In New South Wales, Australia we are just emerging from a lock down that exceeded four months. After more than six months of relative freedom, which included interstate travel, the Delta strain plunged us back into a life of working from home, limited interactions with others and restrictions on our daily movements.
Like so many my husband and I were desperate for a change of scenery. As I write this I’m sitting in a beautiful hotel in the mountains, five days in, to a six day escape.
Unfortunately it’s been raining, a lot. I could blame that for the lack of hiking and bike riding, but the truth is there is something far more restrictive to our leisure activities than the weather could ever be.
Our enjoyment of life is restricted on a daily basis, by the state of my body.
I feel like a hypocrite, and you may agree
It’s been a little over a year since a I wrote my first article about my 30 year struggle with my weight. My story, I’m Sick of Being Fat, was well received and continues to be read by dozens of people every day.
And that makes me feel guilty.
Because the truth is, there is a very good reason why it is has been so long since I wrote a story about my progress. And that truth is that a major stress in my life, my experience of being erased as a parent, has unraveled all the progress that I had made.
My breakthroughs and successes were only temporary.
Like most people who struggle with long-term obesity, and who want to heal from that obesity (because not all do), I keep failing in my attempts to tackle the problem once and for all.
I really don’t know why.
One of the challenges of writing about deeply personal matters is dealing with change. Changes in our views, re-visiting our own decisions, reconsidering positions that we have taken and shared through our writing.
Because it’s hard to admit defeat when you have written about your success.
But isn’t authenticity the point? When I wrote my articles about weight loss, stress, giving up wine and finding a path to healing, I truly believed what I was sharing.
I sincerely felt I had found the answer to my own life-long struggles. I wanted to share that with others.
My intentions were good, but my belief that I was on the path to weight-loss success was misguided.
I have written at length about my abusive ex-husband’s agenda to punish me for escaping him, by obstructing the relationship between me and my adult, severely intellectually disabled son. That fight has all but destroyed me and all of the legal doors available are effectively closed. I have been a mess for the last six months as I process the reality that tragically, it is likely time for me to stop fighting for the sake of my own sanity.
When trauma strikes, old methods of coping, as ineffective as they are, return to greet you.
Over the last few months all of my progress has unraveled. I don’t know how much weight I put back on, because I intentionally don’t own scales, but my clothes tell the story.
Despite my best intentions, I have failed again.
I recently turned 49. Perhaps it’s the change of scenery but these last few days have made me realize that I am sick of missing out on things like hikes and long bike rides. I can see clearly that life is passing me by and that I do not want to take over 100 pounds of excess weight into my 50’s.
I’ve considered the gastric sleeve surgery before, but have always talked myself out of it because I was convinced that not being able to eat a large bowl of pasta or a big steak would make life not worth living.
But the truth is that delicious food is only one part of life. Because of my weight I live in constant physical pain from arthritis and struggle to walk down stairs. I’m too young for a knee replacement.
I’m also too young to be missing out on life. Perhaps facing that reality is what has given me the courage to consider that there may be bigger things in life to miss out on than a decent sized bowl of carbonara.
I’ve had enough, enough of existing instead of living and watching instead of doing. Enough of elevating the momentary pleasure of taste over true fulfillment.
It’s time to turn the tables.
But why such a drastic move?
Because truthfully, I’ve come to a point where I don’t believe there is any other way. I’m sick of being fat, and I don’t have what it takes to change that without help.
I’ve had weight-loss surgery before, a gastric banding in 2008. At the time I was entrapped in an abusive relationship, raising a disabled child and trying to start my career as a lawyer. My then-husband wanted me to have the surgery because he thought he deserved an attractive wife and it was my job to deliver the goods.
I didn’t have the time or freedom to take proper care of myself post-surgery. I was constantly vomiting and within eight weeks my band had slipped and put my life at risk. I was devastated when the band was removed as I had pinned so much more on it that it could ever have delivered. My then-husband had promised me that he would treat me better if I was slim, and by that time I was so worn down by years of abuse, that it seemed like a viable solution to a problem from which I could see no escape.
Life is different now. My now-husband and I both struggle with our weight, although my problem is much more significant than his. He supports my decision, but the decision is all mine. His love is unconditional.
This time I am making the decision for the right reasons.
I am well aware that this surgery has only been around for 15 years and there could be long-term issues of which the medial profession is not yet aware.
But here’s the thing, if I don’t change something I could be dead in less than fifteen years anyway, and going on the last 12 months, they would not be good years.
I’ve done my research, and I’m prepared to take my chances.
Because I have finally accepted that when it comes to riding my frame of over 100 pounds of excess weight, I don’t have it in me.
Not without help I don’t.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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