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I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible. Sorry if I rant on and on.

As I went from 240 lbs to 390 lbs between 2009-2019 I slowly hid myself away from friends and family. The truth is I was in denial about how bad things were getting and I was embarrassed. I was ashamed of how I couldn’t keep up with my friends just walking around the city or fitting into booths at restaurants for family milestones. I was out of breath walking into work from the parking lot. I felt like if I could avoid these things in front of other people, if other people couldn’t confirm how limited I had become, it somehow made it less true.

I have missed SO many adventures and huge important events in my loved ones lives simply because I was physically unable. This hurts my heart.

In 2018 I ditched a good friend’s bachelorette weekend out of town because I was so anxious about how I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone. Like literally I could not walk around and I felt ridiculous going to clubs with girls wearing their best outfits and me in an oversized T-shirt. By that point I couldn’t stand for 5 mins without my lower back screaming. Our friendship has not been the same since. I have always thought that was the turning point in our friendship.

Now fast forward to late 2019. I happened to be invited to another good friend’s bachelorette weekend. This is a friend I met in college and we were so close we lived together for a couple of years. This is also when my depression/weight gain really got bad. I did my best to hide it, but I’m sure it was obvious. Over the last 7 years I have make excuses to avoid meeting up with her because she is so active. I even prayed she wouldn’t ask me to be a bridesmaid. How sad is that? I really didn’t think I could make it through the dress shopping bit. Pre-surgery I was 390 lbs and a size 26. This friend has run the NYC marathon and I was at least 220 lbs heavier than any other girl in her friend circle. When I was invited on the bachelorette weekend I immediately thought of ways to get out of it. I told one of the maids of honor that I didn’t think it would be a good idea since it was still early after surgery and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel. Well it’s been almost 5 months and I’ve been so lucky to have zero complications. My mobility is much better too. I am also sober by choice. I was never a big drinker anyways. I partied pretty hard as a teen so by the time I got to college I was somewhat past that phase. It doesn’t make me feel good and now with a sleeve I feel like alcohol serves me no purpose.

Anyways what I am looking for is real honest advice. I feel immense guilt over declining this invite. I have thought about how I would feel if I was my friend. I could see how she would be upset or disappointed. Am I wrong to not go? I don’t drink and I’m trying so hard to stick to my diet. I know if I really wanted to I could make it work.

I don’t want people to tell me what I want to hear. I guess I just want someone to say they understand what I’m saying and feeling. I don’t have anyone in my family or friends that are even overweight. I feel like no one can relate. Has anyone else been through this? Did things get better as you lost weight?

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Have you tried having an honest discussion about it with her?

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I understand. I gained 60 pounds in almost 6 years. We have a pontoon boat and last year I couldn't go swimming off it as I couldn't get back on it. I canceled family trips because I couldn't walk that far. Now I'm working my butt off and walking when the weather allows. Life is new and different and I'm all about joining it again. No more hiding behind the fat, I want to live life and food is not my friend. Good luck to you and now you will be getting your life back!

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@AngieBear I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know if I’m ready to. It feels a bit humiliating. I almost didn’t tell anyone about having surgery. I already feel pitied. I have no reason to believe she would be anything but supportive though.

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So at my highest weight I was 509. I had become a complete recluse at that point. Other than going to my job I always had an excuse to not go to any of my families gatherings, my kids school stuff, anything. I understand your hesitation especially in social situations where everyone is looking their best. Personally going out into these situations was like shining a spotlight on everything I didn't like about myself, and so I avoided it all. Post surgery I still find myself thinking like that sometimes. It's a struggle, to balance those negative voices in your head. I can tell you I regret everything I missed out on. At the same time, it probably wouldn't have been good on my mental health to try and muscle through it all.

It's a journey for a reason, only you can decide what your ready for. What I learned about the process is that my true friends were patient and were happy to wait for me to be ready to take the next steps.

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@Sandra Nuelken Thank you for sharing your experience. Not missing out anymore or holding myself back are part of what I’m most excited about on this journey. I’ve been trying to be more open and honest with people even if it’s not always comfortable. It helps to know I’m not alone.

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@arrivan Thank you for sharing with me. I really identify with muscling through the mental stuff. The worst part is that this is so not me. I was always the outgoing and spontaneous adventurer. I know I’ll get back to that place because that’s the real me. I just don’t feel I’m there yet. My friends are good people and you’re right, I have faith that the patient ones will be waiting on the other side of this hill for me.

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8 minutes ago, WinterFish said:

@arrivan Thank you for sharing with me. I really identify with muscling through the mental stuff. The worst part is that this is so not me. I was always the outgoing and spontaneous adventurer. I know I’ll get back to that place because that’s the real me. I just don’t feel I’m there yet. My friends are good people and you’re right, I have faith that the patient ones will be waiting on the other side of this hill for me.

Unfortunately, you may lose some of your friends. I don't know why they go away but they do. I'm still looked at like a freak as we have a small community and they have a real interest in what I eat. I've lost 90 pounds in 7 months so it is noticeable. They are supportive, but eventually, they will get bored with it all. No one mentioned the weight when I was gaining. Good luck on your journey.

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47 minutes ago, WinterFish said:

@AngieBear I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know if I’m ready to. It feels a bit humiliating. I almost didn’t tell anyone about having surgery. I already feel pitied. I have no reason to believe she would be anything but supportive though.

I get it, I really do. The shame and humiliation of being morbidly obese can be so hard, and such a barrier to overcome. I have very few people that I had very honest conversations about my weight with - my cousin, my partner, and a few very close friends. It was hard. But, once I could be honest about it with them, I was able to go on walks and just say “okay, I’m sorry, I need a break”. Before I would have avoided going so that I wouldn’t have to face saying that and being the stereotype of a fat person holding everyone back. The perception that I was holding them back was my own. Once I voiced it, they were able to correct me, to tell me that they would much rather spend the time with me than zoom at a faster pace. But that conversation was TOUGH for me to bring up. It took some major work to get to the point that I could.

Please don’t be ashamed of yourself. You are worthy of respect and kindness, especially from yourself. I know it’s easier said than done. ❤️

Edited by AngieBear

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You are certainly not alone... I’ve skipped reunions and made endless excuses to avoid seeing friends from the past in person. It’s a tough place to be mentally and it sucks feeling stuck there.

I withdrew from friends and family and used work as an excuse to always be unavailable. But really I was ashamed and embarrassed—sometimes for no other reason than I didn’t have something appropriate to wear and didn’t have time/energy to go to the big and tall store on the other side of town.

Just last week I went to a friend’s birthday party—I had
not seen her in 7-8 years. As the day approached, I grew more anxious and started thinking about ways out, but I forced myself to go, and I am so glad I did. My weight was briefly discussed and we resumed where we left off and it was a great time. One small step toward changing a negative thought pattern and digging out of the rut....

Vulnerability and honestly have served me well on this journey (I probably read too much Brené Brown lol). Clearing one’s conscience is rewarding, and you might realize the script you have written inside your mind isn’t reflective of reality.

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@AngieBear @jg7979 I appreciate your responses more than you know. I figure I’m honest with myself so why not be honest out loud to my loved ones. I’m going to try and push out of my confront zone. It’s 2020 and I just turned 30. No better time to start than now I suppose!

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16 hours ago, WinterFish said:

I don’t want people to tell me what I want to hear. I guess I just want someone to say they understand what I’m saying and feeling. I don’t have anyone in my family or friends that are even overweight. I feel like no one can relate. Has anyone else been through this? Did things get better as you lost weight?

Honest advise?
Similar situations for me, making excuses to avoid being around friends, families and others due to my excessive weight.

At first, I also felt "guilty" until I learned the excuses I made to friends and family were simply lies. The reality was the guilty feelings I was experiencing where more related to what I call the "self-preservation mode to avoid embarrassment and shame". Why did I feel embarrassment and shammed, I can probably write half a book just on that topic alone. There is a good write up in Psychology Today that discusses the similarity between feelings of Guilt, Embarrassment and Shame, I would say it's recommended reading for those who are morbid obese.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pathways-experience/201709/embarrassment-guilt-and-shame

Battling excessive weight goes far beyond "eating less and excising more", there are many Psychological related factors that MUST be addressed or your chances of successfully loosing weight and keeping it off will be reduced substantially. The lies, specifically to yourself have to stop. Perhaps if you told your friend the REAL reason why you did not want to participate they would be more understanding to your weight situation? And if they are not, I would say perhaps it time to surround yourself with new friends.

When you say "I feel like no one can relate", I find that hard to believe, this forum is FULL of people who can probably relate to your situation in one form or another. You have already taken the first step by posting your message, never be afraid of asking for help, within this format or professionally.

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@WinterFish I can relate to what you wrote. I also became reclusive as my weight increased. One of my oldest friends is renewing her vows after 25 years in the Bahamas late next spring. I want to go, made the reservations to go, but I am not sure I will be physically or emotionally ready.

I have lost over 90 lbs in the past few months, but I still feel reclusive. I do not drink either and its going to be weird being around a lot of people who do....actually it will be weird being around a lot of people at all. I am not sure what it will take to be ready or even if I will go next May. I still have a lot of healing to do before then.

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I am terribly shy so my mantra is fake it until you make it. Be a good listener and friend to everyone, smile, be interested and as you get positive feedback you will become braver. Don't put off life until everything is perfect. I don't drink either so a glass of Water with lemon goes a long way. You are a good person and worthy of a good life. If you put out kindness you will get kindness back. When in a social setting I say just go out and be kind. Go and have fun.

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On 2/22/2020 at 5:07 PM, WinterFish said:

I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible. Sorry if I rant on and on.

As I went from 240 lbs to 390 lbs between 2009-2019 I slowly hid myself away from friends and family. The truth is I was in denial about how bad things were getting and I was embarrassed. I was ashamed of how I couldn’t keep up with my friends just walking around the city or fitting into booths at restaurants for family milestones. I was out of breath walking into work from the parking lot. I felt like if I could avoid these things in front of other people, if other people couldn’t confirm how limited I had become, it somehow made it less true.

I have missed SO many adventures and huge important events in my loved ones lives simply because I was physically unable. This hurts my heart.

In 2018 I ditched a good friend’s bachelorette weekend out of town because I was so anxious about how I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone. Like literally I could not walk around and I felt ridiculous going to clubs with girls wearing their best outfits and me in an oversized T-shirt. By that point I couldn’t stand for 5 mins without my lower back screaming. Our friendship has not been the same since. I have always thought that was the turning point in our friendship.

Now fast forward to late 2019. I happened to be invited to another good friend’s bachelorette weekend. This is a friend I met in college and we were so close we lived together for a couple of years. This is also when my depression/weight gain really got bad. I did my best to hide it, but I’m sure it was obvious. Over the last 7 years I have make excuses to avoid meeting up with her because she is so active. I even prayed she wouldn’t ask me to be a bridesmaid. How sad is that? I really didn’t think I could make it through the dress shopping bit. Pre-surgery I was 390 lbs and a size 26. This friend has run the NYC marathon and I was at least 220 lbs heavier than any other girl in her friend circle. When I was invited on the bachelorette weekend I immediately thought of ways to get out of it. I told one of the maids of honor that I didn’t think it would be a good idea since it was still early after surgery and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel. Well it’s been almost 5 months and I’ve been so lucky to have zero complications. My mobility is much better too. I am also sober by choice. I was never a big drinker anyways. I partied pretty hard as a teen so by the time I got to college I was somewhat past that phase. It doesn’t make me feel good and now with a sleeve I feel like alcohol serves me no purpose.

Anyways what I am looking for is real honest advice. I feel immense guilt over declining this invite. I have thought about how I would feel if I was my friend. I could see how she would be upset or disappointed. Am I wrong to not go? I don’t drink and I’m trying so hard to stick to my diet. I know if I really wanted to I could make it work.

I don’t want people to tell me what I want to hear. I guess I just want someone to say they understand what I’m saying and feeling. I don’t have anyone in my family or friends that are even overweight. I feel like no one can relate. Has anyone else been through this? Did things get better as you lost weight?

I think you should go, being the sober one means you can be the possible designated driver. I mean yeah you might lose friends along the way, but they remember you one way. If your back isn't hurting as much anymore and you can walk more that's great. You also don't need to eat all or anything they eat bring a Protein Shake or food with you can eat.

I was super honest with my close friends about the surgery, just tonight I went to AYCE hotpot place but didn't eat a thing. I drank Water and sat talking with my friends. The "eating" out thing always use to be a social thing and for me I can still do it sometimes, I just don't want to do it all the time. Although if you think you will be too tempted to eat too much then I guess you'll have to resign to not going.

You know if you don't want to be completely honest with her or anyone else about you WLS you don't have to be, if you want to bring a Protein shake or not eat at dinner - just say you're cutting back. No one needs to know it's about surgery.

Don't feel guilty or regret about anything in life....GO FOR IT!

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