Weighty Matters

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Fat Clothes Retention Mentality

I hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve and that the first day of 2015 has been terrific.  I had a really lovely day.  Friends who I don’t see or connect with very often except via FB came into the Keys via a cruise ship.  Today was one of the lady’s 50th birthday to boot.  Since I didn’t do any partying last night – wild or otherwise – and was in bed before 11, I got up at a reasonable hour to beautiful weather.  I started the year off with my first bike ride of 2015, pedaling to the beach and back for a brisk 8 miles all around.  I then got ready and met them in Key West.  We walked around a little before boarding a launch to an island that holds resort cottages and a wonderful restaurant.  The five of us enjoyed a delicious, festive meal outside looking at the ocean.   It was wonderful.  We followed that with about an hour of walking up Duval Street before we had to part ways.  Great start to a new year, as far as I’m concerned!

When I got home, I walked Nat and Pyxi, fed them and then puttered around doing miscellaneous chores.  Among them was the unpacking of the box that I shipped home from the Northeast with the lovely Christmas gifts I received from my family.  I’d also added the sweaters that I’d worn up in the colder weather and a couple of pairs of pants.

Even though we may get some cool weather in the next month or so here in Florida, the temperatures won’t drop enough that I’ll need to wear these sweaters.  Unless I hit some unseasonably frigid weather during a late spring business trip up north, I won’t even have to look at these garments until next year.

By then, I hope that the only reason I’ll pull them out of my dresser drawer will be to put them in a bag to donate somewhere.  Surely by the time I need to prepare for my annual holiday trip up north in December, these sweaters will be too big for me to wear again.  I honestly believe that this will be the case so, why then, am I not giving the clothes away now?

They could be a crutch but, to be completely honest, I think they’re a sign that I sometimes do not believe whole-heartedly in myself.  Maybe this is a throwback to the “hold onto your ‘fat’ clothes, you’ll need them again” days of yo-yo dieting.

Twice today I had odd clothing experiences.  When I was planning what to wear to meet my friends, I thought of these cute sun dresses that I wear with a little “shrug”.  (No way am I comfortable showing my flabby upper arms.)  I put one on and gaped at myself in the mirror.  It was too big.  Even with a decorative but elastic band at the waist, there was too much extra material around the hips and the bodice was so loose that it didn’t look good.

My initial reaction was surprise, then dismay (I love this dress!), and then I smiled.  I don’t know why I was surprised.  I guess I had this image of myself the last time I wore the dress — when I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now.  I should have donated this months ago and don’t know why I didn’t — except for that “fat clothes retention” mentality.

I slipped off the dress and tossed it on the bed, then went to the closet and got out an outfit that fits and looks great.  Then out the door I went to have a fun day.

Now tonight, while I’m writing this, I know with all certainty that I should not hold onto them “just in case” I need them in the future.  That kind of thinking sets me up for failure, instead of cultivating my continued success.  I must shore up my confidence in my efforts and my recovery.

When I finish writing this blog post, I’m going into my bedroom and gather up those sweaters, that dress, and the other little sun dress that is also too big for me and put them in a bag to take to a donation center.  Come to think of it, I should send the sweaters up north to a friend so she can donate them somewhere that someone will get use out of them while it’s cold.

Not only am I giving up the clothes, I’m giving up the mentality too!

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Was Weight Loss Surgery Really Necessary?

A little less than two weeks before I had my surgery, I was already doing the “full liquids” part of the preparation. Pounds were melting off. A good friend who was going through a very stressful time experienced a lot of anxiety over me having the bariatric surgery. When I shared that I was doing great with the full liquids diet, she asked me why I couldn’t just keep doing that and lose all of my weight instead of having a risky operation.

Speaking from the heart, I explained that I knew I would never sustain the weight loss effort long enough, or I would have done so before then. I also shared that I feared losing a lot of weight and then gaining it back yet again.

Next month I’ll hit my two year “surgiversary”. I probably won’t yet be at goal weight. Someone asked me today if I was sorry that I’d had the operation when it was still taking me so long to lose all of the weight that I wanted. There was nothing malicious about the question. I believe they were just honestly curious. I guess somewhere in their brain was the idea that I could have been able to lose it anyway so the surgery might not have been necessary.

I don’t agree. I still believe, just as strongly as I did two weeks before my vertical sleeve gastrectomy, that I would never have lost 175 or so pounds without the surgery. Was the surgery the magical cure-all? Of course not! Have I still had to work hard on every level to be successful to this point for so many months? Absolutely.

Was the surgery necessary? Was it worth it? Hell to the yeah! I can’t affirm it strongly enough. Surgically reducing my stomach capacity proved to be the tool, the key, the foundation on which everything else stands. To some great extent, it’s the security net when I teeter and fall off of the tightrope. It keeps me from completely hitting the ground and going splat. Because it limits how much I can physically eat, it’s an effective means for stopping a food relapse and prevents binging.

The physical control, or speed with which it helps me regain control when I periodically veer off course, has kept me in recovery and on a losing path for far longer than I have experienced at any other time. The longer time period has given me the opportunity to slowly and effectively make other lifestyle changes. The improved fitness and healthier food choices have developed over the months. I think this process means that the changes are better integrated and more sustainable. I don’t feel like the devotion to exercise is a flash in the pan. It takes time to grow new habits and that’s what I’m doing.

Maybe having bariatric surgery started out as my last ditch effort; the desperate attempt to save my life and improve its quality. Last ditch or not, it was absolutely necessary. I view its effects as the best way that I could open up my spirit for long term lifestyle changes. Simply put, it set me up for success and I’ve taken it from there.

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