Monday, January 9, 2012

Success, Envy, and Guilt

For those of you who are new to my life, I had a gastric bypass several years ago.  The surgery was a success, medically speaking.  Before the surgery I weighed 500 pounds (give or take a few on any given day).  After the surgery I weighed 340 pounds.  I currently weigh 360 pounds nearly five years later (again, give or take a few on any given day).  This is technically a medical success, as I have lost approximately 140 pounds and kept it off. 

But is it a success?  I still weigh 360 pounds.  I am still super morbidly obese, and yeah, gotta love that term, right?  But hey, it's the correct medical term, so no use getting all snitty about it I say.  So here I am, still super morbidly obese, still not looking like the slender young thing *grin* that the ads all say that I will end up looking like.  Here I am wondering what the hell I did that the Fates hate me so much to keep me locked in this waddling, roly poly pear-shaped lump of flesh.  I mean, did I offend them somehow so that they decided I should never know the joys of walking into a store and buying something off the rack?  Because despite my 140 pound weight loss, I still am too big to shop successfully even at Lane Bryant (the Mecca of Fat Lady Shoppers everywhere)!

It obviously must be me, goes the line of thought.  I have failed.  So many other people have this surgery and end up bouncing around talking about how they're finally living their lives because they can move and bend and run and do all of these things that they couldn't do when they were fat.  It worked for them, they look great, they feel great, they're happy.  Why not me?  What have I done wrong?  Why am I such a failure?

So there's the Success and the Guilt.  Where's the Envy?

I have friends who have had the surgery, and I find myself in the peculiar position of feeling so very happy for them that they have achieved what they set out to do.  They've lost the weight, they've dropped the sizes (in some cases, fewer pounds than I have) and now they are svelte, dainty creatures.  Okay, stop laughing, I know I know.  Very few of my friends are dainty creatures, no matter what their size. *grin*  Mon petite fleurs do not tend to reside amongst my circle of friends, no matter whether the women in question weigh 100 pounds or 500.  We're all pretty strong ladies, really.

But back to Envy.  I love my friends, and I am thrilled that they are happy.  I really am!  But there is that Little Voice in the back of my head that we have talked about before.  The Little Voice (TLV) whispers to me whenever their success is brought up that THEY are Winners and I am a Loser, and not in the weight kind of sense.  They're obviously smarter, stronger, more talented, more brilliant than I am, and I shall always be The Fat Chick who will never be The Pretty One.

I wish that I knew where TLV's originate, because I would SO totally nuke that place from orbit!!!!

Have you ever been in the position of feeling happy for someone else while feeling miserable for yourself because they succeeded where you didn't?  Yeah, it sucks, doesn't it?

And the funny thing is, if we go back to the Success portion of things, I actually DID succeed at the stated goal of the surgery.  I lost almost 30% of my total body weight and I've kept it off.  That technically makes me one of the 5% who lose weight and keep it off.  But oddly, there's no television show offering me thousands of dollars thanks to my Success.  People don't come up to me and ask how I did it.  And there's no sense of satisfaction, only disappointment.

I don't post this because I want people to offer sympathy.  I don't post it because I want my friends to feel like they can't discuss their Success around me.  On the contrary, I LOVE hearing about all of the changes that have come about in their lives, and the happiness that it has given them. 

Really, why I've posted this is because I want to re-focus my thoughts on myself and Health at Every Size.  Logically I get the concepts.  Intellectually it all makes sense.  I'm still fighting the battle of the heart, though.  My brain says to be healthy and just move on, but my heart still has the core of the 17 year old girl who was made fun of all through school, who was openly mocked at her Senior Class Assembly, and who still honestly and truly believes that she's worth nothing because she's fat.

I am working so hard to change that belief into one of worth and love for myself.  Some days I've got it, and some days I don't.  Some days I don't care how wide my hips are because I know that I'm eating right and taking care of my body because it is an awesome thing that does so very much for me.  Some days I fall back into the old way of thinking, hearing TLV talk in the back of my head about how I could lose a few more pounds if I did this, or how much easier an activity would be if I were slender instead of being a blob.  I try, but at times I truly can't help it.  I want to be smaller, not for my health's sake, but because I'm just tired of being fat.

 So I guess that I'm not a Health at Every Size success yet.  I hope that I will be someday.  I hope that I find the balance of eating right, moving, and joy in myself that lets me get up every day knowing that I'm the best Lys that any Lys could ever be.

I'm just not there yet. 

I hope that you all don't think I'm a fraud because I "talk the talk without walking the walk", but I'm trying.  I really am.  And sometimes talking the talk IS walking the walk when it is all that you can manage against The Little Voice inside your head.

Thank you for bearing with me, and riding the rough seas out with me.  I hope that there are calmer swells ahead, but for right now we'll just batten down the hatches, get the bilge pumps going, and keep moving forward one moment at a time.  And if we find ourselves in Guilt or Envy, we'll acknowledge it, then we'll move on, because when it comes down to it, we are all only human and beating ourselves up for having those human moments is counterproductive.

Here's to Success, Joy, and Loving Ourselves as we are!  May we all reach the point where we are feeling these things all of the time!!!


  1. As if, oh beloved Buddy o' mine, I didn't know we had so much in common, then you post this which is completely on par with where I am lately (only I'm beating myself up for not having the guts to get cut in the first place, instead of "failing"). Then I get frustrated with wanting to be thinner ('cuz let's face it - Teutonic Farm Girl will never be thin). Gah! It's maddening!

    I have to wonder if that's my You Suck Voice (what I call my TLV) keeping me distracted, off topic, and wound around the proverbial axle so that I don't have to change? Hmmm....

  2. You have always been an inspiration to me.

    As you know, I too did the surgery, although mine was lap band. And I am in the 5% that failed. 5 years later and I am only 5 lbs lighter than I was before the surgery. I too look at people who have had the surgery work for them and wonder what I did wrong. Where did I screw up. But then my friends and family remind me that I didn't screw up, that I have done everything that I was supposed to do. It just wasn't meant to be.

    You and Amy have inspired me to get healthier. While I have been lucky that my health had been pretty good, this last year has been bad. Heartburn, acid reflux, joint pain, back spasms, low vitamin D, insomnia, and a host of other smaller issues. Hence going to the chiropractor to get my back fixed. And I have recently signed up for their Biggest Loser competition, which I am actually looking forward to.

    Keep going strong.


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