french roll. Okay, sure…it’s served with fries. But I don’t get an emotional high from french fries. I do get a hell of a reaction from their cheesecake. It’s almost like I need a cigarette when I’m done, ok? (Except I don’t smoke…but you know what I mean.)
So tomorrow I’m going to my favorite restaurant with my friends. I’m ordering my favorite chicken sammie and I’m eating the fries. I am not drinking diet soda. I am NOT ordering cheesecake. I’ve already informed my girlfriends that I am perfectly fine if they order dessert – in fact, I would appreciate the opportunity to flex my mojo a little. Bring it.
Abstaining from cheesecake but eating french fries may not make sense to some of you, but I’m reigning in my emotional reaction to food. That’s what this is. I can control the french fry monster. I can’t control the cheesecake monster. And I’ve just celebrated 30 days of being free of diet soda, which I’ve tried to do for years, so I definitely don’t want to break that record.
Thankfully, although Mother Nature is still visiting, the 7 dwarfs of the apocalypse are gone: Bloaty, Crampy, Bitchy, Painful, Queasy, Achy, and Pissy. I feel normal again. I’m highly motivated to get moving again. And I’m looking forward to losing a few marbles on Wednesday when I get on the scale.