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Losing Weight and Gaining Me

Today was an emotional day for me. It marks exactly two years that I made the decision to CHOOSE LIFE! Like many others, I have struggled with weight as long as I can remember. I bought my outfit for high school senior pictures at Lane Bryant (plus size store for women). I snuck my dad's book out of the house in middle school that he bought on weight loss and sat by myself at the lunch table everyday for a week to figure out what the secret was that everyone seemed to know but me. I discretely bought my first diet pills at 15 years old. My mom invested in an at-home weight loss program for the both of us to get healthy by age 18. I truly do not recall a time in my life that weight hasn't been an issue or a topic.

Weight almost ruined my marriage. I didn't feel attractive, and that feeling made me think there was no way my wife would find me attractive. If you don't feel good, you certainly can't make anyone else feel good. That feeling of disgust of my naked body halted any talks of anything sexual happening, which frankly was unacceptable for a woman in her 20s. My poor wife didn't even get the benefit of marrying someone eight years younger, when people in there 70s were putting out more than me. Anytime we fought, I ate. Anytime there wasn't an "appetizer" waiting on me while she cooked, we fought. Eating was EVERYTHING for me. It was rare to not see me eating. I stopped by McDonald's on the way home from work to eat, threw away the evidence, got home, had an appetizer, and then I had dinner. I didn't even know how to stop.

My wife tried helping by offering to work out with me, buy fun things to do outdoors to keep me active, but that just infuriated me more. I can be pessimistic and look at the glass is half empty, so for me, it was difficult to be positive when I knew I needed to lose over 100 pounds. I was so used to hearing people talk about needing to lose 5-10 pounds which was SO annoying. I just thought to myself how that would literally show no difference on me. Nonetheless, I kept battling the weight war and tried all types of online programs, in-person programs, diet pills, diet programs, you name it. I almost dare you to name a program I haven't tried.

I could write an entire novel about my weight wars, so let's speed this up. I had been talking to my wife, Stacey for years about my interest in gastric surgery. Stacey will barely take ibuprofen, so the thought of me having surgery was simply not going to happen. I broke her down enough after five years of begging to just go to a consultation for gastric surgery. I'm honestly glad that it took that long, because by the time I went, I was broken and ready. Because Stacey is my wife, she couldn't see the morbid obesity. By the time we walked out of the surgeon's office for a consultation, Stacey was asking the office how fast could they schedule me. She was frightened for the first time. Her love colored shades were off, and she finally realized how serious my weight had become. The words, "she is double the amount of weight she should be" scared Stacey. The scheduling office started telling Stacey how it would take about eight months as I would have to do six months of nutrition classes among other tests per my insurance requirements. Stacey immediately threw a credit card out and asked what it would take to get the surgery done asap and leave insurance out of it. Six weeks later, November 9, 2015, I was having the gastric sleeve surgery!

I was cautiously optimistic. I only knew how to fail, so as the months went by and I kept losing instead of gaining weight, I gained a little more confidence. I kept replaying my surgeon's words in my head "it's just a tool". The sleeve isn't the silver bullet. It's just a tool! OMG! WHAT?! It's not just magic? I have to literally be healthy? I couldn't disappoint Stacey or me. I chose to have surgery at a point that we had twin one year old boys that I couldn't lift anymore or help out with as I was laid up in the bed. Stacey worked, plus took care of the boys and me alone. What had I done? I could NOT fail. I could NOT disappoint anyone. I went back to work after two weeks and immediately started working out twice a day. I even did my first 5k three weeks after surgery. I had to stay focused, which was very difficult. My dream was only to make it to ONEderland. That's what we know in the heftier community as weighing in the 100s. I WAS ALMOST 300 POUNDS TO START WITH! My dad was so encouraging, as he was on a weight loss journey of his own. It was depressing knowing that I weighed more than my dad, and I was 32 years old.

Now, two years after that decision, I KNOW the decision Stacey and I made was the one for me. It was the path I needed to take. I am healthy. I am happy. I am free. -- Not totally free. I am still a woman, and I am still someone who struggled with weight for far more years than not, so I still have days that I see a big girl in the mirror. I have days that I feel that I haven't made enough progress, but I keep pushing. I eat healthy food. I cook healthy food for my family. I work out daily. I move around. I surround myself with people who motivate me. I am not that same girl that walked into surgery on November 9, 2015 unsure of the future. I am now that "annoying" girl that says, "I need to lose 5 pounds".

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