One Week Check Up, and Emotional Check In

Hey, guys! How has your week been so far? Looking forward to the weekend? I am because my sister is coming home from DC, but I am dreading the organizing that will have to take place to get everything ready for the visit. I love the holidays. I love spending time with family and friends, I love to buy and give gifts for people, and the general feeling of joy that people have for each other that they may not have throughout the year normally.

Most years I also looked forward to the food. Christmas Eve breakfast, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast/brunch, and Christmas night dinner. Not to mention the treats that Santa brought to our stockings. That does not even count the candy that would be consumed throughout the holiday season. This year, however, is different. I will be on a soft food diet, thank goodness, I will be able to eat some real food. That will be so nice. The idea of humus or refried beans with cheese brings me such excitement that you would think it was a delicacy. I am very fortunate that I have not really had any “head hunger.” I have not really had any hunger period, so the idea of eating that sandwich or cookie does not make me feel like I am missing out. Actually, I find it hard to get in my three protein shakes or soups each day because I just do not feel like eating or drinking. It is the same way with water. I just do not feel thirsty either. Plus, as I may have said before, I worry about the “sip, sip, sip,” and not my “gulp, gulp, gulp.” I have become paranoid about what goes in and how.

This Tuesday I went to the doctor for my one week visit after sleeve surgery. I was a little nervous because of course I wanted to know how much weight I had lost, but also because they were going to remove my staples. I have a high tolerance for pain, but things like that freak me out, I will tense up, and it hurts even more. I went in and had a small wait, enough that I got more and more nervous. When I was called back they went and weighed me. I had lost over 14 lbs. in one week! 14! I was so excited. I know that at some point I will hit a stall while my body catches up according to what I have read, or might gain/lose/gain/lose the same couple of pounds on a small plateau, and eventually slow down the weight loss as I get towards my goal. But for right now, I have so much weight to lose that I am getting excited over these large losses.

After the weigh in they took my blood pressure, which was good, it had been high before. I think it was all the stress, running around, and extra weight I was moving. While I have only lost 18 lbs. since the day I started my liquid diet, I can already feel better in my body. My feet are normal size and fit back into my beloved Penny Loafers! My back does not hurt as bad, I feel like I have more energy, I do not feel like I get as easily winded, etc. I know this will just continue to trend in the right direction. Next came the big guns. This woman with the sweetest, yet firm and a little gruff voice came in all cheerful and said she was going to remove my staples. I asked if it would hurt, and she reassured me that she had been doing this for thousands of surgeries, it only felt uncomfortable if it was bent or twisted a little, and that she would be extra careful. After telling me that it would not really hurt, I was ready. She started out with the incision that was tiny and only had one staple. She removed it, and if I did not know that she was doing anything, I never could have known. She was AMAZING!!! She went on to remove about 8-10 staples, and I never felt any pain at all. She then placed a little glue on the incisions, and some butterfly bandages over them that she said I leave on, and even shower with, and they would eventually curl up and come off on their own. Then… I was done! I was totally worked up over nothing! I also was given a card that let restaurants know that I needed to eat off the children’s menu. I had been sent a laminated one in the mail from the Weight Loss Coordinator, but this was good because I have a tendency to lose things. Okay, that was being nice, I always lose things. I am going to laminate that one too, and keep them with my ID. I would think that this would not be a problem at a lot of places, but I was once at a restaurant where they gave my friend a hassle about eating off the children’s menu and she brought out that card, and it solved everything.

I have not really dated seriously in a few years. Not just my weight, but for other reasons. Although, my weight plays a huge part into it. My sister says that if I date a guy who is only interested in me because of my looks and weight, then he is shallow and not worth my time. But here is the deal. I am not comfortable in my own body. I do not want to put myself out there. I feel like if I cannot love myself right now, how can I feel comfortable for someone else to love me too? I know that sounds crazy, but if I am being totally honest, and I am… I am an open book, that is how I feel. Plus, I am attracted to a very specific type of guy. I feel to get someone who is that person, I want to be like the old smaller me. You may wonder where in the world this came from. This ties back to the dining card. When I go out on a date, I plan on excusing myself after being seated, speaking to the hostess, our waiter, or manager, explaining the situation, getting it taken care of beforehand so when I order, there is no discussion. I feel this is good planning on my part, and like me, OCD and organized. My car may be a disaster, my dad calls it the motor-sicle, because only one person can ride in it. My desk may be a “mess,” but it is organized clutter. I know where everything is. Everything has its place. I may have three Yeti cups on my desk right now, but they are all in specific places, at certain angles, and hold various beverages. See, there is a method to my madness. That may sound over the top, and I might even call ahead if I know where I am going, but I feel it is better than trying to explain this in front of a new date, stranger, or someone who I do not want to try and explain my situation to right away. See… I have thought all this out. I always say my mind is like a ping pong match. I am constantly thinking and bouncing around ideas and thoughts. It is at night when I have to go to bed that I have trouble.

Also, I have something a little more personal to share. While driving home from the doctor’s office one of my favorite songs came on. The first few times I heard it I cried. A lot. Probably not a shocker, but I cry a lot over anything. When I am mad, hurt, happy, frustrated, excited, at weddings, funerals, books, movies, at work when I read something sweet over email, I have cried over celebrity deaths like Andy Griffith while sitting at my desk at work. But this song hit a particular heart string with me. It is Try by Colbie Caillat. This is a song that has received critical acclaim, though you do not hear it as much as songs about degrading women. It is empowering. Let me quote the parts that really hit home:

“Put your make-up on Get your nails done Curl your hair Run the extra mile Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?”

“You don’t have to try so hard You don’t have to, give it all away You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up You don’t have to change a single thing”

“Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards You don’t have to choose, buy it all, so they like you Do they like you?

Wait a second, Why, should you care, what they think of you When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you? Do you like you?”

“Take your make-up off Let your hair down Take a breath Look into the mirror, at yourself Don’t you like you? ‘Cause I like you” ~ Colbie Caillat ~ Try, June 9, 2014 (Selected portions)

So many times when we are overweight we can let it define who we are. It can also depend on when you began to gain weight and become overweight. It can take someone confident and outgoing and make them insecure, depressed, and turn inward. It can make someone jaded and bitter. It can soften someone’s heart and make them a better, more caring, person who is more forgiving and sympathetic. It can make you “funnier,” make you have a “fat heart,” and let out your pain by making a joke before being a joke in your own eyes.

For me this song says a lot. I have always been one who was constantly looking in the mirror, wearing makeup everywhere I went, checking to see how I looked. I was told I was vain by an authority figure who hurt me terribly, while he did not know the entire reason I did that was I was looking for flaws. I was afraid if I did not look perfect (or as good as I could get), I was not worthy of love, I was disgusting, people were staring at me and laughing. I never did it because of the fact I thought I was pretty and wanted to look good. This section says a lot:  “Put your make-up on/Get your nails done/Curl your hair/Run the extra mile/Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?” I want to be slim because in my warped mind I think people will like me better, respond to me better, just all around care more for me. I know this is a crazy train of thought because I am super friendly and cheerful, and people usually gravitate towards me. Funny how you beat yourself up when you have no reason to at all. Then this:  “Take your make-up off/Let your hair down/Take a breath/Look into the mirror, at yourself/Don’t you like you?/’Cause I like you.” No. When I see myself without my makeup, my hair a naturally curly mess, look in the mirror and I am devastated by what I see. There are so many people out there who care for me and love me, and I do not love myself. When they read this, they will be shocked and hurt. They will offer words of encouragement, and one cousin will give me tough love, but I cannot listen to them. I hear it, I just do not feel it.

But let’s also face the truth. I have been in therapy for over 8, almost 9 years. I have not been overweight that entire time. During my sessions over the past 5 years I discussed my weight often. I also talked about depression as well. She pointed out, and we both talked about the fact that, “What if you do lose the weight you want to lose?” Just because I lose the weight, my problems are not going to magically disappear. I am not going to go from a clinically depressed person to someone who is sincerely deep down “On” all the time. My problems will not melt away with the pounds. There could even still be a new depression from the fact I will have loose skin. I may not have that tight tummy I have longed for all my life. My arms may not be made of steel. My rear end will be just as flat as it has always been and not have the nice curve that every girl wants. I have to be realistic. We want to lose weight to be healthy, so we can find answers to fertility problems, feel like our lives can finally begin, be more active in our kids or family’s lives, to look good in that little black dress, or for me… in a sexy trench coat and pair of strappy heels and nothing else. We all have our reasons. Mine may be more superficial, along with medical. But we all need to come to an understanding of why we are going through this process, this journey, and think of our futures. Where do you see yourself 18 months after the surgery when you lose most of the weight, if not all, that you have set as a goal? Will you be working on you on the inside too? Will you be preparing yourself for loose skin? Hair that might thin? New worries like making a forever life change in eating to keep up the weight loss. Will you gain confidence now that you are smaller? Will you be willing to put yourself out there more? I hope and pray for each one of you that you will get all the positives of losing the weight, and let the tougher times not control you. Do not let loose skin define you. Let it be a reminder of where you came from. Know that just because you get into those smaller jeans, it may not all be kicks and giggles, and do not let it control your emotions or feelings of self-worth. You are beautiful. You are a child of The King. You are amazing, and special, and smart, talented, and loved. You may feel, who loves me? There is a higher power of love for you, but on a human level, I love you. I may not know you by name, but I do. Every time someone likes my post, or comments, I think of you and you are on my mind.

I am a religious person, but I am not going to be preachy. But let me leave you with these words that, yes, bring me to tears and have gotten me through very tough times:

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well With my soul It is well, it is well with my soul.” ~ Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. First published in Gospel Songs No. 2 by Sankey and Bliss (1876)

Know this this worry, stress, hurt will pass. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and let your heart say, “It is well with my soul.”

~ A

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