Weighty Matters

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It’s a Process

on August 27, 2012

When working toward weight loss surgery, it seems like a lot of people get hung up on when the surgery will get scheduled.  I’ve seen a lot of people post stressed out messages on forums while they wait to complete their pre-surgery tests and evaluations, while they wait for insurance approval, while they wait for their doctor’s calendars to clear.

I have a  personal friends who are waiting for their dates to be confirmed and some of them also seem nervous or anxious, mixed in with the eagerness and excitement.

I was the same way.  It was an odd twist to go from years of resisting the very thought of bariatric surgery to wanting to have it done ASAP.  It’s almost as if, having made the decision, I suddenly couldn’t wait to move forward, get the surgery, and be on my way to losing weight.

Along about the end of November/beginning of December, I experienced a lot of anxiety myself.  It wasn’t easy to accomplish all of those tests.  First I needed the initial consult with each specialist.  Next, we scheduled whatever test said specialist required.  Then I had to go back to the specialist for the test results and approval.  My brother and sister-in-law were flying in to be my post-surgery support team.  Due to other commitments they had, we determined that my surgery needed to be scheduled on January 25th, or we’d have to wait until mid-February.  I preferred a January date because I could more easily take four weeks off from work at that time, rather than having my medical leave roll into high tourist season.

Since J & P needed to book flights, I couldn’t wait until the last evaluation was completed sometime in early January.  I finally called the surgeon and threw myself on the mercy of the surgery coordinator.  I explained that I absolutely would have every single last evaluation and approval completed in time and begged her to put me on the calendar for January 25th.

“Ok.  We can do that,” she said.

Turns out I’d put myself through a whole helluva lot of needless stress.  I’ve come to understand that there are many things in life that create legitimate anxiety, so we’re much better off when we avoid the needless variety.  Good life lesson.

I know that I had a very real time constraint, since I sure didn’t want to go through the operation with my family’s on-scene support, but I realized something along the way.  Even without that constraint, I probably would have been like so many others — anxious and nervous until I received my actual surgery date.

In hindsight, I realize something else that I try to share with my friends when they sound stressed about the when of it all.  This is a journey, a process, and they’re already in it.  I started the process the day that I went for the free seminar.  Everything that happened after that day was another step on the journey and everything was forward progress.   All things considered, the “when” is secondary to making the commitment in the first place.  No commitment, no journey, no forward progress.

Today I need to remember that I’m still on the journey.  I’ve had some intermittent impatience.  You know, some of us with diseased thinking are often real pieces of work.  Like losing more than 100 pounds already isn’t good enough or fast enough.  Everytime that thought crosses my mind, I want to go all Cher on myself, deliver a stinging slap to my own face and shout, “Snap out of it!”

The only truth on which I need to focus is that if I continue to do what I’m supposed to, the weight will continue to decrease, and I will eventually get to my goal.  It could be six months, eight months, or even a year from now.  The timing is not as important as the daily execution of the plan.  Losing all of my excess weight isn’t an event.  It’s a process.  Telling myself, sometimes over and over, about the process reduces my impatience and calms my sporadic anxiety.  It is also a really effective tool when I’m tempted to stray too far away from the plan.  I can say, “You want to make progress as fast as you can?  Don’t eat that (fill in carb or sweet food).  Eat this (fill in appropriate food item) instead.”

You’d be surprised how much that self-talk helps.  It’s another thing that I’ve learned I will respond to.  Always good to figure out something  more about ourselves.  The development of improved self-awareness is a process too.

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2 responses to “It’s a Process

  1. [...] that I love to visit.  It’s a process.  And that’s where my head went as I read this post by Mary Stella.  At the beginning of the year she embarked on a tremendously empowering [...]

  2. Skye says:

    So much of life is a process rather than a destination, yet we treat it as a destination. I’m that way with my therapy: when will I be “well”? Rather than taking in what we need to learn along the way. I think especially in the US, where everything is a goal, a destination, and the journey is simply a “necessary evil” we have to endure.

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