Guess what? You just got a new job!
We’ll get to the job news, but first I’m going to tell you a job story of my own. I’m a writer and story-teller: that’s my job. Often my stories are fiction, but every word in this story is true.
Many years ago, I attended a business luncheon with a coworker who was naturally slim. The food was delicious: a huge, flaky croissant filled with chicken and grape salad, a mountain of potato chips (I adore potato chips), and strawberry shortcake for dessert. About one-third of the way through her meal, my coworker stopped eating and pushed her plate away.
“What’s the matter?” I said. “Don’t you like the food?”
“Oh, it’s fine,” she said. “I just can’t eat any more.”
She must have seen the baffled look on my face, because she added an explanation. “I eat a certain amount, and then I reach a point where I just can’t eat another bite, so I stop eating. I’ve always been this way.”
I wanted to offer to finish her lunch for her, but was too ashamed of my own greed to suggest it, and I was busy digesting what she had just said. I couldn’t remember ever in my life reaching the point where I couldn’t eat another bite of food. And although I had tried more diets and slimming plans than I could name, it had never occurred to me that I might become slim simply by stopping eating when I became full. My coworker was effortlessly slim and I was effortlessly obese. I subsided into silent envy over her natural advantage.
I spent the next 20 years suffering from morbid obesity and developing numerous health problems as a result of it. Finally, after much research and thought, I decided that weight loss surgery was my best option. On September 19, 2007, I had adjustable gastric band surgery. Ever since then I have been learning how to eat, and live, like a slim person. During that time, I’ve accumulated a lot of information, and have cultivated a lot of opinions that may not agree with yours, but of everything I’ve learned during my weight loss journey, there’s one truth you need to heed.
Like it or not, no bariatric surgery of any description is magic. The WLS patients I know have all worked hard for their success. Adjustable gastric band. Roux-en-Y. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Sleeve plication. Duodenal switch. The surgical procedure happens only once (good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise), but one thing, common to us all, happens every day for the rest of our lives. Weight loss and weight loss maintenance require attention, commitment and action every day for the rest of our lives. It’s a job – a career – we must do or die.
A smart, mature, diligent acquaintance who did her research before she took the weight loss surgery plunge said to me once, “I had no idea how much work this was going to be.”
The work is not just in the weight loss but in lifestyle changes. The work doesn’t end once you reach your goal weight, but believe me: it is so very, very worth it. I love this new job of mine. I love the improved health and high energy and increased self-esteem and size 4 clothing, and I hope I never grow tired of it or take it all for granted.
A lifetime of work ahead of you can seem overwhelming. Think of it as a lifetime of learning. Learning is a good thing. If you stop learning, you stop growing. And if you stop growing, you die.
My mother, who struggled with obesity most of her life, used to say that there was a tall, thin brunette inside her just waiting to get out. I will always have a short, fat blonde girl inside me just waiting to get out. But having weight loss surgery has given me some wonderful tools for lifetime weight management, and I hope that proves to be the same for you.