I never gave much thought to something that was said at one of the first support group meetings I went to when I started the process of getting approved for weight loss surgery. One of the support group leaders mentioned that sometimes relationships – friends and marriages – do not last after surgery. I did not entertain it for even a moment. Once some of the people in the group started talking about it – I did begin to understand it a little bit. I have also seen some chatter about it on some Facebook bariatric support groups that I belong to. I have been so so lucky to not experience any of this…thank goodness. A lot of the people on Facebook talk about how they lose hundreds of pounds and their partners are no long attracted to them or they do not want to change their lifestyles to help or support their partners. Again…not something that I am experiencing – but I feel terrible for the people that do. After reading a couple of these accounts this past week…I thought it would be a good idea to write a little bit about relationships.
I have always been lucky to surround myself with incredible people. People that have always loved and supported me – regardless of how heavy I was or if what I did was terrible. The biggest help I’ve had along this journey has been my hubby, my family, and my closest friends. It is so incredibly important to have this close knit circle to lean on and help you when you can not see all the good and change. I am finding that I am not seeing a lot of my progress – my brain is still catching up with my body – but others can see it. My close friends and family have been very helpful in this respect. I thought I would take a moment to talk about these relationships specifically.
This is us right before, during, and after our wedding in 2009!!!
My husband, Coach, has been an amazing cheerleader since day one of – well, our relationship – but since the beginning of this weight loss journey. As you have probably gathered, I’ve always been a big girl. When we first meet – I was doing Weight Watchers and I was winning!! I had lost about 50 pounds and was feeling pretty good about myself. A little while into our relationship I just started reverting back to some old bad habits. We went out to eat a lot and frankly – I was going out on dates and not going to gym!! Sometimes when you fall in love – that’s what happens and that’s OK. I was comfortable and having a great time with the guy that I fell head over heels for. He did not mind that I gained some weight back. Fast forward to 9 years later and we’ve been married for 7 years and have two crazy kids. He has loved and supported me at all my highs – once over 300 pounds when I was prego with my first baby – and currently so close to my goal weight. He has always tried to get me to see what he sees – and sometimes that’s an impossible task. He has always told me that he loves me no matter my size or shape. He just wants me to be happy and he will be happy if I am.
From the first time I brought up weight loss surgery he was supportive. He came with me to my first appointments and support groups. He read through the literature with me and helped me get all my ducks in a row for the insurance company. On the night before the surgery, we went up to the Bangor area. We had a “date night” scouting a high school basketball game….obviously. He was right by my side before I was taken in for pre-op and was there – in recovery – when I woke up. When I finally made it back to a room and was antsy to get out of bed he walked many many laps around the hospital floor with me. In the past 10 months he has given me time to go for my runs and get to the gym. He also puts up with my crazy cooking experiments. He is a fan of most of the stuff I make – as long as I throw in a carrot cake or an apple pie every once in awhile. He went on walks with me almost every day after school last spring. This was a major help in adding exercise to my daily routine. He continually supports my running, always tells me that I can make any distance I want. He also lets me spend our money on clothes!!
Most importantly, he tells me he’s proud of me and that I’m doing a great job. It’s really great to hear that from the person you love most. He motivates me to keep on going. I do not have any fears that my weight loss will really change our relationship. If anything, I think it has changed for the better.
Here we are most recently….at the beginning of October and right at the end of the month!!
Both my mother and father and my step-parents have been extremely supportive throughout this journey.
My father and step-mother were able to come up and watch the kiddos while I was in the hospital and recovering. This was a tremendous help. They live in Florida – so it’s quite a haul from them to come all the way up here to the end of the world. They both helped to cook an incredible Christmas Eve Seven-ish Fish meal…of which I had no bites!! They entertained the kids while my hubby and I were busy wrapping last minute Christmas gifts. Over the course of the year – they kept up with my journey wis text, phone, and social media. When they came back up for a visit this summer – my dad was in tears because he was so pleased and proud of my progress. They both call and text me and tell me that they are proud of me and that I’m doing a good job. I text my dad after my runs to tell him how far I got and he is just amazed…it makes me feel good to impress him!! It’s really helpful and good motivation to hear things like that from the people you love and respect most.
My mother and step-dad have been equally supportive. My mother always reminds me that I’ve always been beautiful and most importantly – worth it. She has seen that in me for a long time. Although I am just coming to realize it – she always has encouraging words for me that mean a lot. My Mom was very interested in hearing all about the process of getting the OK for surgery. She called or messaged me after all my doctor’s appointments and we had good chats about the support groups and the hoops you have to jump through. She sends me super supportive messages and pushes me to keep going and doing my best. She also sends me amazing dresses and treasures that she finds. She and I have a lot of the same taste in clothes – so its super fun when I get home and find a box of goodies from her!! She also sends me products that she thinks will be helpful – like these. I know that she is proud of my accomplishments – but the truth is, I couldn’t do it without her constant support!!
My Aunt Colleen and Grammy are also super supportive of this journey. My Aunt has sent me home with bags and bags of amazing vintage threads that I adore. More importantly than that….she has listened to me talk about what this journey is like and offered help and suggestions when I’ve need it. Sometimes – just having people listen to you talk about what is working or not working for you is the most helpful thing. I really appreciate that I have people like that around me.
I have mentioned before how supportive my friends are. My long time friends have always loved and supported me. They have recognized my worth – in some cases – long before I ever did. I’m forever indebted to them for their support and confidence boosters. They are all super strong confident women and they are trail blazers in their own right. They help me so much with the things that I just don’t get – like clothes and putting together an outfit, shoes etc. But it’s even more than that. They would help me with that stuff at any weight. When I told them that I was pursuing weight loss surgery – they were on board. They asked lots of questions and were interested in how my life would have to change after. I have leaned on them and depended on their positive outlooks and taken their advice and put it to use. I know that I am a better person for having them on my side.
My work friends have been amazing throughout this process. In the beginning I really did not tell anyone that I was looking into the surgery. Once I opened up to them about it – I was so happy to realize that they were not judgmental about it. They actually have rallied around me. They are my sounding board and cheerleaders. They have been so helpful along the way. One of them even edits this crazy little blog for me – Nikki – I am forever grateful for her expertise and feedback. I spend most of my days with my work friends…I find that we are all helping each other!!
I have been so lucky over the last 10 months to be surrounded by people that have been motivating and helpful along my way. I would be foolish to think that everyone is as excited about my journey as I am – and that’s totally fine. I know that I am needy right now. I know that I need to be reassured of how things look and what works and what doesn’t. The reason being, I feel, is because I am just beginning to getting to know my current self. For a long time, I posted pictures of my kids and pets on social media – now – I feel more comfortable and confident posting pictures of myself. Maybe people are not used to that – that’s fine, they do not have to be. That I feel like it’s OK to put myself out there is a big step for me. I don’t need everyone to be on board. I don’t need every single person’s support. I have the few people around me – whose opinions matter to me most and that’s all that I really care about. I am grateful for these people and try not to let the others bother me. Frankly, I feel that people’s negative reactions and lack of support or understanding actually speaks more about them and where they are in their lives than what is going on with me. If I’ve learned anything it’s that you just gotta keep your head up and keep moving and that’s my goal…keep on moving.
I hope that you have found something that you can use here or pass on to someone that can! Thanks for reading! As always…if you have any questions or comments – please do not hesitate to contact me!!