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Last week I had my 7 year medical follow-up from my gastric bypass surgery.  7 years ago today, I was recovering in the hospital, taking small sips of water from a Dixie cup (my meal for a few days) and watching the snow fall outside my window.  I was in a panic about when they might discharge me because I didn’t want my father to have to drive 2 hours in the snow.  I was also experiencing the major hormonal upheaval that occurs after a major surgery and wondering if I had just ruined my life.

I have had weight issues my entire life but have been on a journey the past 7 years which I realize I haven’t shared very much of publicly.  It’s odd considering how open I am about life’s challenges in the spirit of supporting others through spoken word and letting people know they are not alone.  But with this, I think people can be a bit harsh when they don’t understand how it all works and what it’s like to spend your entire life dieting.  In fact, only days after surgery at Christmas Eve dinner with family and extended family, a family member asked how I feel & I gave an honest answer about being uncomfortable & needing to take a pain killer and she said “well this was your choice.”  I wasn’t complaining.  I was answering a question.  I have been through kidney stones, cancer scares and tons of gas through the years from this surgery – never once have I complained.  I wouldn’t change a thing about having done it.

Last week, going into my appointment, I had been super stressed about my weight gain over the years and terrified that I need some kind of drastic intervention right now to stop it from continuing.  I hadn’t been to the gym for 2 weeks because I had been really sick.  I had been shoveling Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies into my mouth before bed every night since October.  And whenever I wear my hair up and I see myself in a full length mirror, I see a body that is way too big for it’s head – like the shrunken head guy in Beetlejuice.  For real.  Losing my gym routine during the holiday season set off my body dysmorphia and that’s really what I see.  I am even convinced it’s what you see but are too polite to tell me.

Surprisingly, I actually weighed in 7 pounds less than this time last year.  Either Orange Theory Fitness is working to fight the Milano cookies better than I thought, or I lost that much in muscle mass in the time I couldn’t be at the gym.  Yes, I actually believe it is loss of muscle and not that I could have been doing anything “correct” throughout the year.

While I celebrated this news with a deep breath and slowed down my stream of thought speech with my nutritionist, I still told her I am too fat and it needs to go.  They think I am doing great 7 years out.  All I see is the obese girl on the horizon.  You see, even though I lost an Angelina Jolie from my body 7 years ago, I have put on 23 pounds over the years.  And even before the 23 pound gradual gain, I was still overweight at my lowest weight.  Now I am 23 pounds away from that which means I am going the wrong way.  I think about this every day, several times a day.

While I am in meetings, when I am surfing the web, sometimes coaching others, doing errands…I am thinking about my food for the day and then my food for the week.  I am thinking about where to fit my workouts in with my schedule all week.  I am thinking about what I wore a few days ago which didn’t fit right or make me feel good about myself.  I want to buy updated clothes but refuse to do so at this weight.  I am seeing the shrunken head periodically each day.  I can’t even think of a time in my life when I wasn’t thinking about what I didn’t like about my weight.  It’s been front and center since at least Junior high school.  It has never taken a break.

Going into the New Year, I have all my healthy habits planned.  I am going to work with a medical team to deal with food addictions.  Because, let’s just get it out there…the only reason I am not a drug addict is because that is one place where I have been too much of a pansy and refused to do anything outside pot (which I also haven’t done in 20 years because it makes you eat more.)  I have had sugar addiction my entire life.  Overall food addiction to soothe myself.  Cigarettes, booze, online obsessiveness….you name it, I shift it around but it’s addiction all the way.

So I am going to start sharing more about my day to day with body issues – my good days – my wins and my Beetlejuice days too.  And trust me, don’t ever interpret any of it as a complaint.  I am alive.  I am active.  I can partake in any activity I want to.  My legs are strong.  My arms can hurt you.  I don’t have diabetes – not even close to pre-diabetes.  I don’t have sleep apnea and any tachycardia I have is more genetic than anything weight related.  It’s just something the Dolan boys have and gets passed down.  The heart gets lonely but it’s not sick.  I hate the “pockets” under my eyes from when I lost a lot of fat.  If I could afford plastic surgery – that would be the first job.  But, holistically, I’m good.  It’s a journey.