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Monday, June 21, 2010

Good Monday morning! I hope you all had a great weekend. I didn't do much other than straighten up the house and get the laundry done. I did have an interesting set of experiences that I thought I'd share with you.

The first incident was Friday night. My aunt was in town so I went to my mom's house for the evening. I love my aunt very much, but she is kind of a handful. She was thin her entire life until perhaps 5 years ago. Now she is heavy. To hear her talk, her weight gain has nothing to do with eating. I suppose that could be true, but I doubt it. My mom was always the fat one. I think she has trouble with her changing role. She's not the thin sister anymore. Anyway, she briefly acknowledged that I'd lost weight (I think my mom brought it up) and then she continued talking about herself. Which is fine. I don't need everyone to tell me how fantastic I look or ask me what I'm doing. But then we started talking about exercise and I mentioned that I walk every day. This isn't new; I've always been a regular exerciser. But I felt like I was bragging and atributing my weight loss to my activity. It wasn't anything I said, but my mind was thinking the thoughts. For a moment, I was the reformed dieter, standing on her soap box talking about how much weight she's lost and how easy it is and how you just have to do this and this and this.

I went to church on Sunday morning and at least five people mentioned how great I look. This has been the norm since the weather got better and I started wearing less clothing (that makes it sound like I go half-naked to church). A few people asked what I was doing and I said I was eating less and exercising more (true). The thing is, I felt like I was being dishonest. When one of my dear church-friends came up to me for the second time and asked what I was doing, I told her the truth.

I told her because she is at least 100 lbs. overweight and because I care about her and because I don't want her to walk away feeling like a failure. I've been in that situation before. My sister lost 60 lbs. a few years ago without trying. She used to be my weight-loss buddy. We used to go to WW together and the gym. Now she is skinny and until I had WLS, I was very resentful of her.

Here's the deal: I don't believe diets work for most people. I've heard something like 95-97% of diets FAIL. Most of us think that is because the dieter is at fault, but I don't buy that anymore. In fact, most dieters who do lose weight will eventually gain it back. And then some. If you want an overweight person to become an obese person, putting them on a diet is probably a good way to go about it.

Which brings me back to what to say to people who notice my weight loss. I don't want to get into a whole thing with anyone, but I also don't want to cause anyone to feel ashamed about not being able to do what I'm doing.


Island Bandit said...

Hi Amanda

The last part of your post really struck a chord with me. I just posted on my blog that I'm still wondering if I really need the band or if THIS time I can beat the odds and just stick with my nutritionist's plan and support. I somehow need to wrap my head around accepting the fail rate stats and realise that this tool could help me beat the odds.

Jess said...

This makes alot of sense to me. In a way I hope people don't ask me what I am doing to lose weight because I don't want to be dishonest but then again I don't want to spill my guts either. I feel a little selfish though because it's like this is MINE to have. I found it, chose it, and went through with it. How someone else loses the weight is their journey. And diets do fail all the time and we all know that for a fact from experience. Oh what a world!

Derek and Mary said...

Well said! If people that I know fairly well ask then I tell them that I got the LapBand. Sometimes I feel guilty about it but then I think that I took my life and health into my own hands and this is what works best for me. I can understand that being jealous of your skinny sister. My sister is 6 feet tall and weighs all of 130 pounds. She is a bean pole and always has been and I was always so jealous of her.

workinprogress said...

You've really struck a chord with me.

Firstly - my sister has ALWAYS been thin and I've been the fat one. I will be seeing her this Christmas (she lives overseas) and I'm not sure how the dynamics are going to work as our universe will be out of whack (I think I will be the thin one by then!).

Secondly - I'm keeping my surgery a secret as well but have told a few of my friends who are overweight because I don't want them to think that I've found some magic willpower that they don't possess!!

Pie said...

I've had the same rule from the beginning: if the person I am talking to could benefit and I have the time and they have the interest to hear my short pros/cons speech, I'll tell them. If it's just going to be an offhand comment in a social situation, forget about it. I myself was hugely skeptical about the band, after seeing it advertised everywhere, and honestly thought it was a gimmick thing until I did my research. So I need to be able to share with the person what I know, briefly, so they don't walk away thinking I cheated with some fad diet.

This struck a lot of chords with me as well. I'll be visiting "in-laws" for the 4th and I think I'll tell the wife but not the husband. She'll understand, he won't, because he's a hardcore fitness buff. I just gotta trust that she'll understand and not tell him.

Sandy Lee said...

I still don't think we are "cheating" by having WLS (I don't think that is what you were trying to say though). I figure it is just another way for us to eat less. Just like any other diet. If someone is insistent about how we did it, then maybe they will benefit. Problem is, some would never choose the band. For those who have gained weight later in life, sometimes it is a bit of ignorance about how to eat right. I've got many friends who can eat whatever they like and don't gain weight yet have no clue what healthy food is all about. Occassionally, like your aunt, all of a sudden the weight appears. Does she have a medical problem that could have caused the weight gain. Not sure what I was actually trying to say here but overall, I love the band and it was the trick for me. I need to keep this weight off for my health-a necessity.

Jenny said...

Its hard to tell people I've had WLS. I feel like its so personal. But if people ask I usually do tell them. Even though it makes me uncomfortable because I don't want it to appear as though I'm ashamed of it. I usually take the opportunity to educate people on what the surgery really is. A tool not a quick fix.

Cindylew said...

I haven't gotten to that point yet where loss is noticeable but I already decided that if and when someone wants to know, I will tell them.
I think it's a personal decision that each of us has to make on our own.

Tina said...

i agree with you and I tell-I especially tell those who might benefit from the surgery too. This weightloss gig is a horrific condition that most fail at. The band levels the field and it should not be considered weak to use it.


Pamela E. Williams said...

I don't think its cheating either. I don't mind telling folk that I'm going to have WLS, but it won't be that I just throw it up in conversation unless I feel they need to know.

Your aunt will be alright. She has what I call the "I demon"...I did this and I did that. It will make you feel like anything you say you will sound like her.

Oh BTW, I gave you the Beautiful Blogger award. You probably already got one before though. Cause you are so AWESOME!!

DrTejas said...

Hey! I'm a new follower. Just thought I'd stop by and say hi =)

tessierose said...

Amanda, your posts are always so insightful.