I wrote in a previous post about my weight but I didn’t share any “before” pictures. I think the concept of “before” leads to an inevitable “after” but there really is no after in weight loss. It’s lifelong process. There will never be an “after” for me because I will always have a love of food. It’s something that I have to manage and it can be tough.
I once dated someone who had no love of food. It was just Fuel Based Economy to him. He ate because he had to or he’d die. My mind just couldn’t grasp that… in reality it still doesn’t. Food for me was always a source of comfort. Some get their daily dopamine happy from running, alcohol, or heroin. I got mine from the bottom of many pints of Ben & Jerry’s.
One of the hardest concepts for people unfamiliar with Gastric Bypass surgery is the idea of how hard this journey can be. Surgery is merely a tool to help you along. You don’t just have surgery and go back to living your life like you did before and lose a ton of weight. You will lose in the beginning but the art of it all is in how you maintain.
As time goes by you begin to see your old thought patterns returning. You convince yourself that you can do this just once. Back in August 2015, I had just hit my 9 month mark and I felt like I had slowed down. I was still working hard but I wasn’t feeling like my efforts were showing. Here’s the picture and corresponding text from that post:
“As I head into my 9th month after #RNY #Gastric #Bypass it gets harder and harder to see the results of the work. The dramatic weight loss of the early months slow down and I think I was subconsciously feeling like I wasn’t doing enough and the results have stopped. The first pic is from my niece’s birthday party at the beginning of the month and then yesterday. The “weight” may not feel like much but the picture shows so much more. The definition of my face is changing, the light in my eyes is brighter and I can SEE how much better I feel.
This lifestyle is challenging yet so many will tell me how I took the “easy way out.” Food is everywhere, easily accessible and the worst stuff is often cheap and convenient. It’s a conscious decision making process everyday and when you’ve used food to cope with life and emotions for 30 years it isn’t “easy” to change that no matter how you choose to lose weight.
Food addiction is real. Sugar addiction is real. Emotional eating is real. Fighting ANY addiction is a challenge but imagine telling a heroin addict to simply have three small responsible hits of heroin a day. You wouldn’t advise that but people often unknowingly provide this advice to me daily.
No matter how you lose weight it will be challenging. There will be good advice and bad advice everywhere. You will be surrounded by food on every corner, every social event, and every time someone brings snacks to your lunchroom at work. You will look and your brain may say you’re hungry, your mind will try to convince you that just this time is ok but you know that you don’t eat yourself to nearly 400 lbs because you have a “just one” mentality. You dig deep, you pray big, and you drink a glass of water like its a Big Mac and remember how you wear clothes you like not just because they fit. You remember that this is the first summer of your life you aren’t wearing a thin sweater over everything to shield your arms, you aren’t sweating like crazy and out of breath all the time and your knees aren’t giving out everyday. And you take your glass of water and walk away.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Every single day… forever.
And this pic shows me its worth it. Forever.”
See what I mean? The “after” concept would lead me to believe that at some point this is all over. That I will one day hit this golden number and my life will sail smoothly into the weight sunset and I will have arrived! No, much like anything worth doing it will take a lifetime of effort, focus, and determination.
There are a lot of people who have had front row seats on my weight roller coaster over the past 30 years and I would be naive to think that there aren’t a couple of them secretly waiting for my next epic failure. Sometimes I wonder if that person waiting quietly in the wings for me to fail… is me. I’ve had plenty of experience in failure but none with long term success. Weight is a battle fought largely in my mind before it ever gets to my waist! With this in mind I will post pictures with dates and never with crazy, ambitious titles like BEFORE and AFTER and proceed on this journey one day at a time (sometimes one MOMENT at a time) keeping focused on staying the course not merely arriving.