Monday, April 19, 2010

T minus 50 and counting

I've lost 50 pounds since October.

Before I say anything else, let me tell you that I will ALWAYS be fat. I am what I am, and what I am is fat. Just the way it is.

But I am much less fat than I used to be. Here is a mega-unattractive picture of me taken Christmas Day 2004 when I was at my top weight. (I mean, at least I could have shown you a smiling picture, right?) I was diabetic, hypertensive, and it was sheer hell just trying to get around.

In 2005, at the behest of my beloved chiropractor, I started dieting even though I don't believe in dieting. I also decided to have adjustable lap band surgery because it is the only effective treatment for chronic obesity. The docs don't let you waltz in and get cut, however. You have to jump through hoops upon hoops of doctor visits, medical tests, psychiatric evals, and dammit, dieting. So I got started. I lost 75 pounds by February 2006; this picture was taken the night before the surgery.

The surgery went well - truly a simple outpatient procedure for me. But almost as soon as I got home, I left my husband. He HATED that I was losing weight; he wanted me to weigh 500 pounds and therefore lamented my shrinking form every time we had sex. While I loved having a man who was so attracted to me, I didn't want to have to be unhealthy to keep him. Plus we had other issues, too. In the end, my marriage crumbled like so many others - believe it or not, 80 percent of marriages fail after a spouse has weight loss surgery.

But despite the stress of impending divorce, my weight continued to fall off. Before I knew it, I'd lost another 75 pounds. I was still fat, but I was no longer diabetic nor hypertensive - the two greatest achievements in my long battle with weight. Feeling more attractive, I started dating like a mad woman. I literally went out with 100 men in 18 months which was exciting, fun, scary, and frankly dangerous. But I looked pretty good and felt great.

The dating craziness finally ended when I met Tom 2.5 years ago. That's the good news. The bad news: I then gained back over 50 pounds. Why? Because I'm nuts and food is my first line of defense. I also stopped going to the doctor and getting my band filled. And frankly, even though I'm ashamed to say this, I wanted to see if Tom would stick with me if I gained weight. He did, God bless him.

Last October, after meeting a knitter online who has also had lapband surgery, I decided to go back to the doctor and get my band filled. I've made the other necessary changes, too and have now lost that 50 pounds I'd gained. I am very grateful. To watch my progress, just compare the three sweaters I've made in the past six months (click on the image to see a larger view). Again, I'm still fat. Always will be. But I'm less fat and that's a good thing.

I'm a little concerned about writing today's post because I know some ample women despise weight loss surgery. If that's your case, know that I honor your opinion and wholy support fat acceptance.

But I need to do what I need to do - and I'm doing it. My goal? I'd like to lose another 50 pounds which is likely the most I can hope to lose; with weight loss surgery, the more you weigh when you start, the larger you'll be when you finish.

The doctor now regularly advocates for me to have a tummy tuck and breast lift. The point is not to be a bathing beauty but to help my back. A little unsure, I'm contemplating these next steps carefully. But even if I lose 50 more pounds and have these cosmetic procedures done, too, I'll still be a fat woman. It's just the way it is.

As I said, I am what I am. And no matter what my size, that's okay.


  1. Brava! This is a very brave post. I honor you for making it, and I think no one should ever criticize what *you* decide to do with *your* body. It's okay to express love as concern, it's not okay for any human being ever to suggest that the choices I make for ME are the choices you should make for YOU.

    By the way, I think your new sweater fits just fine. It doesn't look baggy at all -- except I can see what you mean about the sleeves being too long. I don't think you need to adjust the body at present -- although at the rate you're going with weight loss? Maybe later. But cross that bridge when you get to it. Right now the sweater looks perfect on you!


  2. Thanks, Trace... it was pretty hard to write. I appreciate your support.

    And agree with you about the sweater size, too. I'm going to leave it as is... if I lose more weight and it's too big next fall, I'll sew up the side seams a bit and the top of the sleeves, too.

    And I'm definitely going to fix the sleeve length. I know I won't wear it if it's not right, anal retentive mother that I am. :-)

  3. OMG Julie!!! The contrast! You look a decade younger w/o all that weight!
    As you know, I too had that same surgery, but am having a difficult time losing. I congratulate and ENVY you for your success.
    Continue and inspire at the same time.
    You have found a better guy in Tom, for sure.
    I wish the 2 of you much happiness.
    Thanks for writing this ..Honesty takes risk..a lot of risk and vulnerability.
    But it helps oneself and others at the same time.You give service in several ways in maintaining this blog. Gratitude on this end.(another 12 stepper here)
    Thanks look fabulous!

  4. Teresa, all I can say is PERSEVERE. I'm four years out from surgery and I'm still on the post WLS bandwagon. As the woman from my doctor's office said, weight loss surgery really only gives you a halfway decent chance of dieting. Truer words were never spoken.

    Thanks for all the kind words and your on-going friendship and support. Couldn't have done it without you!

  5. What a wonderful brave post. You are a beautiful and amazing woman.

  6. You are so lucky you were screened so thoroughly for the banding. Most people who have banding in Australia (and nearly all banding patients who don't live in major cities) don't get any screening past a ten minute initial consult with the surgeon. It is literally "Ok you weight this much, you are this tall, when do you want the surgery?". It is incredible. And then there is no follow up other than fills - no psychological screening or follow up, no dietitian or nutritionist, no exercise therapist - nothing. I think it is really dangerous approaching banding like that but people are so entrenched in fat hate that they think it is ok - anything to get rid of fat people! I am glad you seem to be having a good journey with your banding and you look very happy (esp with Tom!). Best of luck to you!

  7. Cynthia, thank you so much for your kind, supportive words - and for reading my blog, too.

    Bri, I think my surgeon is the one who is so diligent about prescreening. I wouldn't say the experience went flawlessly - I despised the shrink they have on staff who has never been fat and doesn't have a CLUE about what it's like to be obese, for example. But the follow-up care, especially since I returned to get my band filled, has been superlative. Their only intention is to help me lose weight and I am grateful for their support. And yours, too, btw!

  8. I don't know why someone would want to criticize your choice. Feeling good about yourself is vital to happiness... but diabetes and hypertension and degrading joints doesn't bring hapiness. Illness is pain and misery.
    Healthy and heavy is one thing, heavy and ill... not good.
    I'm so glad that this procedure has worked out so well for you;that you are healthier and happier, and have changed many things in your life to the better.
    Best of luck with continued success and strength!
    And I agree with the first poster... shorten the sleeves, but maybe wait another little while to narrow the body. No sense having to do the steeking thing over again, and it doesn't look so bad now!

  9. What a great post! I love the fact that you've had so many lovely photos taken of you. I just might try to follow your example - just for the sake of my kids - so that they don't have an invisible mama in the albums :-) PS - if you kitchener the sleeves right above the patterned part, any irregularities in tension are much less obvious. BTDT!

  10. Congrats Julie!

    Losing weight is not easy no matter what route one takes to accomplish the end goal. I know first hand how losing a significant amount of weight does improve your life/health. I lost over 80 pounds during the time I was laid-off work (18 months) from depression, changed eating habits and lack of funds to spend on more food than absolutely necessary. Now I'm working and relatively happy, I am struggling to maintain the weight loss. Good for you for continuing your efforts!

    :D Anita

  11. Congrats on the weight loss Julie. No one has the right to criticize someone who wants to do what it takes to be healthier. You look amazing. As one who's been on a Yoyo ride for the past 20 years, I know how hard it is to loose weight and how easy it is to gain it back. Keep up doing what you're doing.

    Michèle :)

  12. I commend you for your thoughtful and incisive post regarding your medical adventures. It seems as if you really considered what would be best for you and not how you would appear to the outside world. While I still don't advocate weight loss surgery because of the spectacularly high failure rate, I think you are one of the sweet and wonderful exceptions and I am so glad you are here.

  13. Oh! and the sleeves are too long on the new sweater, I agree with your plans to adjust them. It makes you look like a little mischievous girl posing in your mom's sweater.


    Thanks to all of you for the kind words and for showing up and reading my blog on a regular basis. I applaud you, too!