Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt!
After 14 months and 182 lbs., I have yet to hit a plateau that wasn't of my own making. I was absolutely perfect for the first 12 months. I never cheated, EVER! I didn't always get all my exercise in for the week, but I always ate only what I was allowed to eat. Well, at my 12 month check-up, my surgeon told me I could expect to continue to lose weight up to 2 yrs. out. I could also start re-introducing "normal" food back into my diet. Well, I started slow, testing the waters for dumping issues. I never had any dumping before because I never ate anything I wasn't supposed to. Well, in the last 4 weeks I've been through the introduction, proposal, engagement, marriage and now sleeping with the "normal" food. No dumping. DAMN! I wish! So now I guess it's all on me to get back to being the "poster child" (my surgeon's words) for gastric bypass. I've had cookies, ice cream, Halloween candy, peanut butter shakes, cherry pie, etc., etc., etc. Well, to my credit, I'm still walking 1.1 miles every other day, so I have only gained 3.5 lbs., but THIS IS WHERE IT STOPS! I've come too far!
You have to wrap your head around this. I had 8 weeks of forced psychiatric counseling prior to surgery. It began in Jan. 2007 and my surgery wasn't until Aug. 31, 2007. I'm still seeing her once a month and will continue until we are both old and gray. She, too, says I'm her poster child. She has a lot of WLS clients. I enjoy that "title", because I feel I've earned it, but I am now doing it a disservice.
I have had to face all my demons. Of course, the number one demon was "I'm not worthy". You have to learn to love yourself. I've been overweight since I was 5 yrs. old, but all I ever heard was, "You have such a pretty face, if you'd just lose weight." Oh, yes, I came from a broken home (uh, they divorced when I was 21, come on), both parents drank (dad still does), married an alcoholic when I was 22, widowed at the age of 25, married another alcoholic (yes, always looking for someone like daddy), then endured 26 years of oppression being told no one else would ever want me. It's no wonder I've attempted suicide 3 times in my life, hence the forced counseling.
Well, so as not to make this a novel -- I really was convinced no one else would ever want me. After all, what did I have going for me? I lost 30 lbs. and I stepped out, WAY OUT. Yep, I found somebody who did want me. Well, that was what I was afraid of! See, I told you so (telling myself)! At 350 lbs. I found someone who wanted me, only problem was it was my husband that I had hoped would "want" me.
My demons have always been centered around not being "good enough". When I made the honor roll, my dad said, "why can't you get straight A's?" "Oh, that pretty face, but..." Did you get passed over getting picked for a child's game, because you were fat and they knew you couldn't run very fast? Or the reverse, always getting picked for "Red Rover, Red Rover" (this will tell you how old I am), because you were big enough to break through the other team holding arms together? I almost flunked freshman gym, because I couldn't pull my own weight up a rope or across ladder rungs. Being a cheerleader or a prom queen was completely out of the realm of possibility. However, I was "pretty enough" that I did attend both my junior and senior prom, as well as my boyfriend's senior prom at another high school. I didn't lack for boyfriends, but mine were usually the smart nerdy guys. I wasn't nerdy, but I was smart, even if my father didn't think so. I graduated high school weighing 165 lbs. and was 35 lbs. overweight.
Well, I separated from my husband and we divorced for 16 months and I dated. I put make-up on everyday. I bought sexy underwear and nicer clothes. I started having my nails done, pedicures and regular hair cuts. I was still 350 lbs., but I found out I could make it on my own. After all that, something was still missing. Hubby had managed 19 years of sobriety, but even after the years of verbal abuse I still loved my husband and I missed him being my best friend. We started dating again. You see, he missed me too and found that he had taken me for granted for the last 26 years. He realized how much I did for him, sacrificed for him and what a good mother and wife I had always been. He saw the error of his ways, so to speak. There were some ground rules, though, from me. I had worth and was to be treated accordingly. He was to treat me physically, romantically, and emotionally the way he should have when he married me the first time. So we remarried in May of 2005 and I was actually happy, and even content, so I promptly gained back 37 lbs. Life was good, but my health began to suck royally. I had gained a sense of self worth, but still couldn't fit in a restaurant booth. My married life was happy for the first time in my life, but I got out of breath walking across a room. At 377 lbs. I could still see the disappointment in my father's eyes every time he saw me.
It wasn't until the new season of Biggest Loser in the fall of 2006 that it hit me. I weighed more than the biggest MAN on the show! I cried, and I knew then that I was truly killing myself and THIS time I WANTED to LIVE! I could no longer hide behind a bad childhood, bad marriage or lack of self-esteem. I deserved to be thin, or at the very least healthy. It was a good thing I made that decision in Sept. of 2006 and sought out a weight loss surgeon in Oct., because by Dec. I was diagnosed as a Type II diabetic along with my other myriad of co-morbidities. I asked hubby for a gym membership for Christmas and I got it. On Jan. 4, 2007 my journey began and the rest is history.
Now, after 182 lbs. and 120 inches gone forever, I feel beautiful, I feel sexy, I feel young and alive! So now I have come full circle in my story. I refuse to be one of the WLS tragedies. That's why, after gaining 3.5 lbs., it's time to get back in the trenches and dig in. I am not judging anyone who has gained weight back after WLS. I do not know your circumstances or your way of life, I just know I'M NOT where I want to be yet. And when I get THERE, if I gain 3.5 lbs. again I will pull up my boot straps and get back in the fight. A plateau will come, I'm sure, but until I've done everything in my power to deter it, I want to hang on to that title, "WLS Poster Child".