I was inspired last night after watching part of the 600 lb Journey on TLC to look at myself. I wanted to stop and really see myself in a new light after watching a fellow WLS sister and her journey to be healthy. I often get scared after watching shows about WLS now because I freak myself thinking I ate too much, what if my pouch stretches, etc etc etc. I get anxious for no reason as my mind needs to catch up to what is the reality of today and how my journey is different than anyone else's, but I do get all kinds of anxious (do any of you get anxious???)
Ironically my WLS sister name on the show was Melissa and as a named kindred spirit I smiled. I listened to what she said about how her body image changed in the short month after surgery. She speculated about how it would change in the future and I'm anxious to see where it goes for her when I finish watching the episode. I was shocked to see how hers changed as she lost 20 lbs in the first week of surgery and 140 within the first two months, but I also could related to her.
One of the things that makes me most uncomfortable right now is how I look without clothes. It is easy to smile and nod when people think you look great clothed, wearing compression garments, and highlighting your best assests in public, but it isn't easy to smile in nod when you are faced with loose skin on your upper arms (that really doesn't bother me all that much) i've embraced the "wings" I've had for a while. It is uncomfortable for me to look at myself in the mirror knowing swimsuit season is coming up on me sooner than later. I've begun to see a fair amount of loose skin on my upper thighs that make them look droopy, I've lost all my back "flab", but have gained loose skin where your butt meets your thighs, and my stomach looks like a big ole pot of chunky oatmeal. That being said - I can see some positives.
Last night while examining my loose skin I noticed a few positive things. First, I have a "one pack!" For the first time in my life I can see my oblique area muscules, the muscles on the outside of the abdomen that start the core and I can see an outline of where the fat is melting away and the muscle is slowly replacing it. I realize I have a lot of work to do on my core, but now that gives me some focus on whereto really start training and focusing on besides general cardio. I am so proud of my one pack I could just squee. I even showed my husband and he smiled and giggled right along with me.
One of the other positives that I realized is that my back flab is gone. I now have a flat back area that isn't lumpy or bulgy. I'm excited about this for sundress season. I also noticed that where my stomach used to hang over the bottom half of my stomach is starting to smooth out. That area used to have a dark brown tint to it and it has slowly started to fade. My stretch marks from years of gaining have faded and are almost invisible thanks to weight loss, time, and lots of cocoa butter. My lower stomach is another story and it bothers me the most. It has begun to hang lower and lowere and it is something that makes me uncomfortable to look at, move around, and it is slowly interfering with some tasks like shaving my legs and painting my toes. It has become cumbersome to bend and shift in the shower to shave. I have to move around alot of extra skin and sagging skin is not easy to deal with - there are health risks with it and ones that I don't want to have like skin rashes, yeast infections, and others. I want to be on top of those things and the realization that I need to figure out a living system is hitting me even as I type. New adaptations.
It is a new reality that I must learn to accept rather than dred. This was part of the process though not the happy go lucky yay me part of the process. I'm learning to accept my new body step by step day by day and happy when clothes get too big. I've become very attached to clothing and I don't know why, but I am.
I am slowly becoming the new me and coming out of that cocoon. I'm learning and adding to my succes by moving, walking, and doing more. It is a positive experience all around, but sometimes there are things that bother me. This is the real story of me having weight loss surgery rather than the glorified pictures of the before and after. There is so much that I've put my body through and sometimes I wish I was "more normal" and at the end already, but I have to remind me that it is the journey not the end goal that makes the memories.