One of the questions I get asked the most is, “What has been the hardest part of your journey?”
I’ve talked a little bit about food addiction and how it has personally affected me. I believe the hardest part of my journey has been learning about my food addiction and being able to find better coping mechanisms to combat it. My aunt who has known me all of my life recently told me something that made me realize something. She told me that I had always been a happy girl. Yes, I was overweight and at one point I was obese. The persona that I played outside of my cave was always a happy fat girl. Deep inside I was hurting. I was hurting to be a normal girl. I recently had plastic surgery. Yes, after losing 220lbs I had a massive amount of loose skin. I had done what I always wanted. I lost the weight and although I was happy, my loose skin became a greater insecurity than my weight. So, I underwent skin removal, I had a belt lipectomy which successfully removed 13lbs of skin. That’s a story for another day though.
When I met the plastic surgeon it was a scary liberating experience. I remember being nervous but excited. During my pre-op appointment, I remember him asking me what my expectations for plastic surgery were. I was a massive weight loss patient; he had his work cut out for him. I knew I would never be a supermodel, obviously. However, when he asked me what my expectations and goals were for plastic surgery. I couldn’t answer him. I was utterly speechless. What were my goals?
A deep uncomfortable silenced settled over us as I pondered his words. I remember him asking, “What do you want to look like? Your expectations have to be real?” I wondered about those words. What were my expectations? I had lost over 200lbs, I was only 26 years old. I wanted what I always had wanted. I wanted to be normal. I realize now why he asked me that question. Plastic surgery has been an emotional battle as well as it has been a physical battle. As I deal with being 9 weeks post op, I still battle with my continued insecurities. All I ever wanted since I could remember was to be normal. What is normal though? How do we define that word? Society has told us throughout history that being normal is what? Being a white heterosexual female. When I think of normal, I think of a white blonde skinny girl.
So, at 9 weeks post, when I dare to stare into that mirror after my shower and I don’t see that white blonde skinny girl my food addiction is at its most rampant. Obviously, I can’t stuff my face anymore. Which is something I am always thankful for. But that doesn’t stop me from skipping meals and eating things I know have no nutritional value for a bariatric patient. It also doesn’t stop me from buying loads of food I know will end up in the trash. So, the hardest part about this journey has been recognizing my food addiction, but by doing so I can combat it. My daily battles are forever changing and as they do, I have to remind myself how far I’ve come. Despite how I might feel at that moment I remind myself to be proud and that strengthens me to continue moving forward.