Tag Archives: Community

To My Future Fellow Sleever

Over 14 months since I had surgery and I still feel great!

It has been over 14 months since I had my gastric sleeve surgery and I still feel great!

One of the best things to come out of blogging about my gastric sleeve surgery is the connection I have made with people. Family, friends and even complete strangers continually reach out to me about my experience and to share their own. I am very excited for one particular friend who is having surgery next month. I planned to send her a note before her surgery, but I decided to share it as I hope it will help others who are contemplating surgery or thinking of making other important changes in their life.

“To my friend,

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for you! I know what a difficult decision you made when you chose gastric sleeve surgery. It isn’t just about losing weight; this journey is about taking control of your physical and mental health. This journey is about YOU!

I won’t assume all your reasons to have surgery are the same as mine.  But I will take a guess that you have been putting your own needs on the back burner. I felt for a long time that I needed to make everyone else in my life a priority, including people who didn’t deserve my efforts. I can honestly say that making myself “number one” in my life makes me a better mother, wife, friend and person. Now that I am in control of my life and that I am happy and less stressed, I am able to be the person I want to be for me and the people in my life.  Surrounding myself with positive people makes the world of difference in my continued success.

Of course, not everything is perfect after surgery. I am not seeking perfection any more. I continue to seek happiness and joy. Some days it is a harder struggle than others, but is a manageable struggle. I am not always in control, but I now have the tools to deal with depression, disappointment and anger.

This leads me to another important piece of advice: use your resources! Your surgeon and his staff are experienced and want you to succeed. Follow their advice and don’t hesitate to ask them for help. While you might not like their advice, it is their experience and knowledge that will help you through the challenges you will face. If you haven’t met with a weight loss therapist yet, I highly recommend finding one. I go through phases when I seek her help more often than others. Having this resource will help you more than you realize.

Let your family and friends help you, too! While many people do not share their surgery publicly, I really feel you should find at least a few people to confide in. You know who you can trust, so call upon them. I was fortunate to have an amazing community of family and friends who didn’t judge me and always offered support and encouragement. Find your community! I am your first supporter, of course!

Will you be judged by family and friends for choosing surgery? Perhaps, but please don’t let it bother you. Sometimes, the people’s fears and concerns for your safety come across as judgement or disappointment. There will also be people who are jealous or threatened by your new confidence and success. Always remember that this journey is about you. Yes, it will benefit your family in the long-term, but it is OK to do what you need to do for you. Push aside everyone’s else opinions and concentrate on your own feelings, needs and beliefs. Always do what is best for you because in the end, that’s truly what matters.

I look forward to being a part of your weight loss journey. I hope my blog gave you the ups and downs of gastric sleeve surgery. More importantly, I want it to have given you hope for a happy new chapter in your life. It won’t be easy this first year. You will cry. You will be angry. You feel disappointment. And that is normal and OK. The excitement, the improved physical and mental health, the sense of control and the feelings of freedom and positivity are well worth it.

My friend, you are beautiful, smart and funny. The new “you” will be stronger version of who you already are today. Thank you for letting me be a part of this next phase in your life. Let’s go Down the Scale together!

Love,
Jen”

My Weight Loss Journey: My Messy, Beautiful Truth

93 pounds gone in Week 44 of my weight loss journey!

Today’s blog is part of Momastery.com’s Messy, Beautiful Project. I am proud to share my gastric sleeve weight loss journey here at Down the Scale and now with other Warriors. In the Momastery community, everyone shares their truths – the messier the better. Life is Messy. Life is Beautiful. My weight loss journey is a perfect example of this philosophy. When I decided to take control of my obesity, I though I was searching for complete control and perfection in my life. What I really found is that losing weight and becoming healthy isn’t full of control or perfection. It is messy, painful and chaotic at times. But it is also rewarding, inspiring, loving and perfectly imperfect.

While my head knew that losing weight wouldn’t solve all my problems, my heart sure hoped it would. Being obese caused so many problems, but losing weight doesn’t solve them all. Sure, physically I am in the best shape I have been in as an adult. I enjoy exercising now. I can keep up with my kids at the playground. I can shop in the “regular” section at clothing stores. I don’t take high blood pressure medication anymore and I’m not pre-diabetic. Losing 93 pounds from my body is the best thing I have physically done for my body.

That’s not a messy part of life, is it? No, it’s pretty beautiful. What is messy are the mental hurdles I just assumed would go away with the extra pounds.

“If I’m thin, I won’t be as stressed as much.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be popular and have tons of friends.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be a better mom and wife.”

“If I’m thin everything will be perfect.”

Pretty crazy of me to hope for these things, isn’t it? I don’t think I’m alone in dreaming of an easy, perfect solution to my stresses and anxieties. And I know some people felt by having my gastric sleeve surgery I was taking the easy way out on losing weight. My smaller stomach does make physically losing weight much, much easier, but it doesn’t truly affect your brain, your heart and your soul. I can’t stuff my problems down with food now. I have to acknowledge them and deal with them. While my body isn’t working as hard to survive, my brain, heart and soul have to take up the slack.

Sounds messy doesn’t it? Yes, it is, but I was surprised to see the beautiful side of my perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities. When I started blogging  with my post “The O Word”, I was terrified to put my feelings on paper for the world to read. Would anyone really understand how it feels to be obese? Would anyone relate to the shame and feelings of failure my obesity caused me? Would I be judged negatively for my solution to my overwhelming issues?

Here’s the beautiful part….I am understood. My family and friends rallied around me and showed me more love and support than I could have imagined. Mere acquaintances became huge cheerleaders in person and online. Strangers found me and became new friends. Suddenly, people who I thought were “perfect” shared their own struggles with me publicly and privately. My community grew and strengthened when I shared my story. I finally knew I was not alone. I realize my weight loss journey will never really end. I will always struggle, always be emotional and always worry if I’m doing “enough.” But that is OK. I think these weaknesses are really a sign that I care. I care about life, my family, my friends and most importantly, about me.

I realize now that striving for perfection isn’t the solution. I want joy, happiness and love in my life. And by sharing my messy, beautiful life with others, I am finding those things. Who knew a weight loss journey would help find not what I wanted, but I really needed?

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90 Pounds Bites the Dust…

Week 38 is here and 90 pounds are gone!

Week 38 is here and 90 pounds are gone!

Just a quick update on Week 38 of my gastric sleeve surgery journey!  I hit another milestone — 90 pounds!  It’s been a slow road these past few months, but reaching the 90 pound mark is giving me the inspiration to keep going!  22 pounds to go until my ultimate goal!

I would not have made it this far without the support of my incredible family, friends and the Down the Scale community!  Thank you for your support, inspiration and encouragement!