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Friday, October 15, 2010

There is HOPE!

I read a lot of blogs.  They are pretty much all about weight loss.  Most of them are written by people who, like me, have had WLS are or in the process of getting there.  I read one yesterday that broke my heart.
I don't think I'm going to link to the blog here because I don't want to connect this person to the things I'm about to say.  I want to start by saying that I once believed as she does.  I once felt responsible and ashamed of my obesity.  But I don't feel that way any longer.

The blog author had had a horrific experience related to her obesity.  I don't want to be too specific, but the gist was how could she let herself get into that situation.  And her public flogging was intended to shock her into finally doing something about it.

How often have we heard thin people, after looking at an obese person, wonder, "How does someone let themselves get that way?".  How often have we, the obese and overweight, looked at someone even more obese and more overweight and thought the same thing?  Don't we feel secretly superior when we see someone who is significantly overweight?  How often have we thought, "Well, I may be fat, but I'd never let myself get THAT fat!". 

THIS HAS TO STOP NOW!  The public floggings, the feelings of superiority, the disdain, the shame, all of it ends here.  (Oh, if only it were that simple!)

I'm not talking about discrimination of fat people right now so much as I am talking about the inner belief that we are somehow "less than" because we are (or were) obese.  Fat people aren't stupid, they aren't lazy, they do care about their health, their children, their futures.  But we internalize these beliefs and we hurt ourselves in the process.  We do things like post about our humiliation and beg the world to learn from our example of how NOT to be.  We are cautionary tales.

I've talked many times about my anger and frustration at this system that tells us that all we need to do is go on a diet and exercise and we will be thin.  I probably sound like a broken record.  If you are tired of hearing it, feel free to scan to the bottom of this post, admire how foxy I'm looking and move on.  'Cause I gotta say it again!

Diets don't work.  Unless what you are trying to do is gain weight.  Then they work GREAT!  We have all dieted and lost weight and stopped dieting and gained it back.  And then some.  This phenomena is so profound that I believe it is irresponsible of a doctor to suggest a diet.  But I recognize that they don't really know what to do either.

Of course everyone assumes that diets don't work because it is the dieter that doesn't work them.  We are the problem, right?  If we just followed the diet for the rest of our life, everything would be fine.  

But naturally thin people don't eat like that.  They don't usually diet.  We've all sat down for a lovely dinner with our thin friends and watched them pig out on everything in sight while we pick away at our salad.  Why can thin people eat cookies and salad dressing and bread and cheese and we can't?  Naturally thin people eat the way that feels, well, natural to them.  In general they eat all foods in moderation and they don't eat when they aren't hungry. 

I like to watch my youngest daughter eat.  She loves sweets and junk food, but when she's had enough, she stops eating.  Even if it is cake.  Even if it ice cream.  Even if it is candy.  She eats a few bites of each of the foods in her meals.  A little protein, a little starch, a little vegetables, some milk.  And then she's full and she stops eating.  I never ate like that until I was banded and even now I sometimes want to keep eating even after my band tells me to stop.  But I know if I keep going, the band will give me consequences.  So I stop.

I needed the gastric band to give me what naturally thin people automatically have.  I'm not sure why I wasn't able to learn these skills without surgery.  Maybe it is because no one tried to teach me.  They were too busy telling me to go on a diet.  And I didn't figure it out until I had the band and could SEE what I had previously been missing.  I was missing that inner voice that told me to stop eating because I was full.  I also lacked the ability to be mindful as I ate, to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and to take small bites.  The gastric band has given me all of these skills. 


To prove that this is hope, I am posting my "before" picture and a "now" picture.  The first shows me at 280 lbs. (127 kg.).  It was taken less than a year ago, in December.  The second picture is me now at 193.6 lbs. (87.8 kg.).  I am 13.4 lbs. (6.1 kg.) from goal.

22 comments:

andy said...

you look beautiful you deserve it!

tessierose said...

Great post Amanda! And, looking foxy indeed!

Jess said...

Powerful post!

~ Katie ~ said...

What a great post!!

Sherry said...

I love this post! I wish those that publicly flogged and those people that are obese and yet anti-surgery had the opportunity to read this post. You deliver a very powerful message in a simplistic way. WLS taught us eating/not eating 'skills' that we were not able to learn on our own. My personal belief is that some of us were actually INCAPABLE of 'learning' those skills because we simply don't have the part of our brain working that signals feelings of contentment and fullness. I wish that a certain someone who likes to lash out against WLS and those that don't 'master' the skills immediately after their surgery could read this post of yours. I really do. Again, WOW. great post.

kagead said...

Fantastic post and the pictures are the ideal backup to everything you said.

Paige said...

bravo!! So true. And every time I read your mantra of diets don't work, I am emphatically shaking my head in agreement. Here here!!

Annie said...

Right On Sister!

Gen said...

Yes! One of the best posts ever!!!! Thank you! And I totally agree with Sherry too. It is a fact that WLS changes the brain, not just the stomach - it gives us some of the "skills" naturally thin people have. And you are right, naturally thin people DO NOT diet. If they eat a big meal, they make up for it later by eating less. Etc. I always say diets only made me fatter, and that is the truth.

Awesome post. Thanks.

Debbie said...

You look great and this was one powerful post. Keep up the good work..

Gen said...

P.S. Congrats on your awesome success so far! Wow you have done an amazing job with your band!

Libby said...

Terrific, powerful post. As a new bander I really appreciate your perspective. I have dieted myself up and down the scale by 80 or so pounds several times. You are so right. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Joia said...

I. Just. Love. This. Post. Perhaps it's why you're one of my favorite bloggers?!

Lonicera said...

I admire your determination to change the way human beings react to overweight people and WLS. I've been thinking about various things you said, which I mostly agree with - though I wonder about our kneejerk reactions when we see someone more overweight than we are and think "at least I'm not as fat as she is" - and think you would be trying to stop the tide on this one. I think everybody on the planet judges everybody else as being better or worse than they are, and weight is only one of the issues, there's also general attractiveness, IQ, fitness, etc. I think it's because we need to grab at anything that will help with our feelgood factor. Feeling "superior" makes you feel a little bit better about yourself for a brief time, so inevitably you do it (though if you have any sense you're extremely careful not to show it.) Ugh - what a jungle it is, isn't it?
Caroline

Jenny said...

:)

Lap Band Gal said...

Awesome post, looking GREAT in your "now" pic! :)

Michelle said...

Great post! You look amazing!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the post and your pictures...Your pictures are another validation that the "Band Works". I also appreciate your message...that we shouldn't beat ourselves up so much. You know going into WLS I had such guilt about not being able to do it via my own self control. I no longer feel that way and now that the burden of guilt has been lifted I feel so much more able to tackle my weight loss. Thank you

AmeyinIdaho said...

Wow! Great post! I totally agree that diets just make us more fatter. And your now pic is awesome! You rock!!

DiZneDiVa said...

Beautiful post... wonderfully written. I am still a work in progress but I am on my way to better health and eating habits. I keep reminding myself that others are still struggling and need our thoughtful consideration. Judging will never work, and Obesity is the last "Acceptable" prejudice... It is not acceptable, it is wrong and hateful! *Maria*-Blogger from "This one time at BAND Camp..." Follow my journey at mybigfatbandgeeklife.blogspot.com

Vicky Bell said...

In one of her books (sorry I don't remember which) Anne Lamott talks about her struggles with food, with binge eating and diets, and then describes how she slowly taught herself how to feed herself. It's quite good, as is all her essays. Thanks for your fun comment on my blog!

Island Bandit said...

thank you for this post. what you said about the reasons you needed the band are the exact reasons i tell people who ask why i did it. i want to be able to eat like normal people do and clearly i lacked the signal that naturally told me to stop and/or slow down!
you look fantastic, by the way