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The Uncomfortable Truth....



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I sometimes feel like I'm living in the world of "Brazil"

Except that my life has, by and large, been so unremittingly average. Remarkable in its unremarkableness. There were a few instances of "you'll sit at the table until you finish your dinner" but my father, thank god, was a picky eater so there wasn't much that my mother would cook that I wouldn't eat. The only think unusual was that I was always the fat one. No one else in my family is heavy, a couple of them are even too slender.

I have no idea how I got to be as fucked up as I am (other than years of schooling by nuns). If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all?!

What am I saying ... I got here because I like food. I love food. I always have. Whenever I've lost weight outside of the sleeve or the lapband, it's been by severely restricting calories and working out like a maniac. That's a freaking uncomfortable truth. What happens when I'm too old to work out so hard? My body is already slowing down (I'll be 52 in a couple of weeks), metabolism-wise. What's next?

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Oh, it's ALL about the nuns.... Scary!

Hopefully with all your new-found and sustained healthiness, your metabolism will sort itself out and you'll be groovy-do?

It might be okay :)

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If not, you can always come and sit in the naughty-porky corner with me :D

Lol!! I love your humor Madam!!!

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If not, you can always come and sit in the naughty-porky corner with me :D

Lol!! I love your humor Madam!!!

Thank you, Darlink :) x

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i havent read all the replies. not by a long shot. ha! but i will chime in with this, i have a friend who lost 150 pounds with diet and exercise. she's been on the cover of numerous magazines (her husband lost 150 pounds too), on the today show, the doctors, got a book offer, has done several cardio hooping DVDs, etc. she struggles internally with the sam exact stuff i do. she struggles with shame over her body, past and present, with thoughts of how she is not good enough, how big a failure she is, how not to eat her feelings away, how to live not defending herself in her head all the time. my point is, its all about being able to be brutally honest about what food was doing for us what we couldnt do for ourselves. being better is all about learning to cope and thrive without depending on food to make it all go away, and how i became the person who needed to make it all go away.

she talks a lot about fat thinking. thinking like the person she used to be. making choices that needed to be coped with with food. seeing herself and her life a something that needed to be medicated. of course, both of us have only become aware of this AFTER losing weight. recovery for me is not losing weight. recovery for me is about me learning how to look at all of this very honestly (no hiding allowed!) and see it for what it really was and is.

once, a woman online had a crush on me, she send me a box of things like a scarf, some dried fruit, a journal and a thic nah han (sp?) CD. it was 3 CDs, but all i remember from it was him talking about the still pond perfectly reflecting the moon. if our hearts are calm he said, we can clearly see what is happeing around us and in us. but ripples in the pond create distortions. so every week, when i go to yoga, i set my intention as stillness. each week i strive towards it. i want to live my life without any more distortions.

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I am very very honored to have been allowed to read and therefore "share" the feelings and thoughts of the posters in this thread. Thank you. Every. One. We share many similarities, differ in some ways but we have all suffered. Have had a life which had both blessings and struggles. Though I love my family dearly, they were certainly the origins of my deepest issues. I was born five years after my brother, who was without doubt my mother's favorite. He never got over losing the only child status and for my entire childhood, resented me. My mother has demons that prevented her from relating to either of us in a healthy way. food was love, comfort and connectedness with her. My father was a typical male of his generation, and not suited to dealing with a controlling, but not healthy functioning wife. Both my brother and I have struggled to overcome our backgrounds. I have made some very good choices in overcomming the drama triangle (especially with my mother) and I feel very happy with how much I have been able to move forward. That said, my struggle with my weight has a lot to do with the feelings of shame that I see roots of in my childhood. I recall innumerable examples of messages from my family-of-origin which scripted things like: "I am not as smart", capable, pretty, socially skilled, focused, etc etc as my brother, cousins, contemporaries or virtually anyone else in the world....was it their intent? No. The result? YES! I have never gone to therapy, and am not opposed to therapy...but also think there are a lot of tools to retrain those FOO messages. We can rewrite those scripts, stop the negative self talk....and defeat the shame trap that has lead ME to me addiction to self medicating myself with food. Food does not give the little girl I was the message that she (I) is/am good enough. I recently saw Brene Brown on TED Talks about shame, it's connection to addiction, especially eating disorders and what we need to do about it. I hope if anyone else watches it, you will post your thoughts....

Again, thank you (especially you, Madame Rev) for creating this open space to share, to shed a light on shame and eliminate its power and influence in my life.

Steamy

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Well well, i listened to the http://www.bariatricpal.com/topic/289791-the-uncomfortable-truth/page-25

on vulnerability and that my entire idea of hiding away and not having to be in the public eye..Not to be famous or anything...Just to put myself out there and get used to being me and using empathy for others as they show their lack of vulnerability....

In a sense though I have made a huge step by putting my thoughts out on this thread and the experiences I have faced in life has opened a hole in my life that is now healed....Some of the infection has been drained by saying things out loud here and waiting for the responses whether bad or good...Taking the chance of telling the truth and maybe just maybe helping someone else feel that it is okay to do the same thing..

I recognize that fear can be a strength but it can also be debilitating...Esp. If you are afraid to tell the truth....Open up and dump the things that brought you to this negative state in your life....I think i have made a first step in the right direction of allowing myself to be vulnerable in the right way....hmmmmmm

Light bulb moment kids!

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I just watched it too. That is some powerful stuff right there. Major lightbulb moment.

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Am with you RJ. Telling the truth and being vulnerable was, for me, the start of changing my life.

It has set me free and has also allowed the people in my life, who have always loved and cared for me, the chance to show that for the first time. It's amazing because they were always there, willing and able, but because of my fear, i kept them at arms length without even realising it.

The result is I now know for sure that they really like me for me, warts and all. My vulnerability and honesty has seen them open up to me too, deepening my relationships in a way I couldn't have imagined. Being vulnerable has scared the sh1t out of me but I don't feel so alone - and I am not alone because my friends are right beside me because I have let them in.

At times, the outpouring of emotion has been overwhelming and i have wanted to go back in my shell. But my life now has light and shade in a way it never had before and I feel as if I belong to an amazing group of people. Or perhaps I actually feel like I now deserve to belong because if they like me this much, perhaps I was never as bad a person as I believed....

Has taken a long time to get here. I knew the theory of vulnerability and honesty and the positive impact both could have but was too scared to try. Wish I had done it sooner but we arrive where we need to be only when we are ready.

Good luck to you if you are struggling with this but please persevere, it is truly life changing, like blowing a hole in a brick wall and letting light flood in...

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I also watched the Ted talk by Brene ... I hadn't seen that one previously, but I have watched her earlier talk and it has been so profound I have to keep watching it. My thoughts on the talk on shame was that because of a gazillion factors in my life I was raised to the feminist and masculine ideas of perfection. I was raised to depend on no one, praised for being so strong in the face of often great adversity and to look good and be perfect while doing it. As recently as last week I was in that role being perfect and courageous for my family of almost all women while inside knowing I wasn't good enough. (Hello my dear anxiety medication)

What is even worse is that I am carrying this shame while working in an environment that has embraced Brene's talks and encourages us to fail.... I have the rare opportunity to practice this and watch others break free,but I have largely remained on the sidelines.

I think for the last year I have slowly been moving towards the "arena" I think that surgery is part of the journey to the arena and I will get there. 2014 is going to be a tough year, as the pounds come off so will the many layers of protection that in some ways have even been part of my personal and professional success.

My commitment to myself is to get into the game of life and begin to let go of shame.

Thank you for posting the link

Barefeet

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Ok, I'm just now getting nervous about seeing family for Christmas. I am no longer the biggest, and none of my in-law family criticizes. But I do. I compare my self to my sister-in-laws and always find myself lacking. I'm so tired of never feeling good enough.

Anybody know when the "no longer obese" finally catches up with the mind?

Blah!

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only you can do the interior work ness to feel better about yourself. even skinny people feel shame and low self esteem. losing weight doesn't make you suddenly not have these issues anymore. there are workbooks out there, therapists and counselors. get some help!

in the meantime, journal about how feeling bad about yourself has lead you to overeat. identify your "bad messages." write them down. look at them in back and white. then write down better messages. practice saying these better messages to yourself when the bad ones creep in. be prepared for when these thoughts automatically show up. you can do this! this is how we stop being overeaters on the inside too. this time you are swallowing lies about yourself. they are making you just as sick.

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Okay, I've been forced to do a lot of soul-searching recently.

Despite sailing through any pre-operative psychological assessment (in fact I was so convincing and probably 'cause I was self pay I wasn't actually referred for the full tests), there is a nagging truth which keeps tapping me on the shoulder and making me uncomfortably aware of the reasons as to why I found myself in this position. The position whereby I felt bariatric surgery was my only viable option to lose weight and take control of my diet. Or more accurately and for me; my portion size.

Although I can intellectualise my way out of a paper bag (as was stated by the psychologist when I finally met them), I had, and have, to be honest as to the reasons I ended up this big.

The answer, as painful as it is, was; my mother.

My mother is a tough cookie. Born in a depressive era in Ireland, with enumerate siblings. She was poor and although educated, she was curtailed in her life choices and was always shown that 'if you love someone, you feed them'. I assume this was their truth, as to feed a very big family was difficult at this time, and was the only example her poor long-suffering and abused mother could muster under extreme circumstances. It was also the only expected long-term outlook for women of childbearing age.

The impact of this, was clearly passed down the genetic line. That in this, the nature/nurture argument for our food weaknesses becomes more pressing. This was exemplified not only in the way my mother behaved generally, but how she administered herself in her marriage and how she behaved with her children.

The extent of this dysfunction only became apparent in how skewed my food choices (and more appropriately: portion sizes) were - and how I was born into those food choices - when recently cooking for my mother. She skipped anything resembling a vegetable, ate her body-weight in meat, potatoes and fresh bread (despite my making from scratch; Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Fatttoush and Lamb kebab). She was a wonderful cook herself and we never went without anything (all food groups represented) and it was never out of a packet. However, I got a rude awakening as to how a mothers preferences in showing affection and her deeper psychological state, totally influenced us kids.

When pressing me on my weight loss, she conceded that she'd always focussed too much on the carbs ('tis an Irish thing) when we were children and how she'd misrepresented the importance of bread and potatoes in our diet. This was also, and sadly, tempered with how her inability to show affection, manifested itself in the reward system she'd assigned for herself. In that by feeding her offspring, she'd aligned this with the ultimate expression of love....

As much as I love my mother and as much of a wonderful cook she was; I realised that the burden of responsibility for the reason I was so overweight as a child, which then carried on into adulthood, was as much her responsibility as it was mine. I, too, now feed those I love. Not because I have an incapability to show love, but that these deeply engrained examples have become the example I work from. Despite these factors changing - because of the surgery - I can see where these behaviours are hard cycles to break and have left me with a mental quandary over identity and 'healthy' expressions of love and affection.

I have no idea as to the extent to how people evaluate the impact of bariatric surgery on their lives. Tactical and strategic analysis is difficult to do when everyone is so enraptured by the immediate gratification gained from losing pounds and having all those non-scale-victories (lest we talk about the 'my cats blacker' self affirming attitudes which occasional pervades this website).... But has it forced you to re-evaluate the causes for your issue?

Have you searched your soul and now have a better handle on how you ended up in this position? 'Cause lets face it - most of us can sit in a psychologist's chair for hours at a time, spinning the wheel - but unless you're willing to strip back your insecurities to the bare-bones truth, doesn't it all feel a bit, well, empty?

Have we learnt anything other than to count the carbs, count the Protein, measure the Water consumption and count the calories in order to be fitter, tighter, healthier, smaller, more socially acceptable?

I truly believe our surgical endeavors absolutely force us to re-evaluate our lives, our succor/comfort systems and our behaviour. Consequently and because of how hard it is (emotionally), do we not sneer with derision at those who proffer 'surgery is the easy option'. Out of the curtailment of our ability to chow down and eat our way to 'happiness'; is there not something more emotional and scarily deep, that we've had to confront every time we look in the mirror?

i know I'm not an island unto myself. We were weak. We are, still, weak.

Outside of the victories in maintaining a life of low fat, cottage cheese virtuous goodness. There is a deeper significance to combating the external expression of our hurt.

What are yours?

With utmost respect and affection,

Revs x

What a beautifully written post taking us to the core of this experience. Thank you for writing this. I'm just at the beginning of the VSG process but to answer your question...

No one in my family, myself included, knows how to handle stress.

So we eat, drink and smoke instead and as a result die of cancer and heart disease. I am the only one in my family to recognize this and am trying to fix myself and figure out how to handle stress without 'using'. Just the other day I had a disagreement with my husband and felt the stress washing over me, filling me up to where I felt a panic coming on. For once I didn't shove food or a cigarette or a drink in my mouth. Instead I looked at my husband and I must have looked scared stiff because he stopped mid-sentence. I said, "I feel out of control right now. I feel very stressed and overwhelmed. I don't know what to do." And as soon as I said the words I felt better. It made me want to cry because it is a horrible thing for a person who doesn't like to talk about feelings to have to talk about feeling totally out of control. You are so correct. This journey is not really about being more fit or losing weight, this journey is about figuring out what aspect(s) of yourself are broken and figuring out how to fix them so we can truly be healthy, whole individuals.

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