The Only Constant is Change

Things that have changed since I’ve lost weight:

  • I eat less. My stomach can hold about 2, 3 ounces of food at a time. It makes eating out kind of awkward because I order a side or an appetizer and still end up leaving with a doggy bag.
  • The clothes I wore before I lost weight no longer fit– at least not very well. I have a pair of khaki capri pants I bought for my trip to Nola last year and they are now 3 or 4 sizes too big but the fabric is stiff enough that the pants still don’t fall down so I wear them as house pants. A light breeze would leave everyone with a view of my (way too big) underwear.
  • Speaking of clothes– I’m suddenly way into shopping now. I don’t know exactly why, because I shop at the same plus size stores just like before. But I think that the weight loss inspired me to buy new clothes (also, I made a commitment to a no pants lifestyle which meant I needed a new wardrobe).
  • I no longer chew gum. I no longer eat corn (popped, roasted, creamed, on the cob, whatever) or celery. I don’t drink caffeinated beverages or bubbly drinks. All I drink is water and it is depressing. I miss corn so damn much I can’t even really talk about it without getting really bummed out.
  • My digestive system seems so much louder. I can hear/feel my food moving around in my body, leaving my stomach and moving through my intestines. It’s really loud about it. Also gas. And I’m not very regular anymore. Another disappointment.
  • My hair is falling out. This is a side effect of the surgery and I KNEW it was going to happen so I’m not surprised but it’s a bit annoying. I think I’m going to start taking biotin to see if that will help with regrowth– hopefully this won’t be a side effect that lasts forever.
  • I pack all my foods in toddler sized tupperware to keep track of my portions. I get some weird looks at work about it, but no one asks about it which I appreciate.

 

Things that have NOT changed since I’ve lost weight:

  • I’m still depressed
  • I still deal with really bad self esteem and body image, and I have many days where I hate my body. I don’t see much change in how my body looks beyond more sagginess, more excess skin. I don’t find that to be terribly attractive, and I know it’s only going to get worse as I lose more weight.
  • I still have issues with food. I’m not going to diagnose myself with an eating disorder although I have been diagnosed in the past. However, I’m feeling the same feelings and using the same behaviors that I used when I was diagnosed, and I feel pretty out of control. I really wish this issue was simply part of my past but I’m beginning to realize that it’s part of my present and (most likely) my future.
  • I can still eat all the “bad” foods. I’ll feel physically ill, but not enough to learn my lesson. Just enough to make me feel like shit both physically and mentally. When I eat something with a regular amount of sugar I get a headache and feel like I’m going to throw up at any moment. I start to feel shaky and I have to lay down. It’s enough to make me feel regret, but not enough for me to never do it again.
  • I still don’t like people commenting on my body. I didn’t like it 80+ pounds ago, and I don’t like it now. I probably still won’t like it 80+ pounds from now. It’s not cool, stop doing it. There are probably a million cooler things about me than my weight or appearance. My body is not for your consumption. I’m not sure how many different ways I have to say it. JUST STOP.

 

Thoughts On Being Fat

I’m a member of a couple of wls groups on Facebook, I have an Instagram account that’s dedicated to my wls journey (I only follow wls accounts there, so it’s all weight loss pretty much all the time). I spend most of my screen time reading about weight loss stories, looking at before and “after” photos, bombarding my mind with images and narratives around losing weight. Most of the time (I would say probably 99% of the time) people talk about how happy they are being thinner than they were when they were fat. I understand that, I see why people want to put that message out there because there’s this idea that all fat people are (besides lazy and gross) totally miserable because they’re fat. If you’re depressed and fat, it’s not because you have a shitty job, or because you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, or because you’re going  through a rough patch in a relationship. It’s not because you just lost a loved one, or because people treat you like shit (because of aforementioned fatness) or because you’ve suffered trauma of some kind.

It’s because you’re fat, and you know it, and you hate it and hate yourself. So, the solution to that is to be thin. When you get thin, the depression will go away. And sure, some people (probably a small percentage) are depressed specifically about being fat and losing weight helps them feel better. But it’s not a cure all for all your woes. Also, not all fat people are depressed in general or depressed about being fat specifically, and that idea totally oversimplifies depression. I don’t know if you can tell, but the whole thing really grinds my gears. Continue reading

Today I’m 26

I wrote this post on my birthday last Wednesday. 

Today is my birthday. I’m 26 years old. It’s funny, I’ve been feeling 26 all year, so this birthday feels a bit redundant.

Last April I developed an ear infection in both ears. I suffered for the first few days, working and pretending that it didn’t hurt but it got worse and worse until I was unable to work anymore. I made a doctor’s appointment with the first available doctor at the Alameda kaiser, which was a huge mistake. The doctor I met with basically told me that he didn’t see an infection, that I was fine but how many times a week did I exercise? Asshole. despite the fact that you could see my ears were swollen, he gave me a prescription for some Tylenol for the pain he didn’t believe I really had and sent me on my way.

I woke up the next day in so much pain I began to cry in  that uncontrollable, please-gods-just-end-the-pain kind of way where it’s hard to even speak because the tears and the sobbing come out in bursts; you’ve broken the dam that holds you together and everything is falling out all at once and your body can’t decide whether or not your words or your sobs are more important. Not that it matters because they just flow out of you without your permission or control. This was the condition I was in as I went back  to the doctor’s office, this time meeting a different doctor who may have thought I was having an emotional breakdown. It was hard to even get to the office– all I could feel was the throbbing in my ears, which felt like it spread to the rest of my head. It was constant pain, even with the Tylenol it had raged on through the night, so I was exhausted and in pain and incredibly frustrated by the time I’d gotten to my second appointment. at this point I was so swollen my ears were sticking out, and there was no way any sane doctor could look at me and think there wasn’t an infection. I could barely handle the examination because it hurt to much to be touched, and obviously  the whole time I’m trying to fight back tears and failing.

This doctor agrees that there is indeed an infection, but he’s not going to give me antibiotics. Instead he’s going to give me a vinegar solution (something that I could probably have done at home and could have saved myself a trip) and some extra strength tylenol. I felt defeated. When were these doctors going to take me seriously? Could they not see that I was obviously in pain? Where did they get their degrees? Did Kaiser just find these men on the street and think, yeah they’ll be fine. Just stick them in the office and hopefully no one dies.

I sobbed all the way down to the pharmacy and continued as I waited to see my name pop up on the screen on the wall, you know, the one that lets you know your prescription is ready. I sat there, out in the open, and cried like a baby, unashamed and a little bit unaware of who was around me. I didn’t care that I was a grown ass adult. I was hurt, physically and emotionally. And those doctors made me feel like my pain didn’t matter,  that I didn’t matter. I was just another faceless patient to them, and they couldn’t be bothered to provide me with quality medical care.

And then, out of nowhere, this older black lady walks up to me. She doesn’t know me, in fact we’ve never met before. She doesn’t ask me what’s wrong or even ask me my name. She looks me in the eye and tells me that everything is going to be okay. I think I may have mustered up a thank you through the crying.

She asks me if her prayer group can pray for me, and I say yes. Can you imagine that? She asks me if it’s okay if she and her friends pray for me! At the time I was to inward to really care, and I of course said yes because I knew in that moment that I really needed support and I was gonna take whatever I could get. But her small act of kindness…. I’m not sure if she knows how much it meant to me, even a year later. She saw me when I felt invisible. She saw my pain and validated it. That didn’t make the pain go away, but it made it slightly easier to bear. It was a reminder that the pain was only temporary and I wasn’t going to feel this way forever. And I appreciated her asking if it was okay for her to pray for me because it was her recognizing that even if she is connected with the Divine in a certain way, I might not be– I mean, she didn’t know me or my personal beliefs and she didn’t make assumptions. She made me feel like a person.

Today, I turn 26. And I feel invisible. So I’m remembering this woman, this moment when a stranger came up to me and said I see you, and you matter.