Weighty Matters

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Thinking Back

One of our fellow blog readers is having weight loss surgery tomorrow.  She posted about it in comments here on my Things I Can Do Better post a few posts back, so I’m not speaking out of turn or blowing her anonymity.  ForestJane, I wish I’d gotten your email address!  If you happen to read this tonight before your surgery, please know that I’m thinking of you and sending you giant-sized good vibes and positive energy.  Please, when you can, check in and let us know that all went well, okay?

Three years ago at this time, I was a little shy of four weeks pre-surgery.  I had two weeks to go before starting the two week, full liquid diet before the surgery.  Many, in fact I think most, bariatric surgeons require this regimen of their patients.  Going full liquid helps to shrink the size of our livers which are somewhat inflated by our lousy eating habits.  If I understood it correctly, a smaller liver is easier to maneuver out of the way when the doctor’s in there working on reducing the size of the stomach.

Starting that regimen is a big step.  For me it was a strong show of my commitment to move forward and it also signaled my unofficial countdown to the day that would ultimately change not only my stomach, but also my life forever.  Those two weeks were interesting, scary, exhilarating, and challenging all at the same time.  Scary because I was so afraid that I’d screw up, let my eating disorder get the best of me, and go binge on chocolate cupcakes or something else, thus f*&%ing up my master plan.  Exhilarating because as each day passed with my successful adherence to the guidelines, weight dropped off.  I think I lost nearly 20 pounds in two weeks which made me feel great.  I was on my way!  Challenging because, hey, when you usually eat whatever, whenever, and how much, suddenly restricting to protein shakes and cream soups isn’t easy.  I have to admit that the fear was a great gut check.  I so badly wanted to do the surgery that if I even thought for a milisecond about sneaking a teeny piece of  chocolate, the fear said, “No!  You’ll ruin everything!!!”

Interesting were the reactions that I received from a couple of friends and co-workers.   From the time that I’d begun to share my decision to have wls with them, they were supportive.  Team Mary all of the way, they declared, and they helped me accommodate everything it took with all of the required tests, examinations, follow up doctor appointments and other practical matters.  They willingly talked to me about the journey whenever and however I needed.

What I didn’t know was that some of them were stifling fear for me.  Although they very much wanted me to lose weight and get healthy, they were also frightened that I would not survive the surgery.

I have to say that, although I know that every surgery carries risk, it never once occurred to me while I planned this that I could die on the operating table or die from complications after.  I should say it never once occurred to me until the day that I happily proclaimed to a co-worker that I’d already lost 15 pounds on the liquids and she reacted by crying and asking me why I couldn’t just continue to do this until I lost all of the weight.   She was so afraid for me, she exclaimed.

The intensity of her fear stunned me in that instant.  I had no idea.  If memory serves, I sat their slack-jawed for a moment and then answered her with the truth from my heart.  “If I could lose the weight I need to lose without having the surgery, I would have done it before now,” I answered.  “I’ve tried and always failed.  This is my last chance.”

Flash forward, of course, to the happy ending.  I survived the surgery and ever since.  When I came back to work I found out in a roundabout way that the fear expressed to me that day had been shared and discussed by others.  I have to say they did a great job of concealing it from me.  I’m glad because it only would have resulted in me feeling really horrible that I was the source of such anxiety.

Thinking back to where I was three years ago right now, I’m so happy that I focused on my hope and determination and did not let fear – my own or others’ – rule the day.

Today, as a reminder to myself, to Jane, to all of you who are going after what you need and want, and to all of you who might need a little boost in that direction, I’d like to share a little inspirational photo and message:

Sky limit

(Photo borrowed from Dolphin Research Center’s Facebook page.  Click here to check it out.

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I’m Okay, Even When I Think I’m Not

I have some friends who, if they voice a negative thought, express an idea that could be, shall we say, a harbinger of doom, quickly say, “Cancel!”  I believe it has to do with intention.  If we think negative thoughts, speculate about bad things that could happen, expect darkness instead of light, we could signal those things as intentions and then our energy or actions lead to manifesting them in our lives.

I’m not a doom and gloom person by nature.  While not exactly Pollyanna, I do try to be more positive and anticipate the brighter side of life.  So, it’s puzzling that I can still sometimes fall into thinking negative thoughts about myself and my accomplishments.  Thoughts are powerful things.  I always have to work on not letting my diseased thinking affect my outlook and the way that I feel about the good that I’ve done and continue to do for myself.

So, I’m employing the “Cancel” technique on myself.  When I catch myself thinking something unproductive, something that represents me putting myself down, I cancel the thought.  It’s not always easy to do this.  For one, it’s another exercise in being self-aware and mindful.

Here’s an example:  “You haven’t made another doctor’s appointment.  You’re giving up.  You can’t lose any more weight.”

Of those three statements, only one is true.  I haven’t rescheduled my appointment with the surgeon.  However, it’s absolutely not true that I can’t lose more weight and I’m giving up.  So, cancel, cancel.

Truth:  I’m healthy and in good shape.  I will not regain my weight.  I will lose more, regardless of the pace.  If I don’t want to go to the doctor right now, that’s okay.  I may or may not go back to him in the future.  Again, it’s okay.  He got me on the road and I can manage myself from here on out.

There’s no need for me to contradict myself, to devalue my truth and reality.  Why let that grow roots in my own psyche when I can nurture more positive attitudes and action, right?

So, even when I think I’m not, I really am okay.


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