Archive for the ‘Weight Loss Surgery’ Category
08/04/2008 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
As I have said many times, the weight loss surgery field is so very new and EVERYONE is learning new stuff every day. It isn’t that the people in charge are bad people….they are learning just like everyone else is but somewhere, sometime back in WLS prehistoric times, someone thought it was a good idea to tell you not to have unrealistic expectiations.
Digging into my deepest core feelings, I said “I don’t think that’s good!”
Here are the reasons….
It all started when I heard a bariatric doc say that we should not have unrealistic expectations. He said not to expect to get to the weight you were when you married.
What if you got married three years ago? My brain interpreted it this way. “Ok little fat girl…we know you are less than and can’t do things we regular people can do.”
Granted… this is more than unfair because it was what I heard. For me, it was comparable to telling the “fat girl” that she could only make a C on the test instead of an A.
I am currently at the exact weight I was at my very smallest in college (35 years ago). I starved myself for two years just to be thin.
When I was challenged by my teachers in school, I performed. I had one teacher that seated us according to our grades. If you made an A on the last report card, you sat at the front table. Guess where I was sitting??
The front table.
My dad was really strict but I only had to make a C to maintain my privileges and that’s pretty much what I made if I was uninterested or unchallenged in class.
When I went to college I had the priviledge of choosing my classes and because I loved music and the courses I took, I was on the dean’s list. I knew I could do it if I wanted to. I also knew I could do this weight loss surgery thing and succeed….mostly because I blindly believed with my entire soul that it was my last chance and I was going to prove that I could do this! Believing it from the very beginning, knowing it was the answer, and making promises I wouldn’t mess up this miracle was what I needed to make it happen. That’s a subject for another blog entry but for now I wanted to address this unrealistic expectation concept.
I don’t know if it’s the same for others as it was for me, but telling me I couldn’t do something was probably not the way to go for someone who was pretty sure she was a failure because of obesity. Being a master and always first in line to beat myself up, I could do a bang up job all by myself. Perhaps it is because of the quote below…. that I put so much stock into what we have to say….the people who have walked this path.
“No one can lead you down a path that they haven’t been.”
I look forward to the day that we as patients can contribute to the programs designed for us because we have so much to offer and I’m ecstatic when there are professionals that totally get what’s going on with us. It seems to be getting better every day!
Below you’ll see the video that chronicles the changes in my life due to weight loss surgery.
Wow….what a joy to be “Living My Life!”
hugs and blessings, Yvonne
aka Bariatric Girl
07/28/2008 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
This will be a reoccurring theme in this blog because after all, it is about the positive side of weight loss. Stuff I have done, stuff I can do, stuff that has happened because weight loss surgery made it possible. Believe me…I am well aware that my brain had to follow but it was because I was able to get to a manageable size that I allowed me to try some things that I would have never done. This will explain what led up to winning the contest mentioned in my previous post.
A couple of months ago I was standing in Starbucks and saw a poster on the bulletin board. It said Cesar dog food was hosting a small dog contest at the mall near me. Online there were details about the only two mall contests and one of them was in Dallas!
My first reaction was “I want to do this!” Of course there was a bit of “stinkin thinkin” going on.
Sundance came into our lives because of a wonderful woman named Vicki that fostered him when he showed up at a shelter with an atrophied leg that had to be amputated. You can see a video here.
OK so there’s another one.
Sundance’s other video
So continuing with stinkin thinkin process…..
What would they want with a 3 legged dog and 50 something woman?
You can dress girl dogs up with hundreds of accessories.
What would I dress him in?
Would he even wear it?
Why do I question myself?
It doesn’t cost a thing to participate except some time. I’m in!
I found a very inexpensive hat and t-shirt for him and then splurged on a leather vest for me. The rules didn’t give you much of a hint on whether the “person” was supposed to dress up too so I went for it.
When I arrived there was literally a red carpet and something like 6 to 8 photographers that were shooting pictures…flashes going off everywhere. This is one of the shots they took.
As I walked up to the line there were 25 people with dogs ahead of me.
Cute dogs and cute people.
I recall seeing this woman that worked at the mall and she formed her lips perfectly so that I could understand her words even though I couldn’t hear her. She said “You should win” and smiled at me. That alone was enough return on my investment for the dressing up, worrying about Sundance and worrying about my thought process that got me there.
As I approached the stage I was asked why I thought Sundance was a star. Explaining his former life and how difficult it was made him a star in my eyes. I told them his life had become a fairy tale now and the hardest thing he’s had to do since he’s been with us is to wear that hat. I guess it worked.
Now the important part.
Yes it happened because of the weight loss surgery but the procedure alone was not the total answer. My plumbing was rearranged so that I could get to a manageable size to do the things that I could not before. After losing that weight I had to do “surgery” on my brain. That was definitely the hardest part but only because it is a bone of contention among the bariatric pros. Many programs, various information…but nothing concrete. The field is new and I believe most of us are stumbling around in the dark…desperately looking for an answer to keep the weight off. That was truly the issue in the first place wasn’t it?
In future posts I will address what has worked for me. It slips out in most of what I write but the very first and most important issues is to stop blaming, shaming and judging.
Do I mean others? yep…but most of all quit doing it to yourself.
There’s a great quote from Robert Burney. He says that the battlecry for people like me is “I’ll show you, I’ll get me!” When we do these horrible things to ourselves we only hurt the one beautiful soul we are responsible for. ME!
So my challenge to you….for just today. Go 24 hours without shaming, blaming and judging yourself or anyone else. In fact if you come into contact with someone that is absolutely awful, feel pity for them but do not judge them. Again when you are so adept at doing it to others, you will also be adept at doing it to yourself.
Oh ye of little faith, do not condemn something prior to investigation! It is a sure way to continue to walk in the dark cruel world of obesity. I am free! At least for this very moment because we cannot be perfect but we CAN get better every day.
I was already ahead of the game because I did not have a cruel word for anyone but I made up for it in terms of how I talked to myself. I quit that just about the time this little contest came along and look where it got me. It allowed me to be the person I should have always been.
A trophy, some incredible prizes, a chance for a grand prize (to be announced in October) and a beautiful dog and family. Those external things don’t make me happy….the happiness comes from within.
In the past I did it backwards. Wanting things to make me happy. Now I am happy and things are coming to me every single day that are beyond anything I ever expected.
07/20/2008 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
I was concerned when I started this blog. I wanted more quality than quantity and I didn’t need added stress in my life to be a stellar blogger every single day. With only 7 years under my belt in this new life, I am still learning life lessons as a thin person and believe me….they are totally different than obese life lessons.
07/05/2008 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
This is a letter to my formerly fat self…just before surgery.
Dear Bariatric Girl (2001),
06/25/2008 by Yvonne McCarthy • No Comments | Leave a Comment »
Can weight loss surgery really change your life???
Let me count the ways!
You may or may not be aware of what “they say” about how someone who emerges from alcoholism has to learn to grow up socially because they checked out when the disease takes hold of their life. It is much the same for many of the obese. When you and others decide that you are unworthy of taking part in the real world you are often left alone to your own devices and are not exposed to normal life lessons. Not every obese person isolates but I believe most do because we have condemned ourselves to a self loathing prison. Many obese people are absolutely sure that when they walk in a room that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the room has seen them and commented about how big they are. Of course this isn’t true but it comes with the job. I was an expert at isolation at the end of my fat life….I went to work and Wal-Mart because I could get food and clothes in one spot. The thought that someone might recognize me and the shame associated with it was too much to bear. With that in mind it meant that I did not take part in the every day activities that so many people take for granted.
In 2002 my husband bought me my first bathing suit in 30 years….you would have thought it was the Hope Diamond. I dreaded pool parties and I had a running joke that I’d never been in a hot tub because the last time I was thin enough to get in one they weren’t invented yet. One of the most common fears is that you’ll be the one they show on the 10pm news when they run footage during obesity stories.
When I lost the weight I began to do things that I hadn’t done in 30 years. Many years ago you could just mention “going to water ski” and I would have jumped up and down until you let me go. I was really good too so what was one of the first things I jumped at after weight loss surgery? You bet cha!
Just like riding a bicycle…
And then there were some new things that again hadn’t really been invented yet the last time I was even close to thin. I know the people thought I was nuts in the sporting goods store but that wasn’t a first and probably won’t be the last. I asked for roller blades!
When you start this catching up thing that we do when we get this new life, it moves at light speed. I have done more in the last 7 years than I’ve done in all my life before. You can do what you believe you can do. It makes me sad when someone has this surgery and says “It’s too late for that.” Are you kidding me? You are as old as you feel. It’s a cruel trick our brains play on us. We are living longer than ever before! If you decide that you are old at 50 then you’ll be old. Since we are living longer than ever, that’s middle aged now.
I missed out on so much….so very much. It is in the past and cannot be changed. Today is all I truly have so there is much catching up to do.
In the weight loss community we have terms.
pre-op = someone who hasn’t had the surgery
newbie = someone who recently had the surgery
post-op = someone who has had the surgery
veteran = someone who is a few years out
WLS = weight loss surgery
Onederland = someone who had lost 100 pounds
the other side = crossed over to the other side (after surgery). We like to say the losing side
Honeymoon period = first year or so after surgery
There are many more. Newbies often have a tough time because life changes so quickly and you’re on a massive high. This massive high helps you deal with the fact that you are no longer getting high on food. Your hormones go crazy, you are feeling better than ever and you might make life choices that are not good for you. You might end up drinking too much or you might feel sexy for the first time in a long time….or ever. Oh man…have I seen some things! Because you are changing so radically you need to have a system to keep you in check. I’m not kidding because I swear you’ll think something is a really good idea at the time and when you look back on it later, you wonder who on earth was that person? I think it would be a great idea to stay out of all new relationships for at least a year. Unfortunately this life changing surgery is still poorly understood. The operation itself is like someone handing you a hammer and a nail and telling you to build the new you. This would be the “tool” analogy. You are given a tool and it’s just like Michealangelo sculpting a beautiful statue but when he’s done, it’s your time to take over….to start over from scratch. You have to function just like any thin person.
I personally believe that you have to eat as boring as possible. Eat to live…not live to eat. During the honeymoon period you can either party like a crazy person because life is so freakin phenomenal or you can retrain yourself because it is easiest at this point. When the honeymoon period is over you will no longer lose weight easily and that high will lose some of it’s strength. You have to plan for that.
The day I had surgery I made the conscious choice that I had drank my very last Coke. My friends didn’t say “Oh my God, you’re getting your guts rearranged!”
They pulled their stock from Coca-Cola.
I was addicted.
I tried quiting but then I’d have a real Coke and it was just like….ummmm….. sex.
Because I retrained myself I don’t miss it,
don’t crave it,
don’t even remember what it tastes like.
NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS BEING THIN FEELS!!
You cannot just say it…you must mean it and you must remind yourself every day just exactly what that means. You have to stay in touch with yourself and others in this process. You have to know that newbies will very likely do some strange stuff…. sometimes even the newbies don’t grow up and keep doing strange stuff. You have to learn to avoid the things that cause anxiety in your life so that stress is kept to a minimum.
Anxiety=Stress=reaching for coping mechanism
It’s real scary sometimes but because anything worth doing isn’t easy, you have to make up your mind…. but it isn’t impossible. Everyone thinks they will fail and some do. It’s just like having a baby. Prepare and educate yourself. Find people that are doing it the way you like and ask them how to do it.
Avoid people that tell you crappy things. It’s about them – NOT YOU! Walk toward the good…walk toward the light because the shortest way to anywhere is a straight line.
See your goal out there????
Face it and proceed directly,
do not pass GO,
do not collect $200.
I look at my speedometer…
it says light speed.
Who is Bariatric Girl?
Musician, Artist, Photographer,computer geek and weight loss surgery aficionado. On March 30th, 2001, I had weight loss surgery weighing in at 260 pounds. Since that day I have lost and maintained a 130 pound loss. Yoga and walking my dog were the only exercise I was getting until I started with an instructor and creator of "Body Juggling". Click on the picture on the bottom of this page and it will take you to the site. Read More »
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