Remember Robin? She is bravely here to share the “after” of her weight loss surgery experience, 1 year 2 months, and 20 days out.
For a refresher course on Robin’s story see:
So much sharing and honesty is both refreshing and inspiring…I can’t begin to say how much I appreciate both Michelle and Kelli being willing to be so open with all of us. It’s a scary place to be…but I’m learning that it’s a very powerful thing as well.
For months I’ve told both Michelle and Kelli of my intentions to write on update about where I am in my journey post-WLS. I was going to do a 6 months update…then one for a year after surgery….and you can see where this is going. Perhaps it’s my perfectionist nature, the same one that has plagued my weight loss efforts by making me feel that I’ve failed before I’ve even begun, but I’ve had a hard time getting myself to actually write anything down. So I’m sitting at my computer and MAKING myself write and committing to sending whatever I end up with on to my Sangria Sister heroes.
So I sit at my desk at 1 year, 2 months, and 20 days post WLS. I’ve lost 90 lbs…and that’s where my weight loss has sat for approximately 7.5 months, give or take a few weeks and a few pounds. I realize that 90 lbs. is still an INCREDIBLE loss…and I will not hesitate to say how much better I feel, both inside and out…but I will also not shy away from stating openly that I feel incredibly FRUSTRATED, and there are many days I feel, frankly, pissed off at where I’m at.
I went into having WLS with my eye s wide open, fully understanding that surgery is providing me with a TOOL that is only as effective as I make it. Much work would be required of me, and that this was only the beginning into a deeper journey into me and my relationship with my body, with food, and with others. I bought additional tools, did massive amounts of reading and research, did the work of writing and journaling and preparing. I attended support groups, asked questions, built relationships. Truly, I can confidently say that I fully prepared myself and established realistic expectations for myself and the surgery and what would happen.
But I’m going to have to be really honest and admit that a lot of my preparation was based on the belief that I’d lose more than 90 lbs. That, despite knowing I’d be required to work to continue losing and maintain any loss I had, I still held on to this confident hope and expectation that I’d reach a weight of 200 lbs. “easily”, and that I’d simply go from there.
I guess I was thinking of having WLS to help me address my lifelong weight issues sort of like someone finally getting fed up with a ridiculously cluttered and messy home. That person might approach the challenge by paying a huge amount of money to hire a service to come in and completely clean, declutter, and organize the house, with the thought that they’d be getting a fresh start and an opportunity to then focus on maintaining that clean house, rather than having to go through the challenging task of GETTING it to a clean state. I know that’s perhaps not a realistic approach –suddenly having a clean house isn’t going to mean that the homeowner will somehow be magically equipped with the ability to keep it clean.
But they’d still get to experience that clean house for at least a little while. And get a taste for it.
For me – I feel like I paid for the house-cleaning service and then ended up with the equivalent of a moderate level of tidiness. Or maybe one or two really clean rooms, but the rest still a mess. And I’m finding more and more that I have to fight an attitude of discouragement and disappointment. I wanted to know what it was like to have a CLEAN house.
I started my weight loss journey at a high weight of 345 lbs. This morning the scale read 256 lbs. That’s still amazing. I remember DREAMING about being within the reach of 250 lbs. And having maintained this loss for as long as I have is pretty amazing, too – I’ve experienced losing 30, 40, even 50 lbs, only to have it creep back on over a several months.
But now I feel stuck. I’ve fallen back into old habits, while maintaining newer, healthier habits, such as regular sessions of exercise. My habits seem to even each other out. I can’t seem to get away from the 250s.
I’ve had spurts of true focus on sticking to the “rules” of post-WLS eating and living thatI know I should follow…and I’ve seen myself get really REALLY close to 249…but it continues to elude me. I should also share that a few months ago I started to see the scale actually creep UP a few pounds, which prompted one of those episodes of laser-focus, and I was able to bring myself back down to the 255 range….but still, I couldn’t seem to get lower.
I’ve continued with counseling and my counselor and I theorize that there is more going on. I got down to the 260s once before, in college, but otherwise, this is the lowest I’ve weighed in my adult life, and she suggests there may be something psychological keeping me from moving further, perhaps something that needs to be dislodged and brought to the surface – what a terrifying idea.
I mentioned my perfectionist tendencies earlier, which go hand in hand with a hearty fear of failure. I realize I often find myself wrestling with thoughts like “What if I really, really commit to upping my activity and watching my food intake…and the scale still doesn’t move?” To me, this is a form of failure, and I finding I’m not one of those who would rather try and fail than to not have tried at all. I don’t want to try unless I know the odds are strongly in my favor that I will succeed.
It takes a certain amount of faith for me to believe that my efforts are going to result in success.
I did successfully complete the 5 Day Pouch Test a few months ago, and it was an enlightening experience. That’s how I was able to stop the pounds from creeping back on, and I rediscovered the tightness of my pouch as well as my sensitivity to simple carbohydrates…my body does dump, but it’s like a low-grade, ick feeling that I can easily accustom myself to if I’m not careful.
Last week, my mother spoke with a woman in her Weight Watchers class that was in a similar situation to me: She had WLS and found her weight loss stalled about halfway from where she wanted to be. So what did she do? She joined Weight Watchers and suggested I might consider the same.
Weight Watchers is what I was doing before I had surgery.
I really didn’t imagine that I’d have WLS and find myself, a year later, considering joining Weight Watchers again because I’m STILL, technically, and obese person.
But I may. And how crazy is that?
So where am I now in this journey?
I’m figuring that out. I’m working on being at peace with where I’m at, no matter where that may be. And I’m figuring out how I want to move forward, and being at peace with that, too.
Am I glad I had WLS? Without a doubt, YES.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
…but there are things I would do differently, and I would definitely want to be able to go back knowing the things I know now.
In my experience, life post-op is proving to be a lot of work. A LOT. It’s not that I didn’t realize it would be a lot of work…but I didn’t realize it would be quite so much. And I guess I really didn’t have an understanding of what such diligence and effort would feel like – how much it would truly require of me.
What I’m figuring out now is that this is MY story…I’m finally stepping away from comparisons to the experiences and successes of other folks who have had WLS, even consciously choosing to not go to certain WLS support groups when I’ve realized they’ve been causing me more harm that support.
This is MY story to write…and it’s perfectly OK that it be completely different from everyone else’s.
I still want to know what it feels like to be less than 200 lbs. as an adult…
I still want to know what it feels like to run a 5k, non-stop…
I still want to know the feeling of buying something smaller than a 1x or XL…
And I still feel confident that I can get there. Just how I’m going to get there, and how long it will take me…that’s the part I’m working on now.
So that’s where I’m at.