Okay, I’ll admit it…When I had weight loss surgery I was focused on that first year, of getting to that ‘finish line.’ It’s something my nutritionist has been slowly dripping on me about ever since she met me. I know there really is no finish line when it comes to health but I did get caught up in the first year post-op craze of making it the end all be all.
She would say things about how this is for life and how it’s so much healthier to let our bodies unfold–and unfat–in their own due course and how with thyroid disease my journey is not always going to be in my control. All things I know. But honestly in the beginning I was so caught up in the rush that all I really heard was “Blah, blah, blah.”
Sorry Michelle and thanks for being so beautifully patient and supportive.
So what changed?
My scale battery died.
And it did so on a week when I was too busy to rush out to replace it. I live in a rural area so it’s a 25 minute round trip to the nearest store which might carry the right size button battery. Instead of making myself crazy trying to work in a special trip, I just let my scale sit there in the dark under the bathroom cupboard.
Of course, that meant I was also in the dark about the numbers it displays.
As you know, I’m super anti-goal weight but what you may not know is I weigh myself daily. Daily weigh-ins are a tool. But, to help manage my chronic edema which is a side effect of an injury over six years ago. The injury damaged the veins in my left leg so sometimes the fluid pools in my body and I have to use a diuretic to help it escape. When I was heavier, I didn’t always feel the water weight gain. I didn’t always see it either. After gaining over 20 pounds overnight a few years ago, I decided I couldn’t rely on my own body dysmorphic eyes to show me the water retention and started the daily weigh-ins, reluctantly and at the insistence of my physician. Water retention of that magnitude is taxing to the body so I know it’s the right thing for me.
However, now that I have had weight loss surgery those daily weigh-ins can eat my brain. Oh sure they were cool in the beginning as the pounds were flying off my body. Now, not so much.
My thyroid is wigging out big time so I’m stuck more than I’m unstuck and the scale is cruel reminder of how much progress I’m not having.
Frankly, and without any fanfare, I checked out of September.
I just let myself think.
I helped myself avoid stressing about weight loss on any level.
I did work with my doctor on my thyroid. We’re still working on it actually.
I did work with my sleeve and kept my focus on doing the right things for my body.
And some really amazing changes started happening…
I noticed I am happier.
I have more peace about my journey.
Without knowing my weight, I developed a clearer vision of how I want to live the rest of my life.
I have actually arrived at a place I did not expect to see so soon.
No, I am not talking about spiritual Grace.
Personal Grace is what you think about yourself when you are alone with your thoughts.
When I started my weight loss journey in 2002, my goal was to be able to live with Grace about my body. To love her, to be kind and compassionate to her, and to be really real with my honest feelings.
I never thought I needed to be certain size or weight to have Grace. It has always been something I felt like I would know when I found it.
I have. And, it’s every bit as beautiful as I hoped.
Finding it now okay lead me to more questions. Interesting, unexpected questions:
- If I have Grace now, what does that mean for me moving forward?
- How do I balance this peace with knowing my weight loss is not finished?
- How do I make sure I hold this feeling?
- Is this feeling going to become an excuse to give up or not work hard?
- Am I settling for less than I deserve because I do not really believe I can do it?
Those are some pretty tough questions. Good thing though questions have always been my favorite kind. Such the existentialist!
I don’t have all the answers yet but I do know holding this feeling is important and that lead me to thinking about what else I feel is important:
- Onederland–199.9 Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s just a number but after over 12 years of chasing it I think I’ve earned it. 202.3 this morning…Go body, go body, go body.
- 30% Body Fat–That’s been my weight loss surgery goal since I first started thinking about weight loss surgery. On 23 September, I reached 39.9% and that felt pretty wonderful so now I’m really looking forward to dropping out of the 30-percent bracket.
- Sculpting and Toning–This goes hand in hand with a healthy body percentage and it has also been part of my plan. I knew at some point I would make the mental switch from ‘worrying’ about weight loss to focusing on defining my body. I just never expected to be even thinking about making that switch at six months post-op. Making muscle gains can make weight loss look slower so it’s really something you have to be mentally prepared to see.
- Seeing Me–Like I have said before I have had body dysmorphia my whole life. It has driven me to do some really dangerous and unhealthy things and that is so not what this journey is about. For the past three weeks I’ve been pulling jeans out of the closet that I still cannot fathom will fit my body. That’s some scary stuff. I’m not too, too worried though because at the same time I have also looked in the mirror and thought, “My arms are smaller…I can see it…They look smaller.” Just to reinforce that I am seeing my body as smaller I grab the tape measure to prove it to myself. Yep, smaller. Yay me…go body, go body, go body. That I am seeing myself shrink is the ultimate victory. This is also something I need to hold so much stronger than the number on the scale.
So on my 200th day post-op, I’m declaring I’m done.
Not done with weight loss, done with being a jerk to myself.
I am making the switch to building my body and holding this Grace I have found.
Existentialism = Living authentically
Living authentically = Having Grace
So much more me than any number could ever explain…