Good morning! I was going to blog about something that happened to me yesterday, but an occurrence this morning that changed my mind. A really good friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was feeling down and it was due to not being skinny. Right away I felt compelled to take action. I instant messaged her and then I replied to her post. I told her that she is perfect the way she is and then I posted the following:
"I think as women we obsess too much on how much we weigh and what size we are. To each their own.....I have battled weight my entire life (because people around me told me I wasn't a certain way...and I listened to them). I finally decided to just live, be happy, and focus on the things that truly matter (my inner health, my family, my happiness). I've never been happier in my entire life. No, I'm not the biggest I've ever been.....but I'm a far cry from the smallest I've ever been also. I would rather be a bit chubby and happy than be thin and miserable any day. I don't believe in weight loss supplements....this is coming from a former Phen-fen, Body By Vi, and practically-every-diet-there-ever-was user. We were created to eat real food and burn it as energy. If we eat too much and don't burn it off....we gain weight. The simple equation is to eat less and move more. Weight Watchers taught me that. Guess I need to eat less and move more myself, but for now.....I am happy with who I am and where I'm at! ***** - you are perfect the way you are.....the rest is just trivial!"
It's true....for the first 35 years of my life my weight was a constant focus in my life. I remember being 7 years old and being told to suck in my stomach (family pictures). Perhaps it went a bit different than that, but that's what stuck in my head. I grew up in a rodeo family. It was well known in my family that you didn't "get fat". After all, how would you fit in your saddle? :) It was a catch 22 though because my mom and grandma were awesome cooks. I remember sneaking cookies out of the freezer in the basement and thinking that it was my little secret. It never dawned on me that the scale would tell the truth no matter what! My gram often said, "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips". Yikes!!
Anyway, fast forward to my teenage years. The first diet I ever went on was the Scarsdale Diet....and it worked. I starved and hated it, but I managed to get into a size 5 that spring for rodeo season (a size 5 in Rockies back then was like a size 1 now, I'm sure). I weighed 118 pounds. I was 13! Wow......hard to believe that I was obsessed with my weight back then (and that I didn't end up with an eating disorder, but I didn't....at least one that needed treatment anyway). A lot of the time I felt chunky. I look back now at pictures of me back then and I think, "Why did you feel that way"? I was far from being "overweight" back then.
My young adult life I battled the bulge even more. Late night food and lots of beer in college certainly didn't help. I was never one for working out and I still am not. I truly have never found that euphoria that people get from it (maybe I haven't tried hard enough). Things began to spiral out of control. I continued to slowly gain weight. I dieted, but I never had a lot of success. Diet after diet...nothing worked. I even tried the whole liquid diet thing when Oprah lost a huge amount of weight back in the 90's. I even contemplated getting my jaws wired shut (no, I'm not kidding). I was always looking for a solution to fix my "problem".
Fast forward to my 30th birthday. It was the worst birthday I can remember. I spent it alone in a hotel room in Grand Junction, Colorado. I was miserable. I disliked my job and I disliked myself even more. I was the heaviest I'd ever been. I should also mention that I had battled female problems most of my life (related to my excess weight). Life was awful back then.
Now I'm going to talk about something that I haven't told many people at all. I heard about gastric bypass. I was very intrigued with it and decided to attend a seminar. I did and something struck a chord inside me. I felt that this was "my answer". It was a major step, but one that I wanted to take. It was quite an emotional roller coaster. I saw the surgeon and I was an approved candidate. My insurance declined me. I had to write a letter and plead my case. I felt very strongly about having the surgery so I fought for it. The next correspondence I got from my insurance company was an approval letter!
I underwent a Roux-N-Y on October 19, 2004. I'm nervous as I type this.....I've told very few people in my life about this major life-changing surgery.....but I've decided that it's important to tell my tale. No, I don't plan to tattoo "Roux-N-Y" on my forehead, but I'm not going to be afraid to talk about it anymore.....or admit that I did it. So weird how I feel like people will be disapproving of it.....guess we all have that inside us about certain things in our life. The biggest thing about having this surgery.....it is my private business. I had a gal come up to me once and demand to know if I had had the surgery. I lied right to her face. Who the heck did she think she was? I knew her, but we were a far cry from being close friends. This was my personal medical business....geez!! From there it happened a couple more times. I wasn't honest with any of the intruders to my personal business. I remember the first time I told a gal about it. It was liberating, but she was a complete stranger. She wouldn't judge me....and she didn't. After that, I have kept my secret to myself....except that I share it with medical personnel on a "need to know" basis.
How does one reach the decision to do something this drastic? Well, for one you have to meet a certain criteria (you can't just have 25 pounds to lose). You have to be very committed to your decision (I had to see a shrink before I got approved by the surgeon). I remember my mom asking me if this was really what I wanted to do. She was talking about the risks and the fact that this is no minor surgery. I told her (and this is scary for me to look back and see where I was mentally) that this was my only option. I told her that if I died doing it I would be okay with it because I couldn't go on the way I was (meaning that I was willing to risk it all for the new me on the other side of the surgery). How horrible that must have been for my mom to hear. It's actually awful for me to rethink this all. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I've kept this to myself for so long. I've come such a long way since 2004. However, the person I am now is because of all the things I've been though. I wouldn't take any of it back as it would change who I am now....and I like who I am now!
Why do I keep it secret and why am I talking about it now? Well, I felt that people would judge me unfairly....kind of silly, I know, but it's a vulnerable side of me to discuss. I guess I kind of feel weak for having it done in a weird sort of way. Why am I talking about it now? After almost 10 years, I think it's okay to let the cat out of the bag. If people choose to judge me....I can't help it. They do already! In part, I think I was scared to let people know about it in case I gained the weight back....another failure. Most of all though....my friend's post stirred something up deep inside me. It was time for me to speak.....to free myself, if you will.
Here I am about a year after the surgery. Think I weighed around 125 here.
What did gastric bypass get me? Well, I lost 87 pounds in 3 months. Scary, huh?! When it was all said and done I weighed 122 lbs and wore a size 0. The positives: I lost a lot of weight fast, my female stuff started working and I was able to have my son. The negatives: I had some complications after the surgery....I got tiny....wimpy.....I could hardly swing a rope, I was tired all the time, I couldn't eat anything, I lost a lot of my hair, I lost a lot of muscle, I regained some of the weight, I need to wear a medical alert bracelet that says I can't be "tubed" because of my new anatomy, etc.
Do I regret having it? Not at all!! Like I said, because of this surgery, I was able to have my son. The greatest gift of all to me! I was told by 3 specialists throughout my life that I would never have children. I fooled them....thanks to the surgery!
I've hit a weird spot in my life though. I've talked to my mom about this. I honestly can't get totally interested in losing weight/getting in shape. My post above on Facebook this morning is truly how I feel about weight loss. You need to take in less than you put out....it's not as easy as it sounds....this I know. I work on the ranch (that's a workout in itself most days) and I ride (not so much in the winter), but as far as my treadmill....it's a dust collector! We eat good food because I love to cook. Do I want to go back to eating carrot sticks all the time? No! Am I happy right now? Yes.....very!! I've decided that I just need to focus on moving more first. Perhaps that will lead to other things such as "diet" food and less of it. The cold weather is hard for me. I like warm, sunny days.....it's good for my soul. The closer we get to spring....the happier I get!
Well, the cat is now out of the bag! How do I feel? Energized, hopeful, like a load has been lifted. I honestly feel that way because I've talked about it....openly....not behind closed doors. I have nothing to be ashamed about....and I'm finally believing that because it's here...for anyone to read and judge me. Weird, huh?!
Here I am now....the smile.....yeah, I have this on my face a lot these days. Life is good! :)