Are you bitter?

by Christine on March 29th, 2013

filed under Christine's Life Updates

This week I had an opportunity to chat with a perfect stranger about my weight loss and issues related to it. The conversation kind of came up in a roundabout way, the way these things do these days.  Usually they talk about their own attempt to lose weight, and I chime in with my own experiences, and they say, “Wow, you’ve lost over 100 pounds?” And then I pull out my phone and show them a “before” picture. Two things happen then: They either say, “Holy shit, you don’t even look like the same person!” or they say, “Awe, you look as good now as you did then.”  It’s funny how reactions can be lumped into one of the two categories.

This particular gentleman that I was speaking to, Bob, was sharing that he coaches women’s sports at his local high school. He volunteers his time coaching softball, soccer, and basketball. He said there is one young girl that plays multiple sports (it’s a small school district), and he has noticed recently that he treats her differently because of her weight. Bob gives her less playing time than the other girls. He puts her in positions that require less effort (for example, outfield instead of shortstop, etc). He forgets to even think about her when he’s coming up with drills and plans. Bob is less friendly to her in person. He said she’s a very smart girl, very sweet, with a heart of gold. And she tries very hard at all the sports. So it’s really just her weight that causes him to treat her differently. Bob wanted to know how people have treated me differently now versus when I was overweight.

I had YET ANOTHER conversation along this same line with a very dear friend of mine, who we shall call John. John is, shall we say, an adventuresome lover. He has many lovers. He finds women attractive and enjoys sex with them. But there is one woman that has made it clear that she is attracted to him, and he said he is not attracted to her…..yes, because of her weight. John feels terrible about this and feels very self-conscious about his lack of attraction for this woman. He feels like a terrible person and wants badly to be more open-minded. And yet, his attraction…it is what it is.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this more times than I can count. The one that stands out to me is a crush I had on my friend Terry. We spent TONS of time together, even slept (yes, sleep…not sex) together all the time. We had many fun adventures together. I made it clear that I liked him, and one day he was finally honest with me and said, “Look, you are a nice girl, I’m glad we are friends and spend time together. But I’m just not attracted to you. I like girls that are a LOT thinner than you.”

I was crushed. Terribly crushed. It made me hate and loathe myself even more than I did before. But at the same time, I appreciated the HONEST response. “I’m not attracted to you because of your weight” was a whole hell of a lot more honest than, “I just don’t think we’re meant to be together” or some other bullshit like that.

I shared some of my experiences with Bob, and he was very attentive. He said he feels like a terrible person because of how he treats this girl on his sports team. He said he will not forget our conversation anytime soon, that my openness and candor meant a lot to him. He said that our conversation only reinforces that he needs to do a lot better job being a better person. It was one of the nicest compliments I’ve had in a long time.

But Bob asked me, “Are you ever bitter?  You know…bitter when people are nice to you now? Bitter because people weren’t nice to you before?” 

Hmmm. Now that is a complicated question.

Yes.

And no.

Yes: I mean, of course I’m bitter that I spent some 30 years of my life trapped in a body that I did not want. A body I did everything within my power to change.  I’m bitter that, for as much as I hated myself (oh, and I did!) the way people treated me only made me hate myself that much more.  I’m bitter for all the opportunities that were lost to me: opportunities to make friends, opportunities to date, even work opportunities. I’m bitter that people judge so much based on appearances and not based on the content of your heart and soul.

And no. I’m grateful for the fact that people are nice to me today, regardless of WHY they are being nice to me. I’m grateful for the smiles I get at the corner store. I’m grateful for the little flirts and smiles I get from guys. I’m grateful that I have the chance TODAY to meet new people, make new friends, have new opportunities. I’m grateful TODAY that my life is so much better.

Throughout all these conversations, it just reinforces to me over and over how TERRIFIED I am that I’ll someday gain my weight back.  I’ve felt the change in how people treat me. I’ve felt the change in how I treat myself. Even these conversations this week just demonstrate to me that people DO treat overweight people differently. I don’t want to go back. Oh, I’m so scared to go back.

There’s one positive to all this: my husband married me when I was at my fattest. I’m SO GRATEFUL for that. Because I know that he loves me for ME, not for how I look.  And I have hope that if I ever gained weight back, he would still love and respect me. That means the world to me! I am very grateful to have him in my life.

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2 Year Maintenance Anniversary

by Christine on December 28th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Hello Revolutionists! Is everyone enjoying this holiday season?

I realize that it has been a while since I’ve posted! The reason for this is mainly because I haven’t really had a lot to talk about with regards to my gastric band and weight loss. In fact, I seem to be holding steady with my weight loss and doing pretty well overall, which is great!

A few months ago (October/November) I started to notice a change in my eating patterns. First, I was eating a lot more quantity than I normally would, and the food wasn’t making me feel “full.” Secondly, I stopped snacking throughout the day and was relying only on 3 larger meals per day.  Thirdly, I was having less barfing episodes and blockage.

And…the scale was going up. Just a little bit, but enough to make me start to panic a little. (My “goal weight” is 125 pounds, and I was at about 133 pounds at this point.) So I made an appointment with my surgeon’s office and had a fill. It had been a year since my last fill, so he gave me about 1.0 ccs — a big fill!!

Although it’s not my “sweet spot” and where I want to be — I think I need another medium-sized adjustment to get there — it has made a big difference. I’m eating less, feeling fuller for longer.  And my weight has crept back down. I was at 127.0 this morning: right within my maintenance zone!

I still haven’t picked up my exercise the way that I should, but that’s not to say that I’ve been entirely sedentary. I’ve been doing a vigorous yoga class every Sunday morning. When I say “vigorous,” I mean, it’s a class designed for INSTRUCTORS of yoga, who know what they’re doing. We do crazy arm balances and contortions of the type that you see on magazine covers. It’s really hard, but really fun!

Other than yoga, I am not doing anything on a regular basis, but I keep busy with miscellaneous activities. This fall I was rollerblading and hiking a bit. This weekend I am going to start downhill skiing on a regular basis through the winter.

My weight has adjusted on my body; that is to say, my body shape is changing. My Size 4 pants are fitting a little tight on me…it seems that my hips and butt have taken on some weight. So it’s a Size 6 for me. I’m trying not to stress out about this because it’s not like the scale has dramatically gone up. I keep telling myself that it’s normal for my weight to re-position itself on my body after losing so much weight, like it needed a “settling in” period.  That being said, I feel like this is a less than optimal change.

And I’ve been busy with some trips this fall, too! I ran away to Jamaica for an overnight trip with a friend, I spent a weekend in San Antonio, I took the hubby to a relaxing weekend in Lake Placid, and we spent Thanksgiving in Atlantic City. We have a lot of exciting trips planned in the next few months as well: a ski trip, a weekend in Boston, a few weeks in the UK, etc. I can’t wait!

Here are some pictures of the last few months, to show that I’m still in my maintenance zone!

Last but not least…a friend of mine had the gastric sleeve surgery just a few days before Christmas! Good luck with your journey, Karen! I can’t wait to see your progress!

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A blip in “maintenance mode…”

by Christine on February 23rd, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery

Well, I’ve been driving this “maintenance mode” gravy train for a little over a year, and I’ve noticed that my weight has gone up and down a little bit (say, 5 pounds) but it has stayed well within range.

However, I can feel the weight creeping up right now. I’m at about 8 pounds higher than my Goal Weight. Although I have actually kicked up my exercise a little bit (which isn’t really saying a lot…I was doing NOTHING before…now I’m squeezing in 2 days a week worth of exercise) I have noticed that my portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger. I’m hungry all the time. I’m eating too much. And I’m not feeling the restriction that my band gives me when it’s just right.

I’m going to give myself 2 weeks to try to get this under control on my own. That is to say, I’m going to crack down on my portion sizes, cut out the sweets that keep creeping into my diet, and eat 6 small mini-meals a day. When I was actively and successfully losing weight, my diet consisted of something like this:

8 a.m. Yogurt & coffee (150 calories worth approx.)
10 a.m.: cheese & crackers (150 calories worth approx.)
Noon: canned soup (150 calories worth approx.)
2 p.m.: fresh fruit  (100 calories worth approx.)
4 p.m.: Almonds (100 cals worth), skim milk
6 p.m.: 3 oz of meat (chicken, fish, or steak) with some fresh veggies (150 calories worth approx.)
8 p.m.: 100 calories worth of chocolate for a treat.

That’s what worked for me in the past, so that’s what I’m going to try to stick to this time. 2 weeks…and if it’s not working for me, then I’ll schedule a little fill with my bariatric surgeon.

I know that the gastric band leaks very very very slowly over time, so it’s not unusual to find it more “roomy” as time goes on. Lots of gastric banders get fills once a year or so to keep it tweaked just right. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t want to rely 100% in the band and get lazy with my food. I realize that I need to put out some effort into this as well. Now is that time! Rawr!

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Catching up on the mental aspects of weight loss

by Christine on December 5th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

On Friday I was hanging out with a friend, drinking some truth serum, and sharing insights. My friend shared that he thinks that my depression that I have been dealing with lately is due to a major identity crisis. “I don’t think that your head has really wrapped itself around the weight loss you have had,” he said. “And I don’t think you’ve really figured out who you want this new Christine to be.”

Huh.

You know, I think he is onto something, on both accounts. I don’t think I’ve really wrapped my head around my weight loss. Oh sure, I’ve had a jolly good time shopping for clothes in new, small sizes. I still get a major thrill whenever I buy something in a Size 2 or 4! I’ve embraced all the NSVs, and I’ve embraced the number on the scale. I have worked hard at Maintenance Mode, and one year later I’m doing pretty good with it.

But all of that stuff is external, really. I definitely haven’t embraced the image I see in the mirror. I still battle with the urge to lose MORE weight, and I definitely do not have an accurate vision of what my body truly looks like. My weight loss has had an impact on the relationships that I have with other people. I’ve lost several friends due to their jealousy over my weight loss. I interact with people–especially men–in a completely different way. I flirt, and I’ve never done that before. I am not used to the attention I get. I have difficulty looking people in the eyes; I’m still afraid of what I see reflected back at me. Scorn? Disgust? Nothing at all?

I could go on and on. There’s a lot of mental and emotional stuff to embrace with a major weight loss, and I definitely haven’t addressed a lot of those mental issues. It’s funny to me that I’m coming to this realization 3 years after my surgery, and one year after reaching my goal weight.

But my friend was also right when he pointed out that I haven’t figured out who I want this new Christine to be.  I definitely don’t want to stay the same old Christine–the one that is afraid to look people in the eye, the one that’s filled with self-loathing, the one that many times would rather die than to embrace Life.  Who should New Christine be? What kinds of clothes should she wear? What kind of attitude should she have? How can New Christine interact with people in a more positive and rewarding way? How can New Christine go through life happier, with a more rewarding and fulfilling life?

Yup, this depression may very well be caused by a much larger identity crisis.

I’ve been trying to sort through that this weekend. Maybe even come up with some answers to that.

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Had a “huh” moment.

by Christine on August 23rd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yesterday hubby and I went out for drinks & dinner with my friend Billi and her soon-to-be husband Michael. Billi mentioned something about my weight loss and that someone mentioned & noticed how much weight I had lost. (Yay, that’s so nice to hear! Thank you!)

But then she mentioned something about me needing to be done now, and I just kind of blurted out, I’d like to lose another 20 pounds. She looked at me like I was growing horns out of my ears or something.

“WHAT?” she asked me. “No way!”

What do you mean no way? I’m about 7 pounds up from my goal weight, so that is nearly half the weight right there.  And at 5’2 and 132 pounds I have a BMI of 24 pounds. Which is, yes, in that ideal healthy range, but only a  mere 2 BMI points away from being in the “Overweight” category. I’m on the cusp. It seems to me that a more reasonable place to be is right in the middle of “healthy,” which is a BMI of 21.5, which means I need to weigh…that’s right….117 pounds.  That’s about 15 pounds away from where I am right now.

Okay, so I modify my statement from yesterday. I guess I want to lose 15 pounds.

But does that make me a freak? Like, does that deserve a reaction like I’m growing horns? I don’t think so, but maybe it’s my eating disorderly past speaking up in my ear.

Or maybe it’s because I was so recently Obese…perhaps if a healthy woman who has been at a healthy 130 pounds all her life said that she wanted to lose a few pounds, maybe that would be acceptable, but for someone to have recently lost 100 pounds…now THAT is unreasonable to want a little more?

I’m not really sure. There seems to be a dichotomy about expectations floating around there, and I find it really weird.

Not that it really matters all that much. All that really matters is what I want; everyone else’s opinions are really kind of pointless in this matter. Except maybe my doctor, who gets to decide if I get a fill or not. His opinion matters, I suppose.

I’m leaving for a little trip tomorrow. I’m going to see my parents for the first time all year! I’m packing 3 pairs of workout clothes. Either I will go to their beautiful fitness club, I’ll play tennis, I’ll swim, I’ll go for a bike ride…no matter what, I want to stay active! I’m really looking forward to it!

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