Yesterday, when Barb and I put it out there for our Facebook friends to suggest topics for us, my friend Val threw one out there that I though may be more fitting for a solo blog, so, today, I’m going to write about the differences between life as a “thin” person and life as a non-thin person.
There are good and bad things involved in being a person who has lost 100+ pounds. At the end of the day, I have to say I prefer being on this side of the fence, though. Mostly, it’s for health reasons. Anything I could have claimed that would fall under the category of vanity was snatched away by the monster called “aging.”
On November 25, it was my fifth anniversary for having gastric bypass surgery. I usually announce this to anyone who will listen because it was a life-changing thing, for me. Not because it made me pretty, because I really don’t think it has, but because it took away a lot of problems I had. Every weight-related health problem I had prior to the surgery has gone away.
High Blood Pressure
beginning stages of diabetes
myriad aches and pains
Those were the kinds of things I was looking to get away from, as it was really impactful, to me, to have my family doctor tell me if I didn’t do something, I was going to die. Honestly? for that purpose, it really helped me to have a blunt physician. Had he not put it the way he did, I may not have sprung into action. It was also impactful the day the bariatric clinic doctor told me that, if I do die, it will not be because of my weight.
I’m considered a huge success by the clinic. I love knowing that.
There are also certain vanity-related perks to being smaller. It feels good to buy jeans with a single digit size number. It feels good to fit better in just about any space you can imagine. This summer, I flew to Iceland on a very crowded flight, and I didn’t feel cramped or like I was crowding out the people sitting next to me. Five years out, though, I still find myself moving out of the way in situations where I really don’t need to move.
I don’t know whether or not weight loss gets me more male attention. I never noticed these things before, and I really don’t notice them now. It’s not that I expect or don’t expect attention, it’s that I’m classically oblivious to it. You really have to almost carry around a billboard saying “Hey, Dissy, I’m totally checking you out.”
I was with my ex when I had my surgery, and we just broke up this past spring. I haven’t been emotionally ready to dip my foot in the dating pool, so I don’t know what the outcome will be or how it fits in because of my size. Prior to surgery, I never had guys tell me I was too fat for them. If they avoided me because of that, I never really knew. That doesn’t mean that I, as a larger female, didn’t blame that, because I did. I think it’s more a matter that growth and maturity has taught me that we are all not going to be one another’s cup of tea than me thinking my size has made me more or less desirable. For me, that’s fine because there are certain traits that I find more or less attractive as well.
The mental impact of weight loss is very real. I’d have to say that, for every bit of good it has done, something negative has come as well. You have to be willing and able to deal with these things for long-term success. For example, I don’t think I’m a person who has lost weight in a “pretty” way. My skin hasn’t snapped back to where it should be, so there will always be that reluctance and shyness about being naked in front of others, and I feel like I look a lot older in my face. It took a long time to come to terms with the fact that I looked more youthful with a fuller face and I don’t necessarily look “older,” now, I’m just closer to looking my age.
I’ve made a lot of new friends along the way. Friends with whom I have this procedure in common. I had gotten more active over the last 5 years, and I hope to get back to that. It feels great to finish a 5k event. I remember about a month before my surgery, my ex and I were doing the breast cancer walk with my cousins. I couldn’t even finish.
I think I’m one of those odd ducks out there who has changed in different ways and for different reasons. I’m happy for and with what I have. I’m grateful that my risk of heart attack has become practically zero. I’m glad I have not become insulin-dependent. I’m glad I don’t need medication to manage my blood pressure. I’m glad for my increased activity level.
For all those things, I’d do the surgery all over again in a heartbeat.
Now I need to get up off my lazy ass and exercise.