A couple of weeks ago I asked people on my Facebook page – If they were reading my blog could they please comment on what kind of content they would like to see. If they had any ideas on topics or specific things they wanted to see – I was hoping they would share. I was really surprised with the amount of input that I got back. One suggestion really hit me right in the gut. An old friend of mine from college asked me the following question….
Just reading this question made my stomach (what’s left of it!) hurt. FEARS – oh my word, I have SO many!! I had a lot of fears going into the surgery and I still have many now that I have lost the weight. Reading this question also made me fairly emotional because even though I have been very happy about where I am with my weight loss and this journey – I realized that I am very concerned about what comes next.
I guess my biggest fear going into surgery was – What if this doesn’t work for me? I had spent so many years trying to make something work. So many failed diets and fads. So many times that I had a little bit of success and then fell off the wagon. What if I took this drastic step – literally altering my stomach – and I still gained weight? This happens often. I know several people who have lost a ton of weight and than regained most, all, and then some back. What I am learning from the process is that everyone succeeds at their own rate with this surgery. The number one thing that you have to remember is that YOU are doing this for YOU and this surgery is ONLY a tool. You need to change MANY aspects of your life in order to succeed. As I am standing on the brink of maintenance and I am really fearing this failure. The idea that I need to stop losing weight is so so far out for me to really grasp. I need to stop and realize that I AM MY OWN MOTIVATION. I literally have the tool but I need to put in the work. Now, does this mean that I will have days when I do not do so great? ABSOLUTELY YES, I would not be human if I was perfect all the time – also, that would be very boring. It’s OK to have those days. What is NOT Ok is falling into those bad habits – snacking all day, eating too much sugar, drinking too many calories, not exercising, etc. My fear of failing at this last attempt to lose weight has kept me up at night. It has, however, also motivated me to keep on moving along.
Another fear that I have been staring in the face lately is food. I mentioned in my first post about food that I’ve had a long tumultuous relationship with food. That is absolutely the truth. It is also true that that relationship is changing. I am learning how to eat to live instead of living to eat. My focus is moving from centering my activities around eating or going to certain places to enjoy certain treats. I am centering my activities around different kinds of treats – hikes, bracelets, a spa day, and even quite time – which is MUCH appreciated some days. Learning to eat to live has also allowed me to become a more adventurous cook. I am looking at more recipes and new cooking techniques and styles. I enjoy hunting for new food finds that fit into my life style and enjoy getting creative to make foods that I used to indulge in fit in as well. For example – frozen yogurt is my jam. I LOVE IT. I could eat it it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I still treat myself to it once in a while – but now I make sure to have only a 4 ounce portion with a couple of small pieces of broken up waffle cone. Honestly, other toppings are too sweet for me now and the 4 ounce portion is just the right size. When I’m craving it and not around a FROYO shop we cut up bananas and freeze them and then place them in my food processor. Within seconds you get the most delish fake frozen yogurt you’ve ever had!! For an extra treat, add some honey or peanut butter – or both – if you are feeling sassy!! Food is not the center of my life anymore but I am still have a healthy fear of it.
One of my biggest worries prior to surgery was just worrying about the surgery itself. Was it safe? Would I die on the table in some dramatic fashion? This surgery is optional although I was recommended for it because of my high BMI and other health issues….why take the risk? I had lost about 20 pounds before the surgery, couldn’t I just keep on going? Worrying about the surgery was just my nature as I tend to be a worry wort. When you start the process they show you all the statistics out there about the safety of the surgery. They say it is as safe as having your gallbladder or appendix removed. Considering I have had both of those surgeries done and survived, I was feeling better about this one. On the morning of my surgery, I was very, very nervous. Lucky for me, my hubby was with me the whole time and repeatedly told me that I was going to be fine, and that I was in good hands. He was right!! The surgery was over in less than two hours and I was well on my way to a healthier life. By bed time that night, I had my Fitbit on and was walking laps around the surgical wing. My nurses actually had to tell me to relax, sit down, and take a break!!
I also am concerned about loose skin and other bariatric surgery side effects like hair loss and vitamin deficiency. I remember talking to my hubby about losing all this weight but then being covered in all this gross loose skin. I thought that it would almost defeat the purpose of losing the weight. Your skin is only capable of bouncing back so much….I have been obese for a long time. I did not have high hopes. At my 6 month check up my surgeon – who was very impressed with my progress – told me I had about 10 pounds of loose skin. That number is pretty good considering the amount of weight I have lost and how long I had been carrying it around. Yes, my arms are flappy. My legs look pretty great – mostly from the running. My stomach – well…I’ve had two babies – so the fact that it has any shape at all – is good for me. My surgeon also told me I’m a great candidate for plastic surgery. That is not a road I am looking down right now. Really, I am satisfied with how I look in my clothes and I really don’t see myself going through another surgery for just the sake of removing skin. In someways, I feel like this loose skin is my medal of honor or badge of courage. It is a constant reminder of how far I have come and for that, I am grateful!! I have lost some hair – I don’t have a bald spot and it doesn’t look like I will. However, I feel like it has thinned out noticeably. I still continue to take my daily vitamins – which consists of a multi, B12, and vitamin D. I am also going to ask if I can take biotin – which is supposed to help with making your hair stronger.
Something that I am concerned about is not being able to see what everyone else sees. I am not talking about having body dysmorphia. I am talking about having a hard time adjusting to being a thinner person. For example, when I go shopping (which I have not ONCE this month – goals -) I still instantly grab the XXL and the size 20+ pants. I also get annoyed and upset when those sizes are not available. I literally have to stop and tell myself that I do not need those sizes anymore. I guess it is all apart of the process of realizing that this transformation is more than just physical…there are many, many components. When I look in the mirror I do feel good about myself, but I also fear that it is temporary – which comes back to the fear of failing….again, a process that I am working on EVERYDAY!!
Going forward to work on conquering some of these fears I have found a great quote that a good friend of mine posted just this morning. I swear that these things appear and happen for a reason.
I have a plan to focus my energy on facing my fears and taking care of them rather than letting those fears get in my way. I will not sabotage myself, like I have in the past – it’s just not worth it! I will come to terms with understanding that everyday does not have to be perfect and that even if I don’t run 100 miles a week…as long as I’m moving and eating well – I am still winning!! Mostly, coming to terms with the fact that I am being successful is nothing to be fearful of. It is OK to celebrate my success and that is what I will continue to do….yeeeeehaaaaa for me!!! Seeing how far I have come helps me to conquer those fears and continue on the right path. Here I am in October, 2015 on the left at a UMaine football game #goblkbears. On the right, I’m in my classroom October 2016. The difference is definitely there and I can see it – I just need to accept it and keep on keeping on!!
As always…I hope you have found something that you need and pass it on to someone in need!! Special thanks to my friend Kristen for her great question. If you have any questions – please don’t hesitate to email or comment!!!