I have been reading about Bariatric Surgery for a month now – stories of those who did, medical info about types of procedures, diet restrictions of those who have had it. It tells me a few things about this process: everyones journey is a little different, there is no one way to accomplish the surgery and recover from it, and that there are just as many psychological issues with the surgery as there are physical ones that need to be dealt with.
One of the recurring themes however is the shift that happens when you need to learn to love the new you – something that is difficult when you have spent at least a portion of your life hating the current you. Body image issues do not go away when you lose a lot of weight. And I would imagine it is much harder for people who have had a lifelong struggle with weight vs those who were thinner and gained as they got older. But I don’t know. I fall in the life-long struggle group so I will never know what the other group is like.
I have spoken many times about what it is like to be fat. But what i don’t tend to spend a lot of time on is how I feel about my weight – or more specifically my own body image. So here are a few facts about me: I am under no misconception about what I look like or how my weight has affected the way I see myself. I don’t look in the mirror and see someone skinnier. I don’t see my own picture and think – who is that? And while I am sure that some of my so called fashion choices make it look like I am trying to hide the fat, at best I am just trying to cover it so it is not sticking out.
So how do I feel about my own body? Not that bad actually. I accept it for what it is. I celebrate the things I can do and while I find myself lamenting the things I can’t do at times, I have been overweight for so long, that unless it is something new I can’t do, I just accept it and move on. I know it is hard to believe that someone my size doesn’t hate their body. But I don’t. That doesn’t mean I LIKE my body all the time. But I feel like there is a difference between hating and not liking.
And honestly when I feel the worst about my body is when someone else makes me feel that way – they humiliate me, they point it out, they ridicule, they stare, they get that look of disgust that anyone with a weight problem can see coming. It is part of the reason I spend so much time alone and at home. It is so much easier than running the risk of having someone make me feel that way.
If the bariatric surgery happens, one of the first things I really want to do is try to force myself out of the home and family/loved ones comfort zone. I thought moving here would do that, but it has actually made it worse. I can go days without ever leaving home. And that is not good for my mental and physical health overall.
Now it is time for me to love myself in a new way. To take some risks and push out of my comfort zone. To grow as a person and love myself first. And everyone else will just need to deal with it.