Happy New Year?

Life before Weight Loss Surgery

The clock strikes 12:00am…Happy New Year!! Another day of committing “this is the year that I will be healthy: lose weight by exercising more and eating less”. Another year of battling my food addiction. Another year of hope that this will be the year of freedom. Another year of feeling like a complete failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I start off well. For the last 5 or so years, I spend the first half of the year losing 20 pounds then I spend the fall, less than 100 days, gaining 30 pounds. The scales at my yearly appointment indicate that I gain 10 pounds a year. (Let’s do the math….5 x 10 = 50) However, these numbers do not communicate the cycle of my diet and my shame which adds such a heavy burden to my heaviness.

The beginning of the year, the scales speak volumes to me as well as the ill-fitting clothes and every mirror that I pass. They scream at me to take more appetite suppressants, count calories, eat less carbs, stop going to fast food restaurants and please, take care of my body. All of this only leads to more focus on food….what can I eat today? What did I not eat yesterday? How much can I have? I deserve “x, y, z” because I did well at lunch.

I was 10 years old when my mom told me that I needed to lose weight. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was eating a steak and biscuit from the local fast food place and my mom started talking to me about my size. From that moment on, I was obsessed with food, not dieting. She had spent most of her life struggling with weight and there were no boundaries when it came to parental advice. I had known her as a size 20 and a size 0. Unfortunately, she was smaller than me as I was entering puberty
and it felt very bad to know that my mom could wear the clothes which were too tight for me. For the next 20 years, my mom would have a check in about my weight each time that I went home. She would say “Dana, you need to lose weight” as she was serving me the biggest slice of cake. Since my mom passed away 13 years ago, I have gained and lost, gained and lost, ending with an extra 80 pounds to my 5’3 stature. Not sure what my mom would say now….

My first liquid diet was my last month of high school. It taught me that I would be able to wear that cute Ocean Pacific, purple 2 piece if I fast from food for a few weeks and only drink my nutrition. This was the first time that I made a list of all the foods that I wanted to eat. After my beach trip, I checked each item off my list and quickly gained more weight than ever.

One helpful program taught me that I could eat in bulk as long as it was healthy, therefore, I would eat bag after bag of microwavable popcorn and rice cakes without getting any nutrients. Another program, I ate all the meats and cheeses that I wanted and lost many pounds, only to gain them back after my first meal with grains and pasta. I have taken shots and pills, both natural and unnatural, only to have short- term success. I have had gym memberships with free childcare. I have ditched accountability partners and given away unused home exercise equipment. I have a collection of both video tapes and DVDs of skinny people showing me the best exercises to help me get into shape. I have had a breast reduction to get “my girls” out of the way to be able to run, only to find out that I hate running. Short-term fixes with disappointing results. And now, it is January 1….

For the last two years, I have been inquisitive about weight loss surgeries. I have researched successful testimonies only to decide to try it once again on my own strength. I have picked up the phone to make the appointment, only to hang up the phone after dialing a few numbers. I have healthy friends who tell me just to eat right. I have friends who have healthy relationship with food and their bodies and I have other friends who struggle as I do. This is the year that I will pursue surgery and I cannot listen to well- meaning friends because I am the one who carries this weight, both physically and mentally. This is something that my husband and I have prayed over and feel like we have the green light. It is GO time….

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