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Out With the Old, In With the New

I guess yesterday’s clothing purge began the “Out with the Old” portion of my end-of-year activities.  Tonight, I tried something new — a mamey sapote.  It’s a native Mexican fruit that I’d never  heard of until last month.  I heard of it for the first time last month and I’m glad I heard someone say that its delicious because I’d have passed right over it in a produce section.  The fruit is shaped like a small football with a bark-like outer skin.  Definitely not the most visually appealing food until you cut it open and see the dark salmon-colored flesh.  The texture is sort of like a very ripe avocado.  It tastes sweet and unlike any other fruit I can think of.

Not to go all Food Network chef on you, but the mouth feel of the mamey is luxurious and pairs well with the yummy taste.  I ate a few spoonfuls and then put the rest in a bowl for future enjoyment.  I then went on line to read about it, of course.  Turns out the mamey is high in Vitamins A and C, potassium and dietary fiber.  There are 20 mg of sugar in a cup.  Considering that I ate about 1/4 of a cup, that’s not bad at all!  I liked it so much, I think I’m going to try it in a smoothie tomorrow, too.

So, it’s New Year’s Eve, counting down the end of 2012, unless you live on the other side of the International Dateline, in which case you’re already in 2013.  I had a couple of invitations to go out to open houses and parties but I opted for a quiet night at home with the dogs.   I might still be awake at midnight for the big ball drop.  (A good friend works for Waterford Crystal.  They make the ball for Times Square every year.  I found out tonight that most of the crystals used each year are salvaged and reused, but new ones are always added.)

I stopped making resolutions several years ago, mostly because I always seemed to set myself up for failure.  Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I’d flunk out on the resolutions I’d made and end up feeling lousy.  That’s no way to live a happy, productive life.   This year, I’m trying something new.  I’ve written down some suggestions and things that I’d like to work on in the days ahead.  Instead of sharply defining these things, I’ve made them more broad-based.  So, you won’t see me say that I’m going to walk two miles every day or that I’m going to drink 80 ounces of fluids each day.  I’m not pledging to lose 20 pounds before I go to Hawaii.

I don’t have an extensive list to begin 2013.  Like my Promise List, I prefer to check-in with myself on a regular basis and adjust as needed.   Here’s what I did come up with for starters.

I intend to practice my Tai Chi, including the foundation moves, at home more often than I’ve been doing.

I’m going to drink more fluids each day than I have been.

I’m going to continue exercising the way that I have been, stepping up as I get more fit.  I need to get in more work on my arms and butt, too.

As much as I hate keeping a food log, I’m going to write down my food at some point every day.  (This is one of the rare, specific “every day” plans.)  Ideally, I’ll write my food plan first thing in the morning.  If the day’s circumstances mean I can’t do that, or if I deviate, I will faithfully enter the details in My Fitness Plan.

I’m going to tackle The Room of Hopeless Clutter, step by step, and finally clear it.  The rest of my house is nice and tidy.  This room is in horrible shape.  Here.  Look for yourself.    Room-2

Seriously horrible, isn’t it?  I wRoom-1asn’t kidding.  Those boxes against the window hold new copies of my two books.  When my publisher put them out of print, they offered me as many copies as I wanted for a very low price, plus shipping.  I bought many, thinking I’d eventually sell them at conferences and conventions.  This was before the e-pub explosion.  Now I figure these will never sell.  I should probably recycle most of the boxes.  That will probably happen this year.

I wish I could figure out how to get all of the text below the photos but WordPress isn’t cooperating at the moment.

On to more suggestions on what I’d like to aim for in 2013.

I want to work with my dogs more than I did this last year.  In improving myself, I didn’t focus on them as much as I should.  Thankfully, they’re reaping some benefit from my increased walking.  That’s something that will definitely continue.  I’m not saying it’s their favorite activity, but it’s good for all of us.  I get bored walking by myself, even with music.

Other suggestions include experiencing more of the things that are on my Promise List, continuing to practice good self-care with medical appointments, skin care, wearing sun block, and treating myself to things I enjoy like facials and therapeutic massages.

Then there’s a category for “Things I Might Like to Try But Am Not Definitely Committing to at This Time”.  Let’s put Pilates and Spinning Class in that category.

The list suddenly seems long, but it really isn’t when I look at the big picture.  Basically, in 2013 I’m going to do the same thing that I did in 2012.  Every day I’m going to live my life like it matters, like I matter, because I do.    Life is good and, no matter what, I’m going to keep it that way.

 

 

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Purging Clothes

I spent about an hour today doing yet another purge of clothes from my closets and drawers.  With the exception of some t-shirts and one never-worn formal gown, and two dresses that I bought over the summer, no garment remains that is too big for me to wear.  At least not now.  In another month, that will probably change.  🙂

I’m holding onto the t-shirts because I like bigger clothes for working out or doing stuff out in the yard. They’re also good to sleep in when it’s warm.  Not to be a wimp, by the way, but after dealing with cold weather and snow up north last week while on vacation, I returned to warm, sunny Florida just in time for the cold front.  It’s 65 degrees which sounds great to many of you but classifies as darned cold for us.  Darned cold is one of my personal meteorology terms.  The rare times that the temps sink below 60, it becomes freaking cold.  Lower and there’s the risk of experiencing damned f#&$ing cold.

But I digress.  Back to the clothes discussion.

The gown is a different story.  I ordered it a few years ago from a specialty store online to wear to a friend’s daughter’s wedding.  I swear that I did my measurements right, but when it arrived, it didn’t fit me well enough for me to wear.  It’s an excellent quality and style in a great spring lavenderish color.  I have this odd idea that I should photograph it and attempt to sell it on eBay.  Then I think that will be a hassle and, probably, I should find an organization that takes in good quality gowns for people who can’t afford to buy them and just donate it.   We don’t have one in the Keys, so if anybody has a suggestion, please let me know.

The other two dresses will be perfect for my Hawaii cruise, so I’m going to a seamstress to see if she can alter them for me.

The clothing purge felt so good!  From the closets, I created two piles.  One pile has all of the remaining clothes from my largest sizes and next-to- largest sizes that I got back into but have now left behind.  These will all be donated to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  The other pile will be packed up and sent to my friend who had weight loss surgery and is just a little bit behind me in her journey.  As I continue to lose and current garments become too big, I’ll send them on to her, too.  Just like I’ve been given clothes by others, I want to pass on the favor.   The practice definitely saves money for us in the long run while we’re on the losing track.

While I worked at the purging task, I couldn’t help but think that the timing was right.  It’s almost the end of the year, so what better time to rid myself of things I no longer need?  Not only was it practical, but it was also symbolic.  I’ve rid myself of much this past year.  Physical weight, emotional and mental pain from thinking poorly of myself, physical pain from carrying all those excess pounds on my body.  I’ve tried a lot of new things on for size, too, like my exercise routines and healthier eating, along with some new clothes.

2013 is going to be a new year in so many ways.  New, as in 2012 is over and 2013 is new to us all.  For me, it’s going to be another year of new — new experiences, ever evolving new body, new clothes, new outlook.

Oh, before I forget, I got on the scale today.  It’s the first time that I’ve weighed myself in a week.  I was absolutely thrilled to see that I maintained my weight.  That is remarkable!  I wasn’t perfect on my food plan.  I ate more carbs and desserts than I normally would consume.   However, I successfully balanced those deviations by being mindful with my eating whenever possible and by working in exercise.  I don’t know that I’ve ever gone through a holiday season without pigging out and gaining weight.  This taught me a great lesson and showed me that I don’t have to backslide just because I always did before.  Talk about joyful!

I’m purging the old in more ways than one.  What are you looking forward to in this coming year of newness?

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Last Year at this Time (Post 250)

Hi, Friends!

As of today we’ve been together for 250 posts.  Thank you!  The first official post went up on February 8th, two weeks after my weight loss surgery.  In that post, among other things, I said this about the decision to blog my post-surgery journey to wellness:

Some people might wonder why, and I’d be one of them, but for several weeks creating this blog and writing about my journey and experiences seemed like the right thing to do for myself.    If you and others get something from it, so much the better.  My intention is to be as honest as I can about every topic I post — brutally honest as necessary.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a lifetime of obesity, my ability to deny and lie to myself and others about my weight and body issues is limitless.  I’ve come to believe that “rigorous” honest is the real path to survival.

Nearly 11 months and 249 posts later, I still believe that rigorous honest is the way for me to continue my recovery.  It’s brought me this far, that’s for sure.

The calendar year of 2012 ends in a couple of days.  Millions of people are thinking about their resolutions for 2013.  Many millions more probaby aren’t.  I’ve never been a fan of listing New Year’s resolutions, but I do like setting goals.  I’m organizing some of them in my mind and will share them on the 31st.   In a little more than a week, I’ll celebrate my 55th birthday which is somewhat of a mini-milestone.  A few weeks after that will mark the one year anniversary of my undergoing my vertical sleeve gastrectomy — what some people refer to as their surgiversary.

With all of these things coming up, I guess it’s no surprise that I’m feeling a little reflective.  I’m thinking a lot about where I was emotionally, physically, and mentally a year ago.

This time last year I was eager, but also nervous.  I had so much hope but at the same time was afraid to invest so much of my heart in that hope.

This time last year I was also more than a little stressed out because I still had to complete a few evaluations, follow up appointments and tests to get the final clearance for the surgery.  I knew that I’d get cleared, but the timing and trying to get a couple of doctors to dot the last i and cross the last t on my clearances took some work.

This time last year I was the heaviest that I’d been in more than 20 years.  Even though I’d worked on dropping weight since August, I let the nerves and stress get to me.  How’s that for either irony or proof positive of just how lousy this compulsive eating disease can be to a person?  I knew that I wasn’t having “food funerals” or saying goodbye to eating as I knew it, but I was back into old, unhealthy eating behaviors.   I was feeling fear that I wouldn’t, couldn’t share with anyone because I was ashamed.

On January 11th, I was scheduled to stop eating and start the full liquid diet for two weeks before the operation.  Last year at this time, I was terrified that I would start and not be able to stick to the plan.

Oddly enough, I never once thought that I’d change my mind about the surgery and back out at the last minute.  I was simply afraid that my disease would take over and I’d end up sabotaging myself.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  I won’t say that two weeks of only liquids were easy, but I never once deviated from the program.  With each day under my belt, I felt stronger and more secure in my ability.  Even the week before my surgery when a good friend revealed to me that she was afraid I’d die in the operation and wanted me to just keep losing weight on liquids, I was confident that I’d be okay and had to move forward.

Last year, as 2011 drew to its close, I focused my attention on 2012 and determined to go to any lengths to rescue and restore myself to good health.   Today, as we wind down to the end of 2012, I’d say that I’ve been doing a pretty good job of meeting that goal.  It’s been such an amazing journey so far and I know that there is so much more “newness” still to experience.  I can’t wait to see what happens in 2013.  I know I’ll be sharing it all here on Weighty Matters.

 

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Holiday Hope

I’m sitting here a couple of days after Christmas at my brother and sister-in-law’s house.  A gentle snow is falling.  I have a hot cup of tea beside me.  After I write this blog I’ll pack up my stuff and drive over to friends a couple of hours away.  I’ve had a great visit with family and friends so far.  I’m so lucky to live in a loving family.   Even though I live in Florida and only see them a few times a year, when we’re together it’s great.

Food and overeating have not been issues.  I’ve eaten a variety of really delicious food without pigging out.  I’ve had a few too many sweets and carbs than I would normally consume but feel like I’ve balanced them out with exercise.  I was in a hotel one day and hit the treadmill for a half an hour.  On Christmas Eve my older nephew and I walked for almost two miles.  Yesterday, I did Zumba.  All in all, I’m pleased with my handling of my first major holiday with my new lifestyle.

Yesterday I had lunch with a good friend, one I haven’t seen in several years.  She had weight loss surgery two months ago so that is something else that we have in common.  She also understands OA and program so there are many concepts, approaches and thoughts that we share in our approach to recovery.

One of the things we touched on in our conversation was hope.  She’s early in her journey and doing terrific with her weight loss.  (You go, my friend!)  I remember before surgery and even two months after, there were things that I dreamed would happen with weight loss but that I barely could bring myself to hope I’d see.  Now, many of those things are common in my life.  There are more ahead but I’m no longer afraid to hope.  I believe, I know, that I can achieve them as I continue to lose weight and recover.

The rejuvenation of hope has been a phenomenal gift over the last year.  I remember when I was so down and low before making the decision to have surgery.  I had let myself get beaten down by my own disease and my overeating.  As heavy as I was in body, I was heavier in spirit.  Now I am so much lighter in body and soul.

I shared this with my friend because she is still a little in the cautious stage — wanting to hope and believe but still a little afraid to let herself.  I understand this mindset.  When one lives so long in one place emotionally and physically, shedding the fear is incredibly hard.  Taking a leap of faith isn’t easy.  It gets easier with each small step of improvement but it doesn’t happen overnight.

For today, as my holiday week begins to wind down, I’m celebrating the hope that has nested in my heart, perched in my soul.  I continue to look ahead to all that I dream of and know I will achieve as my journey continues.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Emily Dickinson
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Holiday Wishes

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the day and a day of peace and joy to all of us.

Thank you for being part of this blog.

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Eating While Traveling

Friends, I remembered to pack everything but my snack bag with its cheese wedges and peanut butter.  This is my fall back when I’m on the road and need to eat something every couple of hours.  I left the bag in my house instead of throwing it into my carry on.  So, while on the road yesterday I had to improvise and accept that protein was not going to be readily available exactly when I needed it, so the option became minimizing damage while still getting some fuel into my body, even if that meant more carbs than I would otherwise have chosen.

I had to leave the hotel for the airport before they set out the free breakfast which usually has some eggs.  I picked a small blueberry muffin and ate half of it.  The airport at 6 a.m. was a completely chaotic, packed mess.   Even though I arrived a couple of hours before flight time and had checked-in online so I had my boarding pass, it still took a full hour plus to get to the counter to drop off my bag and then even more wait time for TSA.  (No “groin anomalies” this time so I didn’t get pulled for a full pat down.)

Luckily, my flight was delayed by half an hour but even then the line to get any food other than doughnuts was too long.  We boarded, took off, and I perused the snack menu.  This airline needs to offer something with protein, IMHO.  At least on JetBlue you can get real cheese.  I settled for a mix that included nuts and picked out enough almonds to satisfy my hunger.

Once I arrived, I had lunch plans with my aunts and a cousin.  My South Jersey home area is known for many, many things.  Those in the know, know that we are also the place for the world’s best subs.  (Known as hoagies and grinders in other parts of the world.)  It’s a tradition that when we get together for lunch at the holiday, subs are the menu.  Honestly, cold cuts are cold cuts.  The secret to the best sub in the world is the bread.  Right, so why am I glorifying a sandwich because of the bread that I shouldn’t be eating?  Hey, being successful with my eating does not mean completely and forever depriving myself of the foods I love.  I think that I handled it pretty well.  I cut a very small slice of the sub and ate it.  I took another small slice, removed the protein sources and ate them, but in an act of supreme compliance, did not eat the second piece of bread.

After a lovely few hours with family, I hit the road for a couple of hours to spend time with another friend.  When I checked in to the hotel, the staff offered me fresh fruit or a warm, chewy chocolate chip cookie.  I chose the apple.  My friend and I had dinner plans and opted for a local Italian place.  Before we went, I was very clear with myself that I needed to focus on a quality protein at the meal.  That’s what I did, with a yummy chicken sorrentino.  My friend and her mother will no doubt enjoy the other half of the entree that I, of course, couldn’t finish.

We did some last minute holiday shopping afterwards, avoiding the hectic malls and finding good stores in separate shopping plazas that weren’t crazy at all.  Between that experience and the earlier trekking around the airport, I feel like I got in some decent walking.

This morning, I ordered in some eggs for breakfast.  Really too huge a portion which means that, sadly, a lot is wasted but I got in protein that I needed.  I have a little time and think I’m going to pull on my sweat pants and walking shoes and go log at least a half an hour on the treadmill down in the exercise room.

So, the last 24 hours weren’t perfect for me foodwise, but I think that I did the best that I could.  Overall, my food intake wasn’t horrible.  Not every day is going to be perfect, but each day can be as good as I can make it.

How are you all doing in the season of holiday eating?

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Packing Perks

Oh, what a busy, stressful week.  Oh, how happy I am that I’m finished with work and headed for a week’s vacation plus holiday fun spending time with family and friends.  I’m also happy to have a month’s break from school and a few weeks to decide whether I’m signing up again for the next course or whether I’m going to give myself a longer break and pick up the program again later.

Traveling can be exhausting and tomorrow will be a long day.  That said, I am gifted with the ability to nap anywhere.  I will not be the least surprised if I am asleep again before the plane lifts off from the runway.  I fly an airline that has the most ridiculous baggage fees and policies.  They could give Scrooge lessons in penny-pinching and squeezing dollars out of their customers.  I think they were the first to institute a charge for checking a bag.  That drove more people to cram everything into smaller carryon luggage which slowed the boarding and departure process.  So the airline started charging people if they brought a carryon that had to go in the overhead bins.

Last year, in a move to grab even more money from their customers, they dropped the weight limit on the checked bag from 50 pounds to 40 pounds.  Go over 40 pounds and they charge another $25.  This caused a huge challenge for me, particularly on my annual trips to the Northeast for Christmas.   Imagine trying to pack enough warm clothes for a week.  Jeans, sweaters, socks.  Shoes that aren’t flip flops.  You get the idea.  Now imagine that you’re super obese which means that each of those garments is practically big enough for two people.  So, I needed a larger suitcase, which weighed more empty,  to fit my larger, heavier clothes.  40 pounds?  Yeah right.

When I began to gather up my clothes for this trip, I brought out the largest suitcase at first.  Then I stopped and wondered if there was any way that I could fit what I needed in the smaller piece of luggage.  I got in a couple of pairs of jeans, a pair of black pants, two pairs of shoes, sleepwear, bras and panties, a pair of sweatpants and even a pair of workout shorts, a couple of t-shirts and some sweat socks.  Neatly folded and packed, everything fit!  I was cautiously excited.  I added my cosmetic case, zipped up the case, and then weighed it on my home scale.  42 pounds!

At first I despaired, but then I remembered that I would remove one of the pairs of jeans, a sweater, and a pair of the shoes to wear tomorrow on the actual flight!  I’m pretty sure that will drop the weight below the 40 pound limit.  (For those wondering what will happen to the clothes I was wearing today, since I won’t need shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops, I can fold them up and leave them in the car tomorrow.)

So, my friends, I have discovered yet another perk to losing weight.  Smaller clothes mean smaller luggage needs.  Woot!  That’s a great NSV.

I’m really looking forward to the trip.  I’ll be staying with family for a few days and have even scoped out Zumba classes in the area so I can keep up with my exercise.  Thinking ahead to the luggage challenge, when I shipped the box of gifts up the other week, I stuck in my spare pair of cross-trainer sneakers so I’d have them for Zumba.  They’ll go back in the box at the end of the week when I ship home the gifts I receive.

I have a lot to celebrate this holiday season.  I’m going to do it without overeating and focus on all of the perks of my new life.

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Stress Relief Substitutions

I had a fairly stressful day today.  All work-related, all manageable, but still stressful.  Right after I left for the day I posted to Facebook that I was really looking forward to relieving the stress with Zumba class.  This was such an important substitution, to choose exercise as a way to relieve stress as opposed to diving headlong into a vat of ice cream.

Overeating never really got rid of stress or eased emotional pain.  Food never truly consoled me in sorrow, or cheered me up when I was blue.  It never calmed me when I was anxious or helped me cope with any problem.  Somewhere along the line I developed the belief that food had the power to do all of these things.  It became my crutch, my support, my balm, my emotional bandage, my drug of choice.  You name it.

While there are probably some foods that stimulate the release of certain brain chemicals that make us feel better, that doesn’t make the overeating of them a positive choice.  Same thing with cigarettes, illegal drugs and alcohol.  Abusive use of any substance isn’t good for me.

Unfortunately, shit still happens.  There are times and circumstances that create stress or pain or drama.  Unless you live your life totally numb, you’re going to experience uncomfortable emotions sometimes.  So, I’ve had to develop other ways to deal.

Zumba class really helped tonight.   The exercise, the music, the fun of it all drove the stress out of my mind and my body for the hour.  The endorphins created honestly eased the tension I was carrying around in my brain.  I was able to come home, eat a nice dinner, and focus on the project I needed to finish and turn in tonight.

Obviously, I can’t always go to Zumba when something comes up that throws me off my even keel, but I can always do something other than compulsively eat.  I can play with the dogs, or practice my Tai Chi at home.  I can get up from my desk at work and take a little walk outside to see the dolphins.  There are endless choices open to me that don’t include cramming some food into my mouth.

Different choices, lots of options — really good substitutions and solutions.  It’s all good.

 

 

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Happy Holidays!

I’m pushing to finish my last assignment for class so I have no insightful post for the day.  Sorry!  I hope you’ll forgive me because my holiday card is pretty darned cute, if I do say so myself.  Whichever holiday you celebrate, I hope it’s filled with joy.

 

2012HolidayCard

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How Much Do I Want It?

It’s a beautiful morning.  I’ve already been out with the dogs for a walk on the Old Seven Mile Bridge.  We did 2.25 miles.  I’m now sipping on a fresh smoothie made with a banana, some strawberries, skim milk, protein powder and a little almond butter.

I’m drinking this for a meal instead of the two strips of bacon, scrambled egg and half of an English Muffin I thought about making while I was at mile 1.75 on the bridge.   Honestly, the bacon/egg/muffin breakfast would not have been horrible, but for me this week, the smoothie is the better, healthier choice.

Why did I change my mind between the bridge and getting home?  I started thinking about where I’d like to be with my weight loss at the end of this year and then, a few weeks later, on the one year anniversary of my weight loss surgery.   I’ve made great progress, but it’s been slower in recent months, as I’ve whined talked about here before.   This has been a good lesson.  I’ve sure learned that I know how to eat to maintain my weight loss.  I haven’t gained any of the weight that I’ve lost and that, my friends, is fantastic.  As you know, one of my big fears is that eventually I will screw up and return to my old habits, gain back all of the weight, and waste all of my wonderful effort.

Sometimes FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.  I don’t want to obsess about it, but at the same time I want to use it to keep myself honest.

So, in this time of holiday parties, never ending supplies of baked goods, and the upcoming change in my daily routine when I go on vacation, I need to continually ask myself, how bad do I want it?

The “it” varies.  In the kitchen at work when I go to get out my healthy, planned for lunch and a loaf of pumpkin bread on the counter tempts me, the “it” could be the pumpkin bread.  Do I want it bad enough to derail my plans for the day?  Is eating it more important than staying on track?

When I come home feeling lazy and don’t want to exercise, the “it” becomes my healthy body.  How badly do I want to keep building  it?

How much do I want it — “it” being a healthy, happy, more fit body and lifestyle — is the big, overall question of my life, when I consider matters.  I asked myself the question a lot last year when I was weighing the decision to have the surgery and going through the months of planning, medical tests, and evaluations.  As you can see, it turns out that I wanted it pretty damn much.  Enough to change my body with surgery.  Enough to commit to the lifestyle change.  Enough to examine my issues and eating disorder, past habits, and new techniques all of the time.

Enough to not eat bacon, egg and English Muffin this morning but to have a healthy protein smoothie instead.

That’s the reality of changing one’s life beginning with weight loss surgery.  Anyone who is considering this step needs to ask themselves the same question.  How much do you want to make the change?  If you can’t answer that you want it enough that you’re willing to go to any lengths and make any commitment to achieve the change, then perhaps surgery isn’t for you just yet.

If you want it and you’re ready, then go for it.

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