Alternative title: ”The the Judgement Begin.”
People ask me all of the time how I lost my weight and I struggle with how to answer them.
So in full disclosure, I had weight loss surgery on February 29, 2012. I had the gastric sleeve. Basically it’s where they removed much of my stomach, leaving behind a tube of a stomach. You can do research on it if you care to learn more, but I chose it because in my mind it was less invasive than the bypass and the lap band, which has proven to be less effective and cause more issues. (You have a chunk of plastic in your body, possibly forever.)
I am happy with my choice. I understand that things can change, but right now I am happy.
The reason I chose to do this is a story:
It took over a year to get pregnant with Trixie, when I did finally get pregnant I was about 220 pounds, I successfully carried her to term and then some, and had a traumatic birth, not related to my weight. She left the hospital eventually and is now a happy and healthy girl. When we decided to get pregnant again I went back to the fertility doctor and that’s when they started talking about weight loss surgery (WLS), and I was angry at them for even suggesting it to me. There was no way I’d consider that! I got pregnant, had a healthy pregnancy and a VBAC, I was 220 pounds when I got pregnant and 250 when I gave birth. (The same for both). Then we decided to get pregnant again, more talk of WLS and more anger from me. Again I was about 220, having easily lost the 30ish pounds each time. I got pregnant and lost that pregnancy. I was devastated. I actually thought to myself that I needed to punish my body, so I had some McDonalds. It made me feel awful.
I had been diagnosed with having had a blighted ovum, which is when there is an embryo that implants but your body rejects it because it detects a problem with the embryo, but since a placenta starts to form you get all of the pregnancy hormones and symptoms. (This is also what happened with Hudson’s twin.) It was awful. From what I was told it’s not uncommon, but not that common either, and it generally doesn’t happen more than once in a lifetime, and there I was on my second one. Also being fat could have contributed, or not. No one knows. Regardless of there ever being a baby, or not, because there was an embryo at some time, I was still pregnant and wanted that baby. I was devastated and so mad at my body.
It took a little while, but I got past wanting to punish myself, but I would like to avoid ever having that happen again. I also thought a lot of my children and how they see me, how others see me. I thought a lot of how I was bullied as a child and even as a young adult because of my weight. I think of how I had 2 men in my life tell me that they couldn’t be with me because of my weight (but they would have sex with me). Mostly I thought of my children. They needed a Mama who was healthy, who could play with them on the floor, who could run and jump with them. So I made an appointment. I got a referral, I went to a lot of classes, I saw a surgeon and I lamented. I talked to doctors, psychologists and friends. I learned a lot about myself, and then I made the choice.
Before I could have my surgery the surgeon told me I had to lose 20 pounds, so I started swimming. I swam a lot, and I lost that 20 pounds, slowly. Then I had the surgery and I kept swimming, I added running and some biking and some stretching classes (barre). I was amazed at how easy running had gotten. It’s funny really, but it’s so much easier when you’re carting around so much less bulk. Now I’ve completed a triathlon. I also changed how I ate, and I eat less. I still eat healthy though, and I don’t eat low fat or fake sugar. I eat full fat foods and I really limit my sugar intake. I don’t really eat bread, but it’s not because I want to be low carb, it’s because I see bread as a filler and I don’t have a lot of stomach space for filler. I stick to high protein, nutrient dense foods. I am an anomaly in the WLS world because I don’t do diet foods, I don’t eat processed foods. I have lots of protein powders, but I don’t use them much unless I”m starting to feel like I”m low on protein. Which honestly isn’t that often. I’m supposed to take vitamins every day, for the rest of my life, but I am awful at remembering them. I do my best, but I think that my good healthy diet helps me out. All of my vitamin levels are good, but I am not advocating not taking your vitamins. I need to work on remembering them. I make an effort every day to make good food choices, and there are bad days and there are better days. I still have to control my environment just like anyone else losing weight.
So the whole point of this post?
I need to convince myself that I have no reason to be ashamed that I made the choice I did. So I’m going to own it.
I had weight loss surgery, I’ve lost close to 90 pounds overall. But the WLS was only a tool. I work my butt off. I work out, I am not letting this weight fall off of my body passively. I guess I could do that, but that’s not going to help me in the long run, and I wouldn’t be a good role model for my children. Many of the people close to me know, but I’ve kept it from some people, worried about judgement. Then yesterday happened. I had a small Halloween party for my son’s playgroup, and one of the moms at it told me she was jealous and asked me how I lost my weight, and I told her that I had WLS, and I watched her face. First there was the eye widening of shock, then the furrowed brow, wrinkled nose and eye shift of disdain. I saw this and followed up with that I run a lot and swim a lot then run some more and she just looked at me, impassive. By then one of my kids needed me and I took the opportunity to walk away with my anger before I said something to her. And I was so mad! She judged me because of a choice I made that was right for me! For my family! I understand why she judged me, there is this view of WLS, that it’s the lazy way out. So let me explain to you how it’s not. It’s serious. It’s a major surgery, and it hurt, a lot. The first weeks sucked. And some days it still sucks. I worked my tail off, I need to stress this, I worked out a lot, when I had the surgery I couldn’t run a mile without stopping, now I run and run and run. I’m healthier. My blood pressure, while never dangerously high, is so much better. My eyesight has gotten better, which can mean my blood sugar, which was never dangerously high, is lower too. I was a healthy fat person, but now I am an even healthier thinner person. I went from a tight 2XL to a M, from a tight size 20 jeans to a 10. I still have a good 20 pounds to lose, and I made the right choice. I don’t want to be the poster girl for WLS, but I need to be comfortable with myself and my choices. I”ll let the judgement roll away and know that it comes from society not from an individual person. (I’ve also cultivated a disdain for Jillian Micheals, but that’s another post.)
I won’t let anyone’s judgement throw me off of my game again. Ever. I don’t know if I will always tell folks that I had the surgery or that I just ran it off. Mostly I can’t wait until it’s a non issue.