“WHAT WERE THE WORST PARTS OF THE FIRST YEAR FOR YOU?” What a great question someone on the forum asked me last week. Most of us get so caught up in the excitement of finally being successful at weight loss that we forget about the hard parts.
Thinking back over the past year, here were the hard parts for me:
- NUMBER ONE is so huge, it made the rest seem easy by comparison. Without a doubt, the time during the days and weeks after my husband and I started talking (for the first time) about how my weight affected our lives, his attraction to me, and my health, was one of the most painful things I have been through. It wasn’t a conversation we eased into, it was one of those that came at me as a surprise one morning and I felt like I was in the twilight zone for the next few weeks. Nothing else about the ensuing year compares to it. It was hard to hear these things from him, hard to admit them to myself, and when we decided to look into surgery, it was such a new option, I wondered if it would be one more failed attempt. I had been fat since the day I was born so I just thought this was who I was and nothing was going to change it. So jumping into the
unknown (and jump I did!) was scary on top of all the other emotions I was going through. I had lost my strong self-confidence — I wondered if I even wanted to stay married — and I was having a big giant pity-party for myself in a foreign country without the support of friends. It was a tough month for sure. I didn’t really have time to get nervous, though, and once I started reading the success stories on the forum, I then started getting excited and hopeful.
- I had never had any major surgery before, but surprisingly I wasn’t the least bit nervous about it. I felt very well taken care of in the 8 days (yes 8!) I was in the hospital (the difference between the US, Mexico and Europe!). Not eating for the next week didn’t bother me as I had no appetite, so that was OK. It wasn’t until I was released and we walked through the train station that I had my first shock about what I had done. I hadn’t eaten in almost 10 days and all of sudden I was seeing food everywhere, smelling it, looking at billboards with delicious-looking food… then a woman and her son stood in front of me eating a Burger King hamburger and fries… it was really overwhelming and I wasn’t prepared for it. I wondered what I had done to myself. I got myself collected and got on the train but felt pretty drained and started to wonder why I did something this drastic. (Looking back on that now, I was STILL in denial about my weight; thinking I wasn’t really as bad off as most overweight people).
In the first few weeks, maybe even a couple of months, every time I ate something (and if you have been through this you know how little you eat) I would look at my husband after a few little bites, drop my head and tell him I had to go lay down. Eating 100-200 calories would just wipe me out.
- OBTM: we came up with this acronym because my husband could just look at my face and say “OBTM?”, which stands for One Bite Too Many. And in the early days, OBTM meant you would be sick to your stomach, or you would throw up the ‘slimes.’ The slimes happen early on when your stomach rejects what you have eaten, but it somehow has put this slimy stuff around it and it comes up in one gentle action and then you feel better. This happened for 2-3 months and I never really minded it. When my stomach healed and I threw up normally (as in barfing) it was kind of sad because barfing is disgusting.
I couldn’t drink coffee or wine for the first few months and I missed both. At some point, maybe around 3 months, I could start drinking both again. Now I can drink unlimited coffee but even a full glass of wine is too much for me and that’s OK.
- I still can’t (or don’t… haven’t figured out which yet) eat pasta or rice. I miss it sometimes but I’ve gotten used to not having it so it’s OK.
- I don’t enjoy going out to dinner very much anymore unless it’s a family-style meal (such as Asian or something that can be shared easily). I eat so little that I feel it’s wasteful if I can’t bring it home, and my husband won’t order anything until he knows what I’m ordering because he knows he will eat at least half of what I order.
- I feel like I’m lying to people when they ask how I lost weight and I don’t tell them I had surgery. But I’ve gotten over feeling bad about it.
Watching my body parts sag… so sad. Luckily I don’t have a lot of extra skin on my tummy, but my boobs are pathetic, my underarms are like bat-wings, and my upper legs resemble an 80-year-old woman. I know I could lose another 10-15 lbs but I’m too worried about even more sagging. This is the second-worst thing…
- Lastly, the hardest part of the last year for me is wishing I could have done this many, many years ago!
So, looking back at the hardest parts of the last year, the one thing that stands out to me is, NUMBER ONE: coming to the decision to do this! It was the hardest because it was the most emotional. The other 9 items are just steps to go through and were temporary, or in the case of the sagging skin, I can either have some plastic surgery or live with it. We all have flaws and challenges to deal with; some are self-inflicted, some genetic, some environmental. And when we can come to terms with those demons and figure out a plan to correct them or live at peace with them and ourselves, then life gets better.
That’s it from chilly Amsterdam where I’m dressing a lot differently than I did in Hawaii! I’m off to buy a bike today and start living like a true Dutchie… riding a bike in my new boots!
Tot die tijd! (Until then)
Queen of Crop
(Click on photos to enlarge)