Where Have I Been?

My last entry ended on a note of hope and I wish this one could pick right back up on it. Sadly, however, this will be one of my more serious entries.

Where to begin…

One of the hardest parts of change is accepting it, and sadly, that’s been my biggest challenge. Since my last entry, I’ve gone through a divorce, acclimating to a new company and trying to come to terms with my severe anxiety problem. It seemed like I was okay for awhile, stellar even, and then the symptoms ratcheted up. Things haven’t been okay for awhile, and there are times when it feels like they’ll never be okay.

But, the good news is that I have sought out help to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan. This goes far beyond the anxiety that I’ve had my whole life and it’s now really affecting my ability to live happily. Everyday feels like emotional overload coupled with an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes, I’ll have a good run of a week without a meltdown, but those seem rarer and rarer these days.

The New(ish) Job

Somehow, in the middle of this emotional hell, I’ve really immersed myself in my career and in nine short months, I have managed a promotion. I don’t like to talk much about work here, but I will say that I work in Information Technology and I will be, as of next week, a Technical Project Manager. I have worked very hard and paid my dues to get this far by my age and so this helped me put some things in perspective. I’m excited and scared as hell for this next chapter of my career.

On the topic of my job, I was at the salon last week discussing said promotion with the stylist while she worked on my hair. She was curious as to what line of work I am in, and I told her. She told me I sound like a very strong woman to manage what I have, and it made me think…”yeah…you’re right!” When I first started in IT, I found it incredibly difficult for a few reasons. First, I am a female and IT is still quite heavily male-dominated, and two, I was very, very fat. It may not be everybody’s experience, but it certainly was mine, that there is a huge bias in the workplace toward fat people, and especially fat women. I’ve had to work very hard to be heard and build cred because of that challenge.

Looking at it now from the “other side” as it were, sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow. Life is so easy now – I don’t have to fight tooth and nail for things, and people take me seriously. I’m sure some of it was a change in my confidence level, but, I have no doubt that my appearance was a huge game changer. And for me personally, I no longer walk into a meeting worried the group is going to say…”BUT SHE IS SO FAT!!!” – I walk in with confidence and I’m able to focus on what I know, not how fat I am.

Another downside to this, however, is that I am privy to conversations that sometimes really get to me. I work with an all-male team and I hear what they say about fat people, especially women. My mind instantly says..”BUT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT ME!!!” when the reality is, they aren’t. They don’t know that I used to be the fat girl and they don’t see me that way. And it isn’t like I am naive to think people didn’t make comments about my size, but, I will say, it damn well hurts to actually hear those comments.

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I’m Back!

It’s been some time – over 4 months now – since I posted here. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, however, because I had many reasons for my lack of writing. However, last night at the New Beginnings Ball for RMAP, I was approached by another patient who expressed how much he enjoyed reading this. How could I NOT want to write after that?!

Get your drink now because this post is a long one!

The Horrible Job

In October, I started at a job that I thought would be a good change for me which also happened to come with the highest wage I’ve ever earned. It was a change, alright, but it was also a disaster! I was so stifled – there really was no way to sharpen my skills. It was more like being thrown onto a busy freeway with the instructions to not die. I was very unhappy nearly from the get-go, but I managed to stick it out for a bit. Decisions made on how to divvy up the work made me lose all confidence in the group management. There was really no reasoning behind it other than to get the work done. No mindfulness of a particular individual’s skill set or domain knowledge. Not having confidence in your management team is a road that leads to nowhere and I wasn’t willing to put myself through that.

What ultimately led to my resignation was when I could no longer sleep, I was having severe panic attacks and I couldn’t eat. No job is worth that pain.  I’ve come way too far in the last few years to undo progress and move backward. I did attempt to stay within the company in another capacity, but ultimately, it didn’t work, and I don’t think I could have anyway. I’ve worked in the corporate world long enough to know that there would be a considerable amount of tension had I stayed. But the most interesting part?

I resigned without another job to go for the first time in my progressional career. I’d applied for a few, and began to massage my professional network. But, frankly, the time off was looking appealing. Along with the job from hell, I was suffering debilitating anxiety. Which leads me to the second item on the list.

 

A Prisoner in my Anxious Mind

Anxiety has been a problem my entire life. It’s more than just the…oh no, I have to speak in front of a group. It’s absolutely debilitating at times, which is the point where I found myself in January. I am hesitant to take any sort of drug long-term because I would rather treat the root cause than the symptom. I’d been in a downward spiral of crippling anxiety since June of 2013, but I was managing it, barely. I was also denying it was a problem – it was just work stress, school stress, etc. Except that it wasn’t.

By January of this year, I could barely function. I was a prisoner in my own mind, held hostage by anxiety. Every task, no matter how small, became an unmovable mountain. Going to the job I hated was damn near impossible. My foundation was cracked and crumbling and I could feel it. When the panic attacks became an everyday thing, I knew I had to get help. By the time I saw my GP, I had quit my job and felt a mountain of relief. But I knew that wasn’t enough and the relief would be temporary. She expressed how proud she was that I was able to identify the major source of the attacks but she was concerned how I would function with everyday tasks and ultimately finding employment again. She suggested a drug I’ve taken for this issue before – citalopram (aka Celexa).

Since this was not my first rodeo with anti-depressants/anxiety drugs, I gave her my history. One of my hangups about taking these drugs is that I felt catatonic, which is just not me. I needed to get ahold of the anxiety without sacrificing my emotions. She gave me the lowest dose possible of an SSRI and I began immediately. Within the first week, I felt a sense of calm I had not felt in nearly a year. There was an adjustment period, but I have to say it was so worth it. I’ve been taking medication now for almost 3 months and I feel like myself again, I can function again and most of all – I’m no longer being held hostage!

Outwardly, I displayed no signs of having a nervous breakdown. I appeared confident and in control…nobody knew the anguish I was going through inside. That is a coping mechanism I developed while I was slowly slipping into anxiety hell. I also have many insecurities, and I found appearing confident helped me appear strong when I needed to. I work in Information Technology, which an be a challenge for a female, and so it works well to always appear you know what you’re talking about, even if you have no clue.

 

The New Job

About a month after I resigned from the job from hell, I got a call to interview with a company I was interested in. I’d applied for a position before I left and I knew some former coworkers, so I gave it a shot. The interview was set up and this is how I knew the drugs worked – I didn’t spend the next week pacing and chewing my nails to bloody stumps! Major progress.

I put on a smart suit – a size 16!! – and went to my interview. It felt like a chat among friends and we started plotting strategy. I have the perfect skill set for it, so I was excited. It was offered to me in the interview, but I got the formal offer a few days later. No pay cut, great benefits and close to home. I truly got lucky! The office even keeps our break room stocked with things like lettuce, vegetables, fruits, deli meats and cheeses (along with a whole lot of crap I will NOT touch!) which is lovely – I don’t have to remember to pack breakfast or lunch and no cost to me! Score!

There was a small bump in the road that I’d never encountered, which happened, of all days, on my birthday last month. I won’t go into details, but, the situation basically consisted of a woman being jealous and causing problems with my manager for me. It’s resolved now, but, I was in disbelief…jealous? of me? But I’m so fat! Yep – those pesky body image issues are still hanging around like that one guy who doesn’t realize the party is over.

 

Moving Right Along

So, things have settled down and I’m feeling like I can tackle the world again. There’s a lot going on in my life, and I’m handling it well. Inches coming off slowly, weight…so far no regain and even losing some pounds still. Stress really does keep a person fat – and so now that mine is being dealt with swiftly and mindfully, I’m hoping to attain my goal weight in 2014.

 

18 Months

Wasn’t it just a year?

Six months has passed since I hit the coveted one year mark since RNY gastric bypass surgery. 18 months ago, I was waking up in my new life, unsure of the future but excited anyway. I remember wondering how life would be without all the extra weight. It’s funny how I grew up, fighting my weight, and thinking “if only I was skinny…everything would be perfect!” But the reality is, it isn’t perfect, even without the weight. It is certainly easier, but the issues that were there before are still there when the weight is gone, and in my case, all news ones have cropped up. Now I am dealing with excess skin due to weight loss, and while I would take it any day over the extra weight – it’s tough to look in the mirror.

And that’s the lesson here, folks. Weight loss is great, but there’s two realities to it. The first is that you’ll watch the pounds melt away and you’ll feel so much better physically. Then there’s the mental reality – who is this skinny person in the mirror? The excess skin botches the euphoric high you get from being “skinny” for the first time in your life, because now you’ve got skin hanging off your body. It isn’t the end of the world, but it’s hard to look at, and really messes with self-confidence. As for me, until I reach the goal I’ve set for myself and can consider cosmetic surgery, I just use shapewear.

At 18 months out, this lifestyle is just my new reality. Small portions, high-protein foods and minimal sugars…it’s just reality. And it’s one I never thought I could have. Don’t get me wrong – I love food, and I haven’t let surgery change that. I just adapted, and learned a lot about food so that I could make things I love, just tweaked for my new reality. The only constant in life is change, and so it’s best to just roll with it. Can’t drink milk anymore? Coconut milk! Can’t tolerate sugar in white flour? Almond meal! The possibilities are endless. It’s just a matter of learning all you can about the chemistry of food. Food is for survival – but you should ENJOY your survival….just do it sensibly. Moderation is the key to anything, and surgery was the tool to help my mind realize that.

Now, onto the stats….

Weight Loss – 190 pounds/86 kilograms

Starting Pant Size – 34W

Current Pant Size – 18

Starting Shirt Size – 5X

Current Shit Size – Between L and XL

Starting Shoe Size – 11

Current  Shoes Size – 9 1/2 to 10

Now, for an updated picture…

18 month comparison

Recipe Post: Spaghetti Squash

I recently discovered spaghetti squash – where has it been all my life?!

Since having RNY, I have not eaten wheat pastas for two reasons: high in carbohydrates and calories, but also because it doesn’t sit well in my new stomach. It feels like a giant ball of pain most of the time, and it really has no flavor, so why bother? But how to have the Italian food experience sans pasta, you ask?

Spaghetti squash!

It is an amazing little thing – not much to look at it, but tasty and a good way to get healthy food into you. This is less of a recipe post and more of a how-to post.

Roasted and shredded spaghetti squash

 

Equipment and Ingredients

Equipment Needed:

  • Counter space
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper or tin foil
  • Sharp knife
  • Large spoon
  • Waste bowl
  • Pot holders
  • Fork

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (between 2 and 4 pounds)
  • Olive oil (optional)

Preparing the Squash:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover the baking sheet with parchment or tin foil to prevent sticking – and to avoid a mess.

To prepare the squash, first, use a sharp knife to cut off the top portion containing the stem. Then, cut the squash into halves. I personally found it easier to insert the knife straight down in to get a good cut going, and then split the squash in two with the rest of the knife. It can be tricky the first time doing it, however.

Quick note…

The juices of a spaghetti squash will leave a film on your hands, so make sure to wash them several times while handling the squash.

Squash ready to be scooped

Once the squash has been split, use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and some flesh.

Caution! Don’t take too much of the flesh or you will end up with less “spaghetti.” If you’re lucky, you can scoop out enough seeds into your waste bowl to roast for a snack later. Though, my experience is that these squash do not have nearly the same quantity of seeds as a pumpkin.

Scooped out spaghetti squash

Place the squash halves on the baking sheet and optionally drizzle some olive oil on it. I’ve gone both ways, and I can’t say there’s one I prefer as of yet.

Baking the Squash:

Bake the squash for about 40 minutes, though I always check mine after 30 to make sure I’m not burning them. They’re done when the skin is able to be pierced easily with a fork. Once done, remove from the oven.

Fully cooked squash

Now comes the fun part and how this squash gets its name. While the squash is still hot, hold it in one hand with a pot holder and use a fork to shred it. It comes off the rind looking like spaghetti!

And that’s it! This squash is versatile, so you can eat with just cheese, marinara sauce, alfredo…pretty much the sky is the limit on this one. I like to whip up a marinara while the squash is roasting and top with romano or asiago cheese.

Enjoy!

Recipe Post: Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is upon us and it’s winter squash time!

I was never a really big fan of pumpkin…until I had RNY. Now, I could eat pumpkin anything and I may or may not have eyed a raw pumpkin and considered gnawing on it. So, I went to the web in search of a sugar-free recipe.

I am one of those RNY patients that is “lucky” and has dumping syndrome. It really is awful and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. My searches got close, but not close enough. In the end, I combined several recipes and tweaked it for myself, since I know what triggers dumping for me.

Quick notes…

I use the brand name Splenda in this recipe for reference only; I use Target’s in-house brand and I’ve found no difference in quality. Additionally, I usually use Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal, however, my local grocery, Smith’s (Kroger), has their own in-house brand and I’ve heard Trader Joe’s is also excellent.

slice of pumpkin pie

As you can see, the final product turned out not only visually appealing, but tasty!

Onto the recipe! Bookmark or download a PDF of the recipe.

Equipment and Ingredients

Equipment Needed:

  • Mise en Place bowls
  • Medium mixing bowls
  • Rubber spatula
  • Pie tin/plate
  • Whisk
  • Pie crust guard

For the pie filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin purée (if canned, 1 14 ounce can)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Splenda
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (1 tsp if fresh grated)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

For the pie crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Steps for the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

To prepare the crust, first, measure the ingredients in mise en place bowls. I use a butter and coconut oil mixture, however, all butter or all coconut oil works just as well. If you use butter, ensure the butter is melted. Coconut oil, depending where you store it, may need a quick trip to the microwave but be careful – it has a much lower melting point than butter.

Mix the almond meal, Splenda, butter and coconut oil with a whisk until the mixture is loosely sticking together. Spray a pie tin/plate with non-stick cooking spray and dump the mixture in. Press into place with your fingers.

photos of pie crustBake for around 10 minutes or until the crust is browned to your desire. I used a pie shield to prevent the crust from burning. Once done, let cool on a cooling rack.

Steps for the Pie Filling

While the crust is baking measure out each ingredient as shown. I’ve found that the mise en place bowls really assist in cooking, which is why I’ve included this as the first step.

ingredients for the pie

Once the ingredients are measured, whisk the pumpkin and coconut milk together until well incorporated. Add in the Splenda, corn starch and vanilla. Next, add the spices. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Once the pie mixture is fully emulsified, pour into the prepared crust. *Note – this photo shows pumpkin pie spice, but I ended up using the individual spices instead. 

pie in progress

Bake for around 40-45 minutes at 350 F, or until the pie is set but still wiggles a bit when the pie tin is tapped. Let cool completely on a cooling rack.

My personal preference is to let the pie set overnight in the fridge, though you certainly don’t need to.  I personally top with a little canned whipped cream, which is pretty low on carbs and sugar. Enjoy!

Caution: Hazardous Road Ahead

When I went to my first RMAP support group, way back in June of 2012, the counselor had us write out a list of hazards. For some, it is cooking, for others, it is simply being around food.

Now, nearly a year and a half later, it was time to pull out the hazard list and add one to it; my job.

I’ve been pleased with my progress, but felt like it was just stopped. And any weight-loss surgery patient knows the feelings of failure, dread and fear when the scale stops moving. I had to figure out why. So, I thought about it, and realized that In my office, nobody brings lunch and the stress levels are through the roof. I knew as soon as I wrote those two things that I had to find a new job.

At support group last night, the counselor told me it’s a very gutsy move to leave my job, and that I must be dedicated. She’s very correct. Other than the fact that I paid $20K out-of-pocket to have this surgery and I want to see my investment fully realized, I also don’t want to ever be the person I was prior to it. I love the fact that my health indicators are right on target, that I can move easily and most of all – I am going to live past 40.

Ultimately, it was a very difficult choice. I had been in the company only 8 months and I didn’t want that to affect my marketability for future jobs. I also really like the people I work with as people, and it’s always hard to determine that those people are also your biggest toxins. No job is worth undoing this progress.

In a twist, I was lead to my new employer through a woman I met at RMAP support group last year. She’s been a real advocate for me and it’s like she knew I had to get out of this situation. It was all about timing. And, I am getting things I have been strategically working toward for several years.

The day I put in my notice, I weighed myself even though I’d banished the scale a few months ago. I was down 4 pounds from my last weigh-in, way back in August. I’m absolutely convinced stress has been helping my body hold onto weight. Additionally, I’m finally back into ketsosis, and it was so hard! Splitting headaches and fatigue. But, it will be worth it.

I’m going to make it.

A Peek At The Past

Recently, I went to dinner at my favorite Thai place. I love that eating in the family style – sharing main dishes versus individual entrees – is so popular in Asia, since I eat very little. And, I love my food seasoned with the heat of molten lava.

On this particular outing, my attention was captured by a couple sitting close by. They were both big people, but the woman was considerably larger. Her legs were severely affected by edema and in all honesty, I do not know how she managed to put on shoes. I, too, had edema in one leg prior to surgery, but not nearly to the same level. In no time, I found myself looking at her food and thinking…is that really the best choice?

Whoa, wait. Did I just judge her for her food choices?

It struck me by surprise, because I used to be this woman. And that’s the crux…I wasn’t really seeing this particular woman – I was seeing me. It wasn’t judgment I felt, but rather, empathy. I felt so relieved I wasn’t in her metaphorical shoes because I know damn well how it feels. I knew exactly how she felt walking to her table with a million eyes staring at her in disgust. I could see the other patrons staring, pointing and gawking. I wanted to cry for her pain.

I still feel the same way – that people are gawking, whispering and thinking…why is this gross, fat woman here? The devil on my shoulder reinforces my self-doubt and feelings of failure and tells me I’m the same fat person I always was. The angel says…but can’t you see you look NORMAL?! It is a constant battle for me to block out the negativity.

Seeing this woman dredged up so many emotions, and frankly, I wasn’t prepared for the impact. It made me realize how people looked at me and what they thought. I wasn’t invisible, even though emotionally, that is how I felt. But it hit me like a ton of bricks that people thought some pretty nasty things about me, even though I used to tell myself “they’re not really thinking that, because I’m smart and have a great personality, and it is inside that counts!”

But, at the end of the day, society at large is very shallow and looks are such a huge part of how we’re treated. It isn’t right nor is it wrong, it just is. It is something I struggle to accept but ultimately understand it’s just another part of life. Each one of us has preferences and each one of us judges others by our own set of criteria.

 

When I See You Again

So, nothing new, but weight loss has (naturally) slowed down a lot. Even though I know this is expected, it’s still so frustrated. To combat the psycho feelings it dredges up in me, I’ve banished the scale from my view. I’m focusing on building my relationship with its cousin, the measuring tape.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my progress – VERY happy! And the future will be even better. I’m excited to meet me again in a year and laugh with myself when I think about banishing the scale.

I have been struggling with body image – I can’t relate to the “old” me or the “new” me. On one hand, my brain realizes the before picture was me when I was extremely fat, and knows I’m not that size now. On the other hand, it sees the after picture and says…we can’t possibly be that small…we’re still FAT! Some days, it is like dealing with a bipolar crocodile in that it snaps for no reason and I end up putting on 5 outfits, unhappy with all of them, before I realize I’m going to be late for work. I know that eventually, I’ll accept myself – I have to because I cannot keep living like this. I have to find a way to make it happen for myself. I keep taking photos so I can force myself to see the difference, and it DOES help. It also helps to see my measurements, especially compared together.

I will get over this – there’s nothing I cannot overcome. I proved that the day I had RNY – time to release my inner honey badger.

The Doctor Will See You Now

Last week, I saw a primary care physician. You’re probably wondering why this deserves a post of it’s own.

Story time!

I moved to Salt Lake City nearly ten years ago, and that was the last time I saw a primary care doctor. Once I got really big…I was terrified of the lectures and the constant disappointment, and so I simply stopped going. I know I am not alone in this, and I’m sure there are many who can relate. I only went to the doctor when I absolutely had to, and had my favorite little urgent-care clinic for years. Luckily, I rarely ever got sick. I was in a long, winding river I like to call denial, and so I justified my lack of a PCP because I rarely got sick.

However, that all had to change in early 2007. I’d spent nearly 4 months abroad, in India, for work, and by the time I got home, my immune system was shot and I had a horrible sinus infection. When a round of Cipro the travel clinic had prescribed to me failed to kill it, I went to my little clinic and got sorted out on a drug called Levaquin, which is a very powerful antibiotic. I improved, though every cold around ended up in my respiratory system that winter, but no further visits were needed. That is, until blurry vision affected my job duties.

At the urging of my mom, I booked an appointment with a gynecologist to have a complete physical, considering I’d just spent so much time abroad in a developing nation. We did the full in-take, talked about symptoms, and she was one of the least judgmental doctors I’d encountered. She had some ideas about what could be the issue, so I put off a visit to the ophthalmologist until my blood work results were in. When they came in, I got hit with a very large dose of reality.

The results? Type II diabetes was causing my blurry vision, with a fasting glucose level of 306 mg/dl. I was immediately put on Metformin to assist me in bringing down blood sugar levels, along with diet/exercise counseling. At the time, I was only 23 years old, and already a diabetic. It really shook me up, and I took my new knowledge of healthy foods I learned about in India, and I was able to bring that number down to 144 in about 6 months.

This doctor continued to treat me, but I still didn’t have a PCP. That leads us to this entry. Once I’d decided to have RNY, and I had a surgeon treating me, I knew I would eventually need a PCP. Even though I was becoming healthy and dropping the weight, I was still so anxious about finding a doctor. Except now, my fear was judgment for having weight-loss surgery.

It took some time, but I eventually found a clinic that accepted my insurance and was affiliated with the hospital where I had surgery. I booked the appointment and prepared, mentally, for the next week.

Honestly, what the hell was I worried about again? It went fantastic!

The doctor read my chart and told me she was very aware of RMAP and often recommended patients to the clinic. She looked at my blood pressure readings and pulled my A1C – the one I was so desperately waiting for. When it came back at 4.9, I about had a meltdown in her office. I already knew the diabetes was gone…but getting the “official” word was like being told I’m not going to die, after all. It was a hugely emotional experience and made every single struggle I’ve had emotionally and physically with life post-op worth it.

After my RMAP surgeon, this PCP is the best I’ve ever had. She was like a cheerleader and told me how amazing my loss truly is, even when I tried to downplay it.

13 Months

Today marks 13 months since I made the life-altering change of gastric bypass surgery. I can say with complete honesty that it has been the best choice I’ve made for myself. It is difficult at times to remember how it feels to be as big as I used to be. Then, there’s times that it is crystal clear in my mind and I cringe. That has lessened, but, I don’t think it’ll ever completely stop. It’s like a scar – I’ll always know what was – and that is a good thing.

I’ve lost around 180 pounds – mind-blowing! I often ask myself I waited so long to do this, but I can answer that fairly quickly; I was not ready. With such drastic weight loss comes drastic change, no matter how much you think you’ll be the “same old” person you once were. Each experience in our life, and every minute piece of knowledge we acquire changes us for good or bad – that is each individual’s choice. When I started out, I knew the changes would be drastic, but I had no idea just how much my life would change. Until I finally said…this has to happen, I was simply not ready nor willing to make the sacrifices that are required for any weight loss surgery to be effective. And that is the key! This cannot be treated as a magic pill or a cure-all. It is an amazing procedure that has such potential, but it requires effort and dedication on a level that many can find daunting.

I remember waking from surgery and thinking “was this the right decision?” At 13 months post-op, I can say, without hesitation that yes, it absolutely was the right decision. But at that moment, I had no way to imagine my life 6 months down the road. What would I look like? How would I feel? Will it work for me? That’s one of the hardest parts…not knowing what to expect.

For me, I was fat my entire life, so I never had the “skinny person” mentality. Now that I am approaching a normal size, I’m struggling in that I am so used to seeing the fat person, that, when I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize myself. I find I still reach for the biggest clothes, the biggest chairs in a restaurant….all of those comforts I’d made a way of life. I always had the exit in mind, and I tried to find the path of least resistance so that nobody would focus on my fat. In my mind, I thought, if I find a big chair and don’t struggle to sit in it, nobody will know I’m fat! Ridiculous? You bet! But it was a coping mechanism I used to survive each day.

There are also situations that arise that, while you learn about them during the pre-op classes and your own research, blow your mind when they actually happen. One such situation is dealing with people who have jealousy issues. When you go from the ugly duckling to the swan, it forces people to think about their own life choices and habits, and, let’s be completely honest here – who ever wants to see their flaws held up in front of them? I sure as hell didn’t, which is how I got to RNY to begin with, and so when I encounter these jealousy situations, I have to think…what is this really about? Follow the money, as they say, and you’ll discover the jealousy isn’t about you, it is projection of that person’s issues. Let it roll off like water on a duck because you earned everything that is unfolding for you. You made the scary decision to risk your life to save it and to sacrifice the thing which brought you such comfort – food. That shows such incredible strength of character and willingness to admit you were wrong.

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