Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Losing Time and Getting a Fill.

Time has flown by and I have found it almost impossible to get enough time for myself, time to spend with you guys. Now, this is mostly my fault as I went to NYC and then have been playing catch up with work (and play) the past week or so. My trip was awesome - though probably not as profoundly fabulous as the lucky ladies who went to Chicago recently. I went to my favorite fancy restaurant (21 Club), shopped in Chinatown, visited Tut before he goes back to Egypt, saw Wicked, and did one heck of a run-through of the MET. Oh, and I did 5th Avenue too; I love Tiffanys. It was a super busy weekend and hard to fit it all in, but I already miss my absolute favorite vacation spot.

Upon returning, I went in for a fill and much to my suprise and delight, my NP was willing to fill me up like a gas tank and go for some agressive treatment. I went up to around 8ccs (a plus of about 2ccs). I have certainly felt it this time around but am still waiting for it all to settle in so I know what the actual restriction will be. While I am worried when all is said and done that it will be too much, I am kind of hoping this agressive move will work. I am a little tired of being a yo-yo on the scale - I WANT TO LOSE! So far I am restricted well when I eat and I can only feel the band pressure at nightime. I hope it stays this way as the restriction/pressure seems doable right now.

I am looking forward to catching up with all of y'all, hearing what crazy antics people got into while in Chicago, and settling back down into a routine. If only I didn't have to do work or study.....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Yummy Award.

I am new to this whole world of blogging but two people have been amazing enough to send me an award, which I am truly honored about. There are three questions associated with this cupcake of a prize.

1.  Answer the question: If you had one chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

This is a hard question as I am one of those people who believe that everything in your life comes from your experiences. I love where I am right now and I attribute that to both my good and bad decisions. While I have definitely had my host of awful, awful decisions, actions, and memories, I have come to grips that they are the glue which has made me the stronger person I am today.

If forced to choose a decision I would change, I would have to pick an entire category – men. I have the worst taste in men. Are you moody? Have mommy issues? Unable to commit? Show little to no emotion? – then I am immediately attracted to you. I have turned down a host of men who are upstanding, demonstrative, and - by all objective means - perfect to chase after men who can’t decide whether they really want me or not. I have spent my time on men who do not want the same things as I do and have made me feel terrible for caring so much about them. I could blame one on a freak of nature but after several of these horrible-from-the-start relationships, I have come to the conclusion that it has to be me! Perhaps I sabotage my relationships because I am really not ready for one. Perhaps it is my own fears and self loathing which make me reach out to men that will not make treat me like a princess and a prize. Currently I am coming to grips with this idea and while I will not take back those moody and untenable men of my past, I am looking forward to finding healthier relationships in the future. (As a side note, my college roomies and best friends have instituted a new rule where they have to approve of my man choices should I continue to seek out losers).  

So there, it isn’t really something to change about my past but my answer is really something I have decided to change because of my past. With this I give a firm shout out to all the emotionally stinted men that have inadvertently taught me I deserve something better! 

2.  Pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have been selected for the award.

These people have probably already gotten this award (and by probably I mean many times over) but I thought it would be nice to give a shout out to some of the women I follow and who have been kind and supportive of me. I find all these women, plus so many more, truly moving and motivational. Here goes:

Bonnie (http://wishingandhopingandprayingforaband.blogspot.com/)

Grace (http://graces-fat-chance.blogspot.com/)

Lap Band Gal (http://lapbandgalsjourney.blogspot.com/)

Liz (http://talesfromtheband.blogspot.com/)

Tina (http://tinasweight-lossjourney.blogspot.com/)

3. You have to thank the person (people) who gave you the award.

Thanks so much Pamela (http://lessthanfat.blogspot.com/) and Amanda (http://lifeofahopefulloser.blogspot.com/) for thinking I am worthy of any kind of award. I am only a little further (seriously, only a month or so) ahead on this road than you two and I feel like we all have great times and great accomplishments ahead. I admire both of you for taking the chance, taking charge, and joining this virtual group of women. I have found it so empowering in my short month or so online. Good luck Amanda on your impending surgery and good luck Pamela on your first fill - I cannot wait to share in your future successes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Band Gets a Tarot Reading.

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. It is nice to know that I have a whole new set of friends to share this next year with. My birthday weekend went very well. For the first time in many years I weighed less than the year before so my band has already played a big part in what this year will hold for me. It is wonderful to think I will continue to weigh less – it’s like a burden lifting, both literally and figuratively.

I had people over to my place for my birthday night and then kept up a birthday tradition with one of my friends earlier today. For the past couple of years we have gone to see this local psychic on my birthday for both tarot and palm readings. I have always played around with this stuff, mostly with the mindset that a tarot reading is like playing MASH, only for grown-ups. So, one of my quirks is to visit this sketchy lady we call "Madame" to hear our futures and giggle over the cards. Not that we put huge amounts of faith in what this woman says, but it always makes for an extremely fun outing. I would have to say that she is a really good people reader and always has a bit to say that kicks us in the rear and a bit to say which gives us hope. Afterwards we have breakfast tacos and tease each other about our supposed futures. Really, it is one of my favorite girly outings – I highly suggest it to everyone at least once.

As for my reading this year, it was very positive. I got a lot of cards that represented growing opportunities and fun things ahead. Most of my cards were about looking forward, not back. My favorite of these was the Queen of Cups as she is the “Miss Independent” of the tarot set – a person I would like to think of myself as being like. My psychic Madame suggested that I had spent too much time in the past dealing with others’ feelings and that I should take some well deserved time for myself (seriously, she is a good people reader). This resonated with me as I feel like the past year has been burdened with family issues that I had to take charge of, putting my own desires and goals in the background. This especially hit home as the only down part of my birthday weekend was my sister’s sour mood at my party. Long story short, my sister is the biggest issue I have had to deal with in the past as she has upset others and run amok with her personal issues affecting our whole family. I recently told her to figure her own crud out which I feel guilty about but am also glad about as I no longer feel burdened with being her babysitter. I am sure I will expound on my relationship with my sister further but…back to the tarot reading.

I also got the lovers card (insert huge amount of jokes and giggles at it portrays two naked folks) which suggests that I will either start a relationship or take an existing one to a new level; we will see where that one ends. As for my palm reading, my Madame made a big deal about how I had a journey line that wrapped around on both sides of my hand; she said it was rare, special, and meant good things in the future. She said my journey, heart, and fate lines make a pyramid which shows a strong self and determined path. She said good things are on their way and I should stop worrying so much. All and all, it was just kind of nice for a complete stranger to say congrats on getting your stuff together because there are great things ahead of you. So there you have it, my birthday and psychic adventure are in line with my feelings about this new year – I think it will be one full of new adventures, fun relationships, and lots of personal growth. Let the year of ME begin!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Blog if I Want To.

Today I turn 31. I expect this will be a year of great change and wonderful achievements and I can’t wait for it to all happen. To commemorate the glorious day of my birth I thought I would spend some time making myself goals for the upcoming year.  [As a side note, this is a tremendously Virgo-esque type of activity; I fit my astrological sign so well!]  First, I thought of making weight goals but since I am a lifelong fat girl, I have no real idea as to what a good goal weight should be. Seriously, according to BMI I should weigh 130 lbs. to be normal; the closest I ever got to that was 135 lbs. and I was a stinking size 4. I refuse to believe that a size used by runway models is the “normal weight” I should shoot for.  Since I could not derive a number weight I think should be my goal, I have decided to instead list 10 (because it’s a great number) NSVs I plan to accomplish this year. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. I will pay down my credit card debt with the money I save on food. 
  2. I will walk a half marathon at the same pace as my friends (heck, I will walk a half marathon).
  3. I will wear heels out on the town for a whole night without thinking my feet hurt. 
  4. I will fit into booths at restaurants and desks at school.
  5. I will shop for clothes at J.Crew and Anthropologie (because the world needs one more preppy person).
  6. I will go to a yoga class and be able to keep up with the super skinny/flexible instructor. 
  7. I will put myself out there and network at a professional conference with confidence.
  8. I will flirt shamelessly with a man at a bar, have him buy me a drink, and then ditch him without regret. 
  9. I will post a picture on Facebook that I am willing - no excited - to tag myself in.
  10. I will dance in public without fear of others watching. Maybe I will even dance in the rain.
Happy birthday to me and happy Friday to everyone else!






Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Sizes Get a Graph.

I don’t necessarily remember my weight at every age but I can remember the sizes of the clothes that I wore. As such, I decided to graph my sizing over time - my adult years - in order to see where I have grown and shrunk to visualize my journey with weight thus far. Below is that graph (sorry about the smallish size, I couldn't get it any bigger with my minimal blogging skills). There are some letters by certain periods of growth and reduction that have explanation below the chart.

A – I left high school at a size 14 but gained a little more than the freshman 15 lbs. in my first year of college. In my defense, I went to a private school with really good cafeteria food.

B – What started out as me focusing on weight loss became a cycle of working out and fasting that consisted mostly of diet pills and liquor. Added to this was a period of binging and purging that was very effective for weight loss but not so good for me. I was a size 4 for about 2 seconds in which I wore a bikini at my sorority’s beach formal (in the dark after everyone was too blitzed to notice) then quickly started gaining back weight.

C – I, of course, gained all the weight back plus more when I stopped throwing up and started eating again. Looking back at this time I was happy and healthy (and really drunk as it was my senior year in college). I actually give credit to my drinking and partying life style (of the time) for helping me get past my prior bulimic phase as it takes eating real food to drink like a champion. I also stopped working out during this time period which, in retrospect, was a very bad idea.

D – I stopped drinking and partying to start on my Master’s degree and gained weight while hunkering down with the books and projects. I also gained weight during my first real career type job where I learned that being an adult wasn’t as much fun as everyone had hoped for.

E – I’d love to say I took initiative and went on a diet, but this time marks when my father was sick and passed away. I was too drugged with antidepressants, migraine medicines, and tranquilizers to eat so I lost weight.

F – This was my latest jump in weight and corresponds to my decision to get banded. This was also my highest size (26) at 283 lbs.

G – Starting out at 31, which I will turn in a few days, I am a size 24 and hoping to start a new trend with a negative slope (for the math lovers - I am a statistics nerd by the way).  I don't want to go dratsically down in sizes as I did when I was unhealthy but I do hope to return at leat to a size 14 (my 18 year old level).

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Lap Band is Like Having Braces All Over Again.

So, as I was thinking over my latest fill (#2 for anyone counting) I started to think of how a fill reminded me of getting my braces tightened as a child. Upon further consideration, I found that there were a lot more similarities to be found in my metaphor. First, the actual band is like braces where both their goals are to reshape some area using restriction and compression of a specified area. Unlike braces though, gastric bands are permanent so there is no getting it removed in time for summer camp. Both braces and bands have to be supervised by a professional with semi-regular visits for calibrating the bands (this being the fill). When filled, or tightened for braces, both create pain and swelling that makes you have to stick to the liquids and solids for a bit of time.

Speaking of the swelling and pain, I was excited to have it this time around. This may make me a bit of a masochist, but the pain felt good and reminded me I was on track with my goals. It also helped me to get over the small plateau of 263 that I had been stuck at for seemingly forever. The first fill I had did nothing (seriously, for a while I was concerned that instead of a fill they had simply taken everything out of the band as there was no pain and NO restriction). The pain went away and I have a little less restriction than I would like, but it is good to know that, like pain signaling my teeth moving, I was on the right track with my weight.

Back to the bigger metaphor though as I still have more ways braces and bands are alike. Some people are so excited to get braces while others dread the day – this is not dependent on how screwed up their teeth are or how heavy they weigh. When confronted with braces, some choose to show it off with fancy colored rubber-bands so that everyone can see while others (including my teenage self) get boring grey every time. This part reminds me of how differently people think when it comes to telling friends and family members. Lastly, bands and braces are similar in the way people need or don’t need them. Some people are born with beautiful straight teeth that don’t need any help from orthodontia while others aren’t so lucky. This is like weight gains where those that do need help most often are the ones that were born this way. It reminds me that the band is a fantastic tool that helps correct naturally occurring problems, much like crooked or misshaped teeth, and that we should rejoice in the ability to use it.

There is only one stark difference with my braces/band metaphor that I do see (and it is a big one). While braces makes people smile less, from what I have learned so far the band makes people smile more. That’s a really good thing.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Hey there everybody. Thanks so much for all the new friends and support! It is nice to feel that I am not alone in this journey. As a new "bandster" (is that what we are called) I am a little confused by the lingo and would love a crash course in all the acronyms and euphemisms people use. Right now I feel like the old Luddite that doesn't know what OMG or LOL means only this time there are even more specific terms to learn.

Some acronyms I have come across thus far:
  1. BOOBS: Band Of Outrageous Babes (apparently a kickin' group of gals who are going to party away in Chicago soon - I am jealous!)
  2. NSV: Non Scale Victory (a term to describe goals and achievements that are related to weight loss but not the actual loss)
  3. BM: Am I right to assume this is just a nicer way of saying poo?

Additions (via comments and further blog readings):
  1. PB: a Productive Burp, one that happens to bring up the food you just ate
  2. NUT: Nutritionist
  3. TOM: Time Of Month, a rather manly moniker for Aunt Flo's monthly visitation
  4. ONEderland: a fantastic name for getting below 200 lbs.
  5. FUPA: Fat Upper Public Area, a nicer way of saying all my tummy junk that makes my jeans look bad
  6. WLS: Weight Loss Surgery
  7. NP: Nurse Practitioner

What am I missing?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Running Band.

The other night I was out with my fellow PhD friends and their assorted spouses and others. The hottest topic of conversation within this group for the past few outings has been the growing number of people starting to run with each other. It started with one friend who wanted to train for the Austin marathon in February. All of a sudden, everyone is starting to talk about training for it. For the most part I have stayed out of this conversation - this has probably been partly due to me as I don't like to talk about exercise in public and partly due to them as they figured I wouldn't be up for it. This past time was a little different though. One person said she was going to walk the half marathon and asked if I wanted to join in. I was a bit taken back but my immediate answer was yes (as long as training started when fall comes to Texas and the temperature dips below the 100s).  I would have never - in a million years - said yes to this before I got the band.

Even at my fittest I was a strictly inside the gym treadmill/elliptical kind of gal. Seriously, the last time I remember exercising outside was during pledging in college (as a side note one of the best ways to get out of outside running while pledging is to repeatedly show up drunk). I have no clue what made me say yes; it can only be a small growth of self confidence that the band has brought to me. My outburst of "yes" really made me feel good though. There have been so many conversations or activities I have been left out of in the past because of my weight and I really want that to end. I don't want to be a person apart and now feel like I have the tools to be an integrated member of the group.

So, yay. I am going to walk a half-marathon in February. Holy crud, I am going to walk a half marathon in February!  What have I gotten myself into? Isn't the whole history behind a marathon is that the guy died after running his 26.2 miles to alert the Greeks of impending danger. I am not quite sure what I have gotten myself into.  Good thing the official training doesn't start until October. I have a little more than a month to train for my upcoming half-marathon training. What to do, what to do? First things first - I needed to shop.

I bought:

  1. Nike + iPod pedometer,

  2. New shoes to put the pedometer into, and

  3. A Camelbak to hold water for my lengthy runs (walks).

Shopping completed, I started with walking 2 miles both last night and tonight. The first night I thought my lungs would explode after going up a hill but tonight was a little better. I'm really slow though (my handy-dandy pedometer tells me I only walk a 17 minute mile). Hopefully I will be able to work myself up to at least 4 miles at a time by October so I don't look like a total fool. If anyone has walking advice or has experience with long race type issues - I am all ears!

Surgery Day.

So, it has been a little over a month since my surgery meaning I am a little behind in blog world. I thought I should back up and map out the day that started it all for me. As I said earlier, I started this journey back in December of 2009 but my insurance made me wait until July to have the surgery. While it seems somewhat ridiculous to jump through the hoops of an insurance company, the time actually solidified my desire for the surgery and allowed me to come to grips with what I was about to do.

During the waiting phase nothing terribly interesting occurred. I met with nutritionist, got my medical records from years back, had my heart checked out, and finally had my head shrunk. I was probably most nervous about the psychological clearance as I do have a couple of ghosts in my closet I thought would get me kicked out for sure. First, during college I spent two years starving myself, taking diet pills, and throwing up my food. I have since stopped those awful behaviors but I was worried that the psychologist would not believe my reasoning. Basically I stopped the binging cycle because it interfered with my college drinking and fun (not a great or therapeutic reason but it worked for me). Second, since my father was a victim of malpractice at the time of his own weight loss surgery, I was afraid my issues surrounding his surgery and death would lock me out for sure.  After all, who wants to perform surgery on a girl who had to be tranquilized for two years after her father’s death? It turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about though as my psychologist spent the entire visit talking about himself.

Clearances made and visits crossed off the list, I headed into surgery. The time it took to get to that point allowed me to mentally prepare for the surgery as well as enlist two very close friends to be by my side. I decided early on not to include my family (which will totally be the subject of another post) and I tried to keep this as something I did for myself. The two friends I chose respected that about me and were therefore perfect for the job of “not” holding my hand on the big day – they drove and watched TV with me. It seems weird to some that this is something that I would want to do alone but I think it speaks to who I am. Independence is one of my greatest accomplishments and my most coveted virtue and I wasn’t about to let that go because of weight. I felt that while size could change a number of things about me, it would not encroach on my independence.

The weeks before surgery were spent on a low carbohydrate diet (which made me miss fruit like none other) and cleaning up the house in anticipation of some post surgery lounging. The day before surgery I was so flustered to get things done that I actually went about town (including my whole pre-surgery check in) while wearing my dress inside out. On the day of surgery (weight at 283 lbs. BTW), my friend drove me down to the hospital and sat with me during the prep time. I remember feeling uncomfortable in the hospital gown and embarrassed about my size as I lay, basically, naked in the surgery prep room. Then I thought to myself that this would be the last time when I felt like that, and it was a really good feeling. When the anesthesia started, I did have a bit of a freak out (only in my inner monologue) but I was able to talk myself down and relax.

The next thing I know I am out of surgery and watching others around me coming out from the same procedure. I remember trying to be super polite to the nurses as I was a little worried that the drugs would make me mean (I apparently yelled at my mom when I got my wisdom teeth out at age 18). We made it back to my prep room where they let me put on pants (yay pants) and spent the next hour joking with my two friends who were somewhat saddened that I wasn’t out of it and spilling all my darkest secrets. I was so relieved that I had all my mental capacities – I guess I had been afraid all along of losing control so it was a boon to know I was alert after surgery.

In fact, I spent the whole day alert. They told me I would probably sleep the day away but I had to pee so often from that darn IV drip that sleep never really took hold. I paced around my apartment while gossiping with my friends. Maybe this was a good thing because I didn’t get the shoulder pain that everyone at my doctor’s office and online had warned me about. Overall, I really had it pretty easy. I spent about two days using cold packs which helped with swelling and was able to manage the pain without the drugs. AND I never had to use the prescription they gave me for nausea which was a real boost as I wasn’t real keen on sticking things up my heiney. I did have a low grade fever for about two weeks but that was the extent of the negatives coming off my surgery.

In the meantime, I was losing weight. I weigh myself on the Wii balance board and even though I hate that little animated scale I was so happy that every day it was registering less and less weight. I spent the first two weeks with no hunger and the next two after that with a great feeling where I could be full from very, very, small portions. I had three run-ins with side effects, the first being gas – like an alien baby gas – that made me feel like a moonbounce. That was taken care of, for the most part with Gas-X and Gaviscon. The second was constipation which I also fixed with drugs (Walgreen loves me by the way). The third was that I spent two nights finally feeling the referred pain in my shoulder. This freaked me out a bit and it really helped to visit other peoples blogs and online forums to know I wasn't alone in this and that I was still normal. After a couple of days it subsided for the most part. I felt good and headed off to Washington DC three weeks after surgery (weight 270 lbs.) to visit with friends and get on with my life.

I am now at the point where I have lost that first feeling of fullness, even after my first fill, and have come to a baby plateau of weight stabilization. I have even spent a couple of days where I was gaining weight.  I know this time will pass as well and the weight will come off eventually. In the meantime, I just think of those first couple of weeks where the band was doing all it had promised. Those weeks make me think I did the right thing and that I did the right thing in my own way.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Who am I? That is a very complicated question but I guess that since I am starting this blog I should at least give a bit of biography. I am thirty, almost thirty-one, and living in Austin, Texas where I am a PhD student at UT in Education (I study the structures and functions of schools for the most part as well as looking at inequality in schooling). Before coming to Austin, I was a middle school teacher who really enjoyed teaching adolescents as they were my type of crazy. I am single (due mostly to me being VERY picky as well as clueless with relationships) and live happily alone with my snobby cat Emme. I value friendships and fun and spend most of my spare time catching up with friends in town and across the country. This usually includes hosts of movies and finding fun new places to eat and hang out. I believe myself to have adult onset nerdiness as I have recently discovered that I know all the things traditional nerds are supposed to know (thanks to some light summer reading – Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd). Perhaps it isn’t adult onset as much as adult recognition but that is another matter. In addition to loving Star Wars, having watched all of the Buffy series, and having a favorite Doctor Who, I also read young adult fiction when I get spare time and enjoy history factoids. The rest of my spare time is taken up with music and concerts from Indie artists. I am the youngest of three sisters and keep in close contact with my mother who lives near Houston. My father passed away in December 2005 due to hospital malfeasance while he was there dealing with the complications of his own bariatric surgery – in his case, a bypass. I am sure I will expound upon that issue further but suffice to say his death has had a profound impact on me.

As for my journey as a Lap Band patient, I am just a little over a month post-op from surgery. I have had some minimal ups and downs but for the most part am feeling great and doing well. My weight stats, so to speak, are as follows:

1) I am 5’2” and started with a weight of 283 (BMI 51.8)
2) I am currently down to 263 so I have lost 20 pounds with this thingamabob inside of me.

For the rest of my introductions though, I am going to post something I wrote in my journal a while ago about who I think I am and how my decision to band was made. I don’t know if I would write the same things today if I had the chance again but I am a big fan of having emotions and ideas validated – even if they have shifted. Looking back on it, the entry is very simplified and I don’t always feel normal, but it does give some insight into the start of this journey. Here goes –

From My Journal - July, 2010

To start, I am a normal girl (a mostly normal girl). I am successful, single, and well educated – maybe even a little too well educated if there is such a thing. I was moderately popular in both high school and college and no one ever maliciously bullied me for my weight which, with the exception of a year in college where I binged on diet pills and alcohol, has always been well above the average. Even though I have never looked anywhere near like the girls in magazines or even stock photos on non-fashion internet sites, I have managed to make it to my thirties without becoming what I consider a fat stereotype – you know, the angry girl in the corner wearing stretch pants with no friends and no fun. Oh sure, I have felt the wrath of a society hyped on being thin (people mistaking me for pregnant instead of merely fat, restaurant booths built just a little too small, and the weird looks from salesclerks who obviously think I am too big to be in their store). With these societal slants and, mostly, unconscious insults aside though, I have managed to feel pretty normal. I guess I am trying to say that I have never felt like an after-school special if that resonates. 

I guess (mostly) normal should be an accomplishment given that as I have aged, my weight has climbed well above what doctors, media, and every nosy person out there feels is a healthy weight. I hate the term healthy weight. As if some chart can tell me what is healthy for me by comparing my information to some Amazonian woman with a metabolism as fast as a cheetah. I also hate that weight has this huge public stigma. I get it, weight contains risks, but so does smoking, drinking, sleeping around, and acting like an a**hole – and plenty of people are fine with those other risks. Weight is an issue for everybody apparently as even tiny girls worry about their fat heineys and cellulite growth (poor tiny tiny girls…). I guess that is why everyone takes it out so much on people who have literally bigger issues with the sizing of their clothes; it’s like a classic Freudian coping mechanism to project onto others their fear and hatred of body fat. 

Everybody feels that they know all about weight and are qualified to pass judgment on any stricken soul who doesn’t look good in her jeans. It’s always the hottest gossip: who’s gained weight, who’s lost weight, whose new weight looks hot or not… Let’s face it, if people didn’t care about weight no one would attend their high school reunions to scope out who got chubby in the past ten years. Society reinforces and rewards those who prey on the fat, making us large moving targets for harassment, bullying, and even friendly chit chats about what is wrong with us. Do you really think I need a grocery store sales clerk deriding me for my size and my love of cheese? Lady, you are a clerk working minimum wage without health care, shouldn’t you worry about bigger problems in the world, something more important than the physical space I take up!?!

What people don’t understand is that fat people don’t go around loving their elastic waistbands, they hate it. They hate their body and it reciprocates, at least for me. Regardless of whether or not I make an effort, my body is predetermined to put on weight. This is an awful predicament which often makes me not want to try. Needless to say when I give up hope and don’t try, I fulfill all those stereotypes of fat people not doing anything about their fatness. So, if I am not on a diet, well then it is my fault that I gained. The trick is, even when I am on a diet it is still my fault because my body wants to gain weight. For example, two years ago I moved to a new city where I began a much healthier lifestyle. I fixed my ankle which kept me from being active, I ate far better, and I walked and exercised more often. The result: I gained over 25 pounds for my healthy efforts. My body hates me and there is little I can do about it. How can anyone that doesn’t have the same issues really understand what that means? Compound that with societal views on fat and my own emotional connections with my father and weight and it is no wonder that my weight is a tricky subject. 

Last December, over seven months ago, I decided that I would have to go on the offensive with my body. I had just finished a growth spurt of new weight and was depressed by my absolute lack of progress I had made over the past two years to stem the tide of gain. My body was intent on accruing weight like it was saving up for the next ice age. From what I have been told this horrible trail of weight gain is due to both my unique hormone levels and genetics. It turns out not only am I predispositioned for utter fatness but that my sensitivity to hormones actually speeds this process along. Faced with a future of looking like I eat small children for breakfast (I promise, I don’t), I decided that it might be time to try something radical. I went in for a lap band seminar and consultation just before leaving for family vacation. 

I will leave greater detail of the band and the procedure for another time, but suffice to say that it is a silicon band surgically tied around the top of the stomach that only lets small portions of food in at a time allowing people like me to more effectively starve ourselves to smallness. The band can be adjusted and has all sorts of newfangled and modern features which kind of make it sound like a car. Mostly, it is just a big rubber band acting as a chastity belt for my tummy. I don’t sound so positive about it do I? Well, I am not. I am not crazy about having a foreign thingamabob inside of me that keeps me from eating like a normal person. It is a big step; it is drastic; it is the worst thing I have ever done to myself. Why did I decide to do it then? A horrible thing was needed to keep my body from doing other, even more horrible things to itself later in life. 

Right now I don’t have any of those issues which obese people are a greater risk for, but I know it is coming. I’m actually really healthy right now if you don’t put me on a scale. I don’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol, my heart is dandy, and I don’t have any health issues which threaten me. (I do have PCOS which is a disorder where cysts form on my ovaries, but it is under control for the time being.) Even with a clean bill of health though, my weight is a warning sign for hurt and sickness ahead. Diabetes is like a nightmare waiting to come true and I have seen it before, in my father. I was scared to think of what biological tortures my body would do to me if I didn’t start a war with it first; that is why I chose to have a doctor open me up and physically alter my body forever.
When I went for my psychological clearance for the surgery, the counselor told me that most people say they do it for the looks, they are just tired of looking fat and having all the hoopla that goes with it. Though I empathize with that and do truly want to look better, I did it out of pure, unadulterated fear of what could come. See I am a scholarly and logical person; while I do want to look better and fit into cute clothes, I know deep down that doesn’t make me who I am. While I fear I won’t find a man who will love me enough to be my life companion without being more attractive, I know that I would only take on a life companion if he loved me for every part of me, weight and all. And while I fear the growing stigmatism and hatred in today’s society for the overweight, I know deep down I am pretentious enough to overcome those idiots who don’t have half as much going on as I do. What I do fear though is losing my freedom and independence because my body hates me and is slowly defiling my shape to the point I cannot be me. 

That’s how I came to be with new suture marks across my stomach and an invention inside of me that will be there long after all of my fleshy and bony parts have decomposed. Well, that and six months of doctors’ visits and clearance tests plus another month for insurance authorization.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New (Blog) Day.

Where to start? I guess I should begin with a quirky note about the title. After reading numerous titles by other lap-banded bloggers I felt that I, too, needed a catchy moniker. I tried to think of personal puns, fun synonyms, or trendy takes on popular notions, but they all came out very cheesy. The best I could do was to link the title name to how I felt as an overweight person living in America today. People ogle, jest, jibe, and proselytize those who don’t conform to popular standards of thinness. It is almost as if fat people are a big circus act inviting others to stare and prod at the freak show before them. I empathize with the bearded lady trying to live life while stroking her abnormal facial hair. As I recently underwent the Lap-Band procedure, I felt that the “Banded Lady” was appropriate. This pulls from my feeling of solidarity to a circus performer but also my disgust at the conceptions of the overweight that abound today.

The Banded Lady is a multipurpose blog. My intention is to share my journey as a lap band patient, but to also document my feelings on weight and society. This is to be a sort of personal journal for me to share my rants about the world, my personal frustrations, and my successes (or failures) with weight. I hope that it helps others as they take similar paths but also opens doors and allows me to share with people who go through the same issues as I deal with. While an extroverted person in most of my life, I am very shy and reluctant to share my issues with weight with most of my friends and family. This might be because, as luck would have it, I am cursed with wonderful people that happen to look like JCrew models. I yearn for people who share the same experiences and understandings that I do – those that struggle with weight and want to be seen as more than their poundage. I invite you to read, comment, and question my blog as I think it will help me better understand weight in my life and where it fits in the larger picture.