Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Enjoy your body."

I saw the nutritionist on Thursday. I was fifteen minutes late, which sucked, and she was rushed, but I think I'm a fairly easy patient now, being on point with the weight loss and not needing much in the way of guidance. I lost eight pounds in the last month. It had been thirteen the month prior, but she assured me that the pace with which it is being lost is normal or better than normal, particularly considering that I still haven't been cleared for physical therapy or working out. (I see the ankle specialist next week, and am wondering how that's all going to play out. I went to a trade show a few days ago where we walked around quite a bit and my ankle is still a bit sore from that.) I also discovered sugar-free candy from Harry and David, who have handily replaced Ben and Jerry in my heart--damn these dangerous men and their delicious concoctions! Thankfully, sugar-free candy does have that built-in deterrent in the form of its sweeteners, which have an adverse effect on anyone who overindulges in them. The warnings are on the packaging: "may have a laxative effect".

My nutritionist talked about the long-term importance of body sculpting and strengthening the core. "I want 2010 to be the year of the core for you," she said. I have long since established that I was in the bathroom when they were passing out the core--and besides, core is literally a four-letter word. The word "core" in the context she uses belongs in the same category as "team building", "holiday party", "three-legged race", "bridal shower" and "colonoscopy" in the English language lexicon for me. In short: eyes will be rolled; faces will be made.

I countered with, "2010 is going to be the year of having fun again." (Because it is!) If I can make myself stick to a workout regimen, ANY workout regimen, that will be the victory. I certainly don't see myself doing sit-ups until I vomit.

Her eyes got wide when she asked me if I was eating really good food. Food isn't anything I consider all that good. When you can have a few bites, how good can it be, and seriously, who cares? I have a lot of supplements to get in and that takes precedence. I told her the majority of my protein comes from the bullet supplements. I have heard that a lot of people stop using them, but I don't see myself doing that anytime soon. They are easy enough to choke down and I want to make my RDAs. Hair loss apparently happens predominantly from month 3 to month 7, according to a handout she gave me; I thought it was only month 2 and 3, so imagine my joy at this news. It is month four, and I have noticed more hair in the brush than usual, but I don't think it's enough to be noticeable to anyone but me. (I am not coloring it indefinitely just in case.)

We talked about the strangeness of being a weight I was at a much younger age, and how this process is, in some ways, like turning back the clock. I get around so much more easily, even with my ankle still in its healing stages, and physically I already feel 1,000 times better. I tell everyone--and will say again here--that even if I don't lose another ounce, this surgery has been totally worth it.

She talked about her passion, which is follow-up for two years post-op, and pointed out that the surgical center statistics of "only 5% will maintain weight loss" does not apply to those who participate in nutritional counseling and guidance before and after surgery; their success rate percentage is much higher. "I will see you in 2010," she said quietly. "Just...enjoy your body."

Enjoy your body. Those are not words that have ever been said to me. I have said them, angrily, several times, in reference to the barrage of verbal abuse I received growing up: "If people had just left me alone and let me enjoy my body, I..." Fill in the blank: been healthier, felt better, wouldn't have developed an eating disorder, wouldn't have flunked PE, wouldn't have become morbidly obese. The only message I received regarding my body as far back as I remember was one of constant and complete failure: my body looked wrong; it was not good enough. It was ugly and disgusted people. ("Fatandugly" was one word for a long time. It took decades to occur to me that I was not necessarily ugly simply because I was fat.) I felt--and still feel--much more comfortable when it is hidden. (There was also plenty of shame about being female and therefore dirty, an issue which is both different and the same.) As an adult, I have learned hard-won gratitude for my body--for its mobility and functioning senses. Actually enjoying it? I can make an educated guess: that will be something I work on for the rest of my life. I think enjoyment of my body will come in moments, much as true happiness does, fleeting revelations that cross my mind: Wow, it is easier to walk now. It feels good to dance. That workout felt good. I am already having those moments from time to time, and they are such a gift.

The world would be a completely different place if people learned from a young age that it was their right to enjoy their bodies, to appreciate what their bodies can do rather than focusing on the ways they fall short. This relatively simple concept would make a much larger dent in "the obesity epidemic" and eating disorder percentages than whether or not you can purchase bottled water at a fast-food restaurant or buy soda in a vending machine in school.

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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