Sunday, September 26, 2010

You've lost the weight, why aren't you happy?

I look at the person I photographed in Cabo San Lucas. Is the lady happy standing out there on the beach? Maybe...or maybe not. Some might question "How could she not be happy standing on the beach and looking at that beautiful sunrise?" Well the truth is that some people would be standing out there complaining about the sand in their shoes.

Some might also question "How could you not be happy after losing 100, 200, 300 or more pounds?" For people that haven't lived that situation they couldn't possibly understand why some of us aren't.

I have stared into the anxious faces of pre-surgery women that long for the simple things like being able to tie their shoes, play with their children, fit in an airplane seat without an extender and many of the things others take for granted.
We buy into that dream. You know the one....where our life becomes this perfect pink cloud life of thinness....sheer normalcy. No more struggles or pain, everything is rainbows and fairy dust because we lost the weight.

Lately there have been an overwhelming number of posts from unhappy post-ops. If you are one to relate to this situation, have you asked yourself why? So many set themselves up for failure because they are SURE that losing the weight will make them instantly happy. I've talked to many pre-ops as they nod their heads and say "I understand, all I want is to do normal things." How can we blame them for wanting more? The first year is made of all these incredible highs from losing weight like we've never lost before! Friends and relatives are telling us how GREAT we look. We get so excited that we can't help but want more! The honeymoon period ends and unless we are prepared, we may wonder what on earth will I do now to replace those "bouncing off the wall highs" we have lived for a year.

We needed to address why we needed to self medicate before we got to this phase but we certainly have to NOW. Why do you think that only having a thin body would make you happy? Think about a friend who has been thin all their lives. I'm pretty sure they don't get out of bed in the morning thinking "OH WOW, I'M SO HAPPY BECAUSE I'M THIN!" They are just like everyone else trying to live their life the best they can with the best attitude they can.


Perhaps one of the most useful rituals I do each morning is a walking meditation with my dog. "I am truly grateful for my thin healthy body" (that's the first one followed by many more) While I'm saying that I see myself the night before surgery. I remember exactly where I was and I remember to be grateful for where I am today. Is post-op life hard? It is if you believe it is. Wasn't it hard to live in your pre-surgery body? Some of us just can't help ourselves from looking over that fence thinking the grass is greener. I have been discussing this lately but if you really REALLY think about it why do you believe that what you want is always in a place you cannot have? What is the point in that? I will say this have to decide the grass is green enough for right now and when you do, you totally forget to want to climb that fence because even if you do, there's just another fence waiting on the other side. Do you want to enjoy where you are or spend your life climbing fences?
I have found that when I start to see the green grass all around me that the fences fall down because they don't matter any more. After spending 30 years of wanting to be "not obese", I am done with concentrating on what I don't have and ready to enjoy what I have! The magic that happens is that you open yourself to the new stuff that can come into your life because your energy is tied up on useless endeavors.
Open your life to new experience. Quit spending your time concentrating on what you don't have and remember how far you've come. I promise it will make a difference!
Try it you'll like it Mikey!
Love and Light,


Anonymous said...

This is so very true, but for some of us, myself is who I speak of... I was overwhelmed with fear, pain and self hate. I did not show that on the outside, instead I turned it in...I did not understand what I was feeling so I chose to drink, or shop or whatever...I posted my thread not to scare people, or to discourage them But, to encourage them to acknowledge them to honor whatever they are the feeling I had will not take over. Working through the emotions is not for wimps... I am chosing to be kinder with myself thee days.~Teresa Dunn

Unknown said...

As usual, you've got your finger on the pulse of the community. I can't tell you how many messages I get from people begging me -- PLEADING with me to MAKE THEM STOP EATING the junk.

They are so unhappy, and they are convinced that if I can *just* fix it for them, they'll be good again. But, it's not like that. We all have to take responsibility for our current situations, and then determine if we need to change or maintain.

Whatever we do, though, we have to choose to BE HAPPY NOW, and not pin it on some far away hope, dream or condition. I get so frustrated when I hear people say, "I'll be happy when..." Oh, gosh...No you won't. You won't be happy "when" if you aren't happy now.

I'll never forget the day my boss asked me why I still went to support group meetings since I wasn't "fat anymore"? He was being serious. I said, "Well, because it's a battle I'll have to fight for the rest of my life. I'm not cured of obesity." He said, "but, aren't you HAPPY when you look at yourself in the mirror?" It was such a simple question, but one without a simple answer.

Yes, of course I'm happy with what I see in the mirror, and I'd like to KEEP it that way (thank you). And that's why I go to support group meetings!

How do you explain an addiction to someone who doesn't have one? I think almost everyone has one...they just don't choose to face it down, like we do ;-)

Unknown said...

Teresa, I so understand that because in the beginning I felt the same way. I hope that living it for a few more years will help you grow more and more. (By the way this wasn't in reponse to a thread, I've been writing this for a week or so) I hope you will be kinder to yourself because that is the only way to be. We do need to honor our feelings but be aware that growth is a wonderful thing!

Beth said...

"Think about a friend who has been thin all their lives. I'm pretty sure they don't get out of bed in the morning thinking "OH WOW, I'M SO HAPPY BECAUSE I'M THIN!"

This is a really great way to look at it. Thank you. I don't think "we" really ever consider that.

Unknown said...

Cari, so many words of wisdom. I couldn't have said it better myself. BE HAPPY NOW and if you don't think you can, practice being happy and then you'll find it starts to come naturally. Just like bad feelings start to find a home in our brain, happy feelings can do the same. Nothing worth doing well is easy! We have the choice to try or let life just continue to drag us along where we only react instead of being proactive!

Regarding stop eating junk...I look at is as poison so it's a black and white thing. Just as we have discussed before, when you run out of money do you rob a bank? What stops you from doing that? Fear of prison? Obesity is our own kind of prison and I'm not going back. Thanks for the incredible insight that you always have.

Unknown said...

Thanks Beth, we usually don't consider the things that we take for granted...sort of like waking up and saying "Yea! I've got 2 arms" but you'd be really upset if you lost one. We go from wanting to tie our shoes to wanting to be the next Victoria's Secret model but NOTHING lasts in the physical realm so instead of wanting more we should enjoy what we've got RIGHT NOW. We can gripe about this and that but in ten years we'll be wishing we could be where we are now! If we spend all our time wishing we were back where we were ten years ago we just waste our time wishing for stuff we don't have. Pretty soon we've spent our whole life wishing for stuff we didn't have instead of appreciating the things we do. And...using all that energy for the impossible doesn't allow for "new stuff" to grow.

Anonymous said...

Nah... my happiness has increased tenfold. I LOVE this life I live. Love this life, girl.

Anonymous said...

and I had my surgery to be thin, not for any health reasons. Just bring on the skinny.

Unknown said...

I so appreciate your coming out and tlking about this. On the WLS boards are so many questioning why they aren't happy and when will they be along with all the questions about how it will be after WLS. So many don't understand the reason behind the vetting that goes on before sugery. The pain that we bring to WLS doesn't magicall fo away after sugery. It's still there waiting for a new avenue to release it's into. When I experienced this happening in my own life I sought out a therapist and nipped it before it got out of hand. I wish more people had this option available to them and would love to see some foundation monies going towards this area--maybe it already does?

As a former nonprofit ed. director, and fund developer I would be more than happy to help the WSLFA with grant writing.

I think you do an amazing job of lifting spirits and helping people see their goals and embrance their new life as a thin person.

Unknown said...

thorney as always you are a voice of reason and you are so right! Unfortunately there really isn't much out there for the average post-op regarding help in this area. That's exactly why I'm talking about it. There are so many post-ops that do not have access to a therapist and even then it has to be a therapist that understands our disease! Too many fall by the way side, too many "blowing in the wind" and I'm working as hard as I can to rectify that.

gastric bypass surgery phoenix said...

At times people tend to forget to be grateful for the new image they have. Look at the brighter side of life. You've lost the pounds so you should be happy after the surgery.