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I have noticed that most of us, although seemingly proud of our total pounds lost, are embarrassed by the way we look. The following is a typical bariatric post op conversation. We hear it in our store every day.
‘How many pounds have you lost?’
‘I lost 125… YAY!’
‘You look amazing – you have done such a great job!’
‘Yeah, BUT look at my stomach, how much skin – look at my arms, they are huge.’
What is a body supposed to look like? In yesterday’s mail and there was a Bloomingdales Christmas sale book featuring lingerie. Is THAT what we compare ourselves to? Long skinny torsos… no thighs… miles of leg… long necks. Now, I know and you know that those bodies are not average even before the photoshopping, so why so much negative self-talk?
Next time you are shopping, inspect the other folks in the store – really take the time to notice what people really look like. Do the people at Macy’s look more like us, or do they more closely resemble Victoria’s Secret models?
Not only do we hold ourselves to a higher and unrealistic standard, but we also do it to each other! When post ops gather at an event, the first thing they criticize about each other is degree of thinness.
What is a woman who used to weigh 325 pounds supposed to look like – what is our reality? What is a man who used to weigh 400 pounds supposed to look like? Ahhhhhhh, stop right there as it’s not the men who get stuck in this mud – it is just the girls who play these games of self destruction and dart-throwing! Bariatric boys seem to be fairly well adjusted when it comes to before and after reality. I guarantee you won’t hear a man point out or make fun of another man’s cankles or introduce the topic of his arms being too big to the discussion.
How is it possible for anyone who has lost 150 pounds and gained so much life to look awful? Who on earth are we comparing ourselves and our friends to? Ask yourself what 165 pounds looks like – what 146 pounds looks like – what 193 pounds looks like. It does not look like Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Anniston which is okay, as if you have not noticed, very few do.
Take a good look at yourself before you run out the door to work. Find curves you like. Find flatness you never noticed. Find something about your new look that makes you smile. Pull out a pre-op photo and find another place or two on your new body that make you happy – let your smile begin from the heart and the love that you have for yourself and the distance you have traveled. Find the kindness to be happy with yourself – you will see the positive of your own weight loss and that of the others around you!