“When I am thin, I will be good enough to be treated with respect. Until then I am not worth it. I am a failure in life no matter how great my accomplishments are. I am a failure because I am fat. I should be made fun of and ridiculed and be made to sit apart from those that are normal. When I am thin, I will have no problems getting a job, finishing school, finding a spouse, fitting in. When you are thin you are accepted, and I want to be accepted. I have learned that you will never be good enough unless you are thin.”
I wrote this during my first year of college. In 1990. At that time, I was about 250 pounds. Little did I know that at my heaviest I would be almost double that.
Putting Off Life
This blog follows the last 18 years since my gastric bypass and my longing to be thin and finding out that it doesn’t matter. Many women put off their lives until they are thin. For some, that means losing 5 or 10 pounds, for others like me it meant losing 300 pounds. The number doesn’t matter; the waiting to be thin for your life to begin is the problem. Being thin doesn’t make you a better person it just means you take up less space. Being thin doesn’t make you a good person if you weren’t one to begin with. When you are thin, jerks are still jerks, perverts are still perverts and you are still you. The only thing that changes is your dress size.
I’ve always been overweight. In elementary and high school I was always the biggest girl in the class. In college instead of the freshman 15 I gained the freshman 50. I have always been an overachiever. 😊 I was wearing a size 24 when I got married in 1993 and over the next few years I had gone up to a tight size 28. I, like many women, have always associated the size of my body with the amount of love and respect that I deserve. The larger the body the smaller the amount of love and respect that I deserve. Since I was the one setting that standard for my life that was all I would expect. I know in my heart that I am a good person no matter what the size of my body is but my brain sometimes gets in the way.
What Do You Mean I’m Obese?
In high school, I was so desperate not to be that biggest girl in the school that I would live on aspirin for a week at a time. The aspirin would coat my stomach enough that it wouldn’t growl during class. I would skip breakfast in the morning then tell my friends at lunch that I had a big breakfast, or I had to do homework, or I didn’t feel well. Dinner was usually serve yourself, so it wasn’t that hard to say I’ll grab something later or I’ve already eaten. I was able to lose weight that way, but it was never a permanent solution. I have tried a few of the diet pills that are out on the market, they seem to work but most of them make me nauseous. While that is one way to lose weight I have found that it’s difficult to live life nauseous.
In 1997, the doctor weighed me in at 318 pounds. I had put off going to the doctor for 4 years because I didn’t want the weight lecture. Well, the doctor told me I had high blood pressure, a high sodium level and I was obese. OBESE! I always thought obese people were the ones that you saw on talk shows that hadn’t left their houses in years because they couldn’t get out the door. I couldn’t be obese. I went to work every day, I could walk, bathe myself and I didn’t have to wear a mu mu. I am not obese. I’m just heavy.
The doctor actually didn’t give me much of a lecture because I acted happy about being 318. I lied and told her that I was down from 350 from 5 months ago. She basically told me to keep up the good work and to increase my exercise to 30 minutes every day. In the week after that, the only exercise I did was a short hike with my husband and my dogs. Even that felt like I was going to die. I was so out of breath after a short hill that I thought my heart would explode. It made me think, “Oh God, maybe I really am obese.”
In 1997, we had been trying to get pregnant for 4 years. With every negative pregnancy test, I became more depressed and used food to comfort myself. We had also started to do fertility treatments and the hormone fluctuations made me feel out of control and how much I ate was something that was still in my control. By 2001, I had blown up to over 450 pounds and still no baby.
In 2002, I was almost 500 pounds and I made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery. I was so afraid of dying during surgery but was more afraid of continuing to live the half-life that I had been living. My highest weight was 494 and my weight on my day of surgery was 474 pounds. July 2, 2020, was my 18-year surgiversary. I have kept almost 300 pounds off through 20 moves, 3 kids, a divorce, and a new marriage. Losing weight doesn’t make you a different person. A part of me knew that going in but that didn’t stop me from thinking that my whole life would change if I could just be thin. Being thin will not make you a better spouse, friend, or employee. It has taken me a long time to understand that. Losing weight can help you find the courage that was in you all along but was hidden.