The Advice of Others

September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Close to 2 years ago

Tree roots busted through the pipes

And flooded my house

It was the worst house-tastrophy I’ve had

Since becoming a home owner

It took close to two more months

Before life went back to normal

They had to dig up my entire front yard

To replace the damaged pipes

Bring in these huge machines

To soak up the water

 

Contractors had to rip out all the carpet

Replace the flooring

Replace some of the wall and the cabinets

Repaint

My entire life was turned upside down 24 hours a day

For months after that disaster

And then finally it was over

Here I am almost two years later

And now the other side of the house has a leak

Remember that little pinhole I had a few months back

The leak that turned out to be minor

Well it’s not minor anymore

I know this because water is pouring up out of the grass on that side

Pouring down my driveway

Creating this pool in my front yard that runs down the street

The last time this happened

It flooded the inside of my house where no one could see

It was a giant disaster

But I was the only one that knew about it

Because it was hidden

Hidden within my home

The only way the neighbors knew

Was when the contractor pulled up

To start ripping my yard into pieces

This time it was different

It was flooding the outside

Where it was obvious

Everyone passing by could see what was happening

I called the plumbers

And they were on their way

But in the meantime–I waited

Standing outside admiring my disaster

And then a funny thing happened

Neighbors started coming up to me

To tell me

“You have a leak!!”

I went inside to get my coffee

And there was a knock at my door

A neighbor

Telling me

“You have a leak!!”

I had to take the kids to school

And as I was turning off my street

A neighbor waved me down

Motioning for me to pull the car over

So they could tell me

Can you guess???

“YOU HAVE A LEAK!!!”

This went on all morning

Even when I was standing outside looking at the water pouring down my driveway

People would stop to tell me I had a leak

This reminds me of obesity

Of what it’s like to walk around in a super obese body

And for people to stop you

Literally stop you

And tell you—you’re obese

I can see the water pouring down my driveway

I’m literally standing right over it

And people still feel the need to point out the obvious

As if I can’t see what is happening right before my eyes

Don’t get me wrong

I love my neighbors

(Just in case any are reading lol)

But when water is pouring out of the ground

And running down my driveway

And I’m standing right over it watching it happen

Odds are—I KNOW!!

And it’s not that they  mean any harm

They’re just trying to help

They’re just thinking to themselves

Hey—you have a leak–fix it!!

They don’t know what I’ve done

What calls I have already put in

They don’t know the plumbers are on the way

They just know this

I have a leak and I need to fix it

Once I was at McDonalds with my kids

They were playing in Playland

And I was watching them

From a chair I had to bring into the playland

Because all the benches in that room were attached to the table

Once again—something I could not fit on

And this woman walked up to me

And said “I hope you don’t mind but I wanted you to know I lost 20 pounds on Nutrisystem”

Um….Okkkk…..

And then she smiled and said

“You should try it”

Ouch

I’ve been told a lot of things over the years

“You know, Holly—if you don’t get  a handle on this you’re going to have a heart attack.  You can’t just live this way indefinitely and not expect something bad to happen”

“Why don’t you just put down the fork? It’s as simple as that”

“Overeating is not an addiction.  You put the food in your mouth and you can stop”

“You’re a bad example to your kids. You should try harder”

And all of this comes from a number of sources

It could be family or friends or strangers on the street

But the point is this

We all have problems in life

Every last one of us

Some of us are alcoholics or drug addicts

Some of us smoke like a chimney

Some of us have deep dark secrets that we hide so well

No one will ever know

But do you know what can’t be hidden?

Obesity

You’re wearing that one every day of your life

And everywhere you go

They know

When you sit in a restaurant and order up anything NOT on the “Light” menu

The comments will come

The stares will happen

Not everyone

But trust me

There is something about being obese

That invites perfect strangers to give you advice

As if you don’t know you’re obese

As if it never crossed your mind to try and lose weight

Like every neighbor walking up to me and saying

YOU HAVE A LEAK!!

Yes I know!

Just like I knew I was obese

For years

And there was nothing anyone could say or offer or suggest to me

That I hadn’t already tried

And I get it

I baffle you

I’m a mystery

Because  what you see before you is a 417 pound woman

And you think….”WHY???”

Just stop it already!

Stop eating!

And because I wear it

And you can see it

It makes it somehow a matter that is up for public discussion?

The people in our life

Who love to point out the obvious

They often mean well

My mother (who I love)

Was famous for telling me

PUT DOWN THE FORK

She didn’t believe overeating was an addiction

Or that it was anything other

Than a malfunction in my “moral compass”

 

And I love my mom

A LOT

But this was the conversation we had

FOR YEARS

She didn’t get it

I mean don’t get me wrong

She knew I could beat it

She knew I could conquer it

But she just didn’t get why I hadn’t done it already

Because what is the big deal?

I mean don’t you know that if you eat less and move more

You’ll lose weight?

It’s not brain surgery, right?

I mean come on….what’s the issue here?

I haven’t ever said this before

But I’m going to

My mom wasn’t really a big proponent of weight loss surgery

I had talked to her about it before

And she didn’t believe in it

Why would you have to do that?

Just put the fork down and stop eating!

She wasn’t a fan

So when my brother had the surgery

He had to go against the grain

He had to fight the uphill battle

My mom was there of course

At the hospital with him

Because that was who she was

She didn’t have to agree with you to support you

To be there for you

But she definitely let her opinion be known

That she wasn’t a fan

So when I decided to have the surgery

I dreaded telling her

And I put it off

And put it off

And then she died

So while she knew I had talked about doing it

She didn’t know I pulled the trigger

Knowing my Mom wasn’t really for it

Weighed on my mind that day as they wheeled me into surgery

But I had a leak

A leak in my life

And everyone could see it

It was pouring out of my life

Flooding inside and out

And it was taking me down

Everyone had an opinion on how to fix it

Every family member

Every  late night Infomercial

Every diet book

Every talk show

Every stranger on the street

And just like my leak

They all wanted to wave me down and tell me how to fix it

But at the end of the day

I had to do what worked for me

And as difficult as it was

I had to say “Thanks” to the people passing me by

Knocking on my door

Waving me down

Who wanted to tell me how to handle it

And I had to handle it myself

All their good intentions really did very little to help me

Most of the time

It just piled more condemnation upon me

Because what they didn’t know

Was I already felt discouraged enough

Just once I wanted to show up to some event

And not have my weight be the topic for discussion

Or the thought in everyone’s mind

To not be looked at as someone whose moral compass is broken

Who is weak or lazy or inept

We all have leaks

Every one of us

Some are seen

Some are hidden

And you’ll always have those people in life who want to state the obvious

And then give you their cure

Who may tell you that you’re morally bankrupt

Because you can’t stop shoving hostess cupcakes down your throat

Who say

“This worked for me.  Why won’t it work for you?”

And some may do it because they’re rude

And others may do it because they love you

And they just desperately want to help

Whatever the reason

These are the facts

It’s YOUR leak

And it’s your choice on how to fix it

For me, weight loss surgery was a tool that gave me back my life

But it’s funny

Because people don’t just want to tell you that you have a leak

They want to name the plumber you should use as well

Just like the woman in McDonalds who told me I should be on Nutrisystem

(Newsflash…done it…TWICE)

The plumbers I used this time were different from the ones my neighbor recommended

I had used their plumber before to fix my leak

And two months later my leak was a flood

I branched out on my own and used someone that no one on the street had recommended

But I’d found them on Angie’s List

And they had good reviews

So in spite of the fact that not a single person I knew in real life had used them

I called them anyway

And you know what?

They fixed my problem, charged me less, and cleaned up so well I never knew they were here

When I had my surgery

I did not know a single person in real life (other than my brother) who had done it

But I had done my research

I had talked to a lot of people on internet message boards

And in spite of those who thought I was insane for doing it

I went for it

Sometimes in life we have a leak

And everyone states the obvious

And then everyone gives their opinion

And then everyone recommends how to fix it

Guess what??

None of that matters

Do what works for you

I have friends who tell me that denying themselves cake only makes them overeat it

So having one slice a week does the trick

They don’t feel denied and it fulfills the craving

THAT IS NOT ME!!

But I’ve heard that so many times in my life

And I’ve wanted SO BADLY for that be true for me

That I’ve tried it a million and one times

Only to end up eating 10 cakes over a week’s time

Because for me that one slice became a binge

We are all different people

With different “leaks”

And what works for them

May not work for you

So when people come at you on the street

And wave you down

And insist that you do it their way

Just say “thanks” and keep on going

Keep on going towards YOUR cure

Your path

Knowing that they probably mean well

But if they’ve never had the kind of leak you’ve got

They really can’t tell you how to fix it

Even if they try

My leak is fixed

My pipes are new

And I think I’m finally done flooding the street with my problems

In many ways the same is true of my own personal fight with obesity

I’ve got a new stomach

And it doesn’t spring nearly as many “leaks” as the old one did

But at the end of the day

I’ll always have that struggle

I’ll always have that fight

And from time to time I may spring a leak or two anyway

But now I know

That it’s my decision

My fight

My battle

And while everyone has their good intentions

I’ll fight it my way

Because at the end of the day

We all have leaks

Even the people standing over our puddles

Putting all their attention on us

Maybe the reason they spend so much of their time

Telling us how to fix our problems

Is so they don’t have to face their own

Because it may not seem like it

But we’re really all in this together

Each and every one of us

Because no one on this earth is perfect

And no one is free from struggle

So smile and say “Thanks”

And then say a prayer for them

Because their leaks are hidden

But are probably flooding their basement right now

When I see someone who might exhibit some behavior

That I don’t understand

Makes me think “Why are they like this??”

I stop in my tracks and remember

How I can’t even walk past the ice cream aisle in a grocery store

Without literally being brought almost to my knees

Without having to practically call down all the angels in heaven

To carry me out of there before I mentally break down

And load every last gallon into my cart

So who am I to judge??

I don’t know what they’re struggling with

I have no right to whip out my moral compass

And condemn them

Having an unhidden struggle that the world can see

Has taught me this

Compassion

And lots of it

We all need it, don’t we?

Because we all have leaks

So here you go

Compassion for everyone

ON ME!!

 

 

 

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn T September 26, 2012 at 1:59 am

Love it! So true…I was just saying how even people with the lapband do not have the same journey and what works for one bander may not work for another–love it Holly!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 2:12 am

This is so true!! Even those of us who have had specific surgeries often have different strategies. I think this issue is so multifaceted that it is important to remember the uniqueness of each situation.

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Staci September 26, 2012 at 3:40 am

When I was a teen, my BFF had an older brother who was TO DIE FOR.. absolutely gorgeous. And he knew it. I was like 16, and he was late 20s or more, and had 2 young kids. My BFF and I went to eat with him and his family one day. He sat at the table shirtless. I was mesmerized. And his son blurts out “Show them how you can make your boobies dance, Daddy!” ROFLOL Well, his wife was a beauty queen when he married her, basketball player, very fit. After getting married, her severe asthma flared, she had 2 kids, and she ballooned to over 300 lbs. I remember constantly, constantly, CONSTANTLY telling my BFF that her SIL was crazy. If *I* was ever big like that, all I would do is eat less, exercise more, and lose the weight! I wouldn’t lose a gorgeous guy like that!!! Well, as fate would have it, I weigh 200, give or take depending, and my husband weighs 170. Blah. For years, I have weighed about 217 and he has weighed 170. Have I eaten less and exercised more. Umm, no, pass the chocolate morsels! IT’S NOT EASY LIKE I THOUGHT! After the lady’s husband almost had an affair, she had weight loss surgery. Now she is absolutely stunning, their marriage is repaired, she is happy for the first time in years, and he seems to be, too. Anyway, I apologized to my old BFF for all the things I said about her SIL because back then I thought I knew the answers. Turns out, I don’t. I still don’t. Now she is skinny while I am fat, and that just stinks. LOL 🙂
Staci recently posted..Our New AdditionsMy Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I totally relate to this story. There are times where I wonder why someone has this or that struggle…because it isn’t MY struggle…so I dont understand it. And then I remember that I have my own struggle that no one else may totally understand but for me it is a big deal. I guess we all have to learn that lesson!!!

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Staci September 26, 2012 at 3:42 am

PS – Their marriage is not repaired because she lost weight. Things run deeper than that. Their marriage became repaired about 3 years before she ever had the surgery. Just wanted to throw that in there.
Staci recently posted..Our New AdditionsMy Profile

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Linda Kuil September 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

I love that I had a piece of blueberry coffee cake at the bakery between the wedding ceremony and the reception on Saturday and my f-i-l’s girlfriend was surprised. Like I shouldn’t be eating it, ever again, just because I’ve lost weight. I do have days where the food takes over, but they are farther and fewer between than when I was obese. Like you said, we are all different. We all have to figure out what we can live with the rest of our lives and DO IT!!!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm

You go Linda!! Good for you. You are totally owning your own experience and doing what works for YOU!! And one thing I know for sure is that you do know what works. You are very inspiring to me and I love that you follow the plan and don’t let anyone throw you off course!

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April @ Red Dirt Mama September 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I think that this applies to any and every addiction/struggle we have. My mother struggled with narcotics for years – YEARS – and I watched her go through 5-6 different hospitals stays and rehabs. It wasn’t until she was willing and ready to make the change that it really began to happen. We could all see the “leak,” but she was the one that had to find the root cause of it in order to fix it.

I’ve bounced with weight my whole life. At my skinniest, I can be about 155 pounds. Right now I’m around 175. When Belle was born, I was 255. My mother has always been very skinny – around 115 and she has eating disorders along with all the pills and drugs she has taken over the years. My grandmother compulsively feeds everyone and then calls me fat. I’ve always had a hard time with food because I don’t know how to treat it well. I’m learning to be okay with myself. I would love to have that last 20 pounds off, but I think it’s more important that I learn how to love myself and treat food as nutrition rather than a love/hate relationship. Some days I can fix my own leak, others I can not!
April @ Red Dirt Mama recently posted..Stealing my joyMy Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I am so sorry for what you’ve had to go through within the family. I know it must have been so tough to see your mother struggle through that addiction. In some ways you feel helpless b/c you don’t know how to help them. I also really related to what you said about your grandmother compulsively feeding everyone and then calling them fat. You know that is really a profound insight. There are compulsive eaters but we don’t always hear about the compulsive feeders. Honestly there are people that fall in this category. I had a similar experience with a relative who also would encourage me to eat a lot of unhealthy food yet was the most vocal about me being overweight. That’s kind of an interesting dynamic now that you’ve brought it up. Hmmmm….you’ve given me some things to ponder!!

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16blessingsmom September 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

My goodness you have a way with words! Yes, we all have our leaks. It seems like overweight people are the only group of people in the world that is politically correct to point the finger at. It is horrid, mean, ignorant, and no one’s business. I have been heavy for over twenty years, and am finally fighting this fight…I have lost almost seventy pounds, and have another fifty to go. People say it will get easier, sweet things will lose their appeal. ha. They say “just have a taste, it will be enough.”, ha. They say just eat less and exercise, the weight will fall off. ha. They say just don’t buy any junk. ha. I have 12 kids still at home, they still eat cookies sometimes. Anyway, I love your blog, and love your take on things. I am rooting for you, and happy for you that you are finding your way through this maze, and thank you so much for sharing and encouraging me!!!!

Della

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm

First off…did you say you have 12 kids at home?? Ok right off the bat you are my hero!! I have 4 children and I know how tough it can be. I am amazed!!And you’ve lost 70 pounds?? Way to go!!! Not only are you parenting 12 kids but you’re winning this battle. You are truly one amazing person!

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Sandra September 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Thank you so much for posting this one, Holly! Just on Sunday I got brave enough to mention to a friend that I was having WLS, most likely the end of December. She was horrified and wanted to tell me about so-and-so who had WLS and how awful it was …. went on and on about it and I tried to tell her that there are different types and I have researched (“I know.. SHE did too”) and I ended up going home feeling miserable, and sad and started to doubt myself. My husband had a good long chat with me, LOL, and I am back on track. But boy, that was hard to deal with. So, I thank you for your post today … I really needed to read it. You are such a blessing to me, Holly – I only wish I didn’t live several states away…

Blessings,

Sandra

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Oh my goodness Sandra!! I know that was SO hard for you. I can imagine it made you question your decision. I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to those who had the surgery and also had the same experience. It is a really tough thing to have surgery. It can be scary. And then on top of it you have to wade through people who probably really and truly love you and are just not comfortable with the idea. They might be scared of it too!! They often think they are helping you. At any rate, I am glad your hubby helped you through this. That is so awesome. I am here if you need anything!!

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Cheri September 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Your blogs are like good medicine Holly! I love reading them so much! You take things I also think, but you say them in ways that encourage and inspire me!

Like I often “joke” with friends that I could never judge them, because that is the “gift” of having so many faults. But that really is the silver lining, in my opinion, of being so aware of our weaknesses and failings – it DOES give us great compassion and empathy.

I went through something that really broke me down ten years ago, but it opened me up to love people in a much more inclusive and less judgmental way. I think the more you realize what it feels like to be judged, excluded, isolated, the more you understand how to meet that need for someone else. I think the best things I’ve learned in life have come through the most painful experiences.

Anyway, I’m going to try to think of your analogy the next time I want to feel ashamed of my weight – and remember “I’m just wearing my leak on the outside” 🙂 and be more compassionate towards myself.

Oh, and as a side note….I went to therapy for several years after that experience I mentioned about 10 years ago – individual and group. In group therapy, I learned that when people want to give advice, it is usually because they are uncomfortable with the problem. They try to “fix it” because they are too uncomfortable to just be able to hear how the person sharing feels. The counselor in charge would intercept the “advice” and redirect. I learned a lot from that. The problem with someone giving you advice when you are sharing, is it kind of shuts you down – makes you feel like you just have to shut up, take the advice, and get better or something. Life doesn’t work that way. But I learned a lot as a group member, because often I was the person who wanted to GIVE the advice – and it was true – when someone I cared about was sharing pain, I wanted to fix it!! It was HARD to listen, and not try to slap a fix on it. I was thinking that, when you talked about everyone “advicing the fat girl” basically. I think when people see our “leaks” they want to fix them, because it does make them uncomfortable – it does challenge them. It is much harder for people to sit with us in our pain, and through whatever process it takes us to get to the other side of it.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm

WOW!! What an experience of learning and growing you have been through. The fact that you went through something really hard 10 years ago but took the opportunity to involve yourself in a support group where you had to push through it all and learn so much…inspiring!!! Therapy is very tough. I’ll admit I tried it in the beginning and then flaked out. I’m thinking of going back. It’s not easy at all and I can only imagine group therapy with the dynamics involved there could be even harder!! I love this comment b/c there is so much in it that speaks to me. Thank you Cheri!!! And I’m so happy that what happened to you 10 years ago was something you turned around and used in a positive way. You are amazing!

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Cheri September 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I really liked what you said that every person has a different path though….therapy might not be what you need, or not what you need now. When I went, I was cut off from every other type of support, due to the nature of the crisis, so it was a lifeline. It was a confidential place to talk.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I think therapy is a very useful tool. My brother told me to start it prior to surgery and I went a few times and quit. Probably b/c it was working LOL !! But in working through things you have to be uncomfortable. I think it is a great thing to do if you can find the right therapist to work with. I think I will start looking around for someone b/c honestly I really do believe in it. I have a degree in Psychology so you would think I might have pursued more of this!! Love you Cheri!

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Lisa September 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Holly, another beautiful story, poem, narrative… whatever… you have a GIFT for writing. Your words touch my heart in a way that I haven’t felt in a long, long time. Keep up the wonderful work that you are doing on both your mind AND your body. You are BEAUTIFUL!
Lisa

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Thank you Lisa!! This makes me smile SOO much!! I appreciate this!!

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Courtney September 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Maybe the timing of this post is totally coincidental with me having sent you an email this week, but if it isn’t and I in any way hurt or offended you please know how sorry I am. I would be so sad to think that words I meant for encouragement came across as offensive.
Courtney recently posted..I Know Its Fall When:My Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

What??? NO WAY!!! Courtney!! First of all…I am not easily offended! And secondly..I don’t think I got the email! Did I?? ACK!! Please don’t feel that way! Absolutely NOT!! I am always open to what anyone has to say. I will now go search through my email to see if I missed it!! ((Courtney))))

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Courtney September 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Well that’s a relief! 🙂 I just had this moment of panic and wanted to make it right in the off chance I had said something hurtful. Thanks for clearing that up for me!!
Courtney recently posted..I Know Its Fall When:My Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm

No problem! You made ME panic at the thought of you thinking this!!!! PHEW!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Got your email!! It was awesome. Thank you!!

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Lady Amanda September 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Very well said! Another excellent blog post. Glad that the pipes are fixed in the yard and that you have found a great plumber to call on. 🙂

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Thanks Amanda!!

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Gi September 27, 2012 at 1:14 am

Wow Holly I can really relate to this post!
My family are always telling me that its simple and I just need to stop being weak and as you said it put the fork down.
My grandfather is very blunt and though I love him to death he often greets me as Georgie Porgie, his favorite lines are you sure you should walk through the door side ways? or Here Georgia let me get the double doors for you.
I often find my grandmother dropping off diet recipe books at my house too.
You know they mean well but it can be upsetting not to mention incredibly annoying.
Also wow how super annoying that your leak got worse! I hate when things happen to my house its the one thing I want to not need as much attention as everything else.
xx
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 27, 2012 at 1:45 am

(((Georgia))) Those things are so hurtful. I am so sorry you were spoken to that way. I know how much that hurts. I have been on the other end of these jokes as well. I think some people do it to be mean and others do it b/c they really just don’t understand that it is hurtful. I’m not sure why they don’t realize that it is but they don’t. You are a strong person to overcome these things!!!!!

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Ducky September 27, 2012 at 1:50 am

I love those that point out the obvious. <–not really. I'd rather just fork them.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 27, 2012 at 1:51 am

hahahhaa…I need your humor! Thank you!!

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Beth M. September 27, 2012 at 3:10 am

Holly, I’ve been reading your blog for so long, and I never post a comment, but I just love, love love your blog. I find you incredibly inspiring, and I’m so amazed by the changes you’ve made in your life!
I’m about 14 months out from weight loss surgery myself, and I’ve reached the point where all my old food demons are back, and I’m struggling again with emotional eating, and the real work is beginning, but your posts remind me that if we want to, we can overcome almost anything, and it can be so incredibly worth it. Thank you for that!
I’ve also found that even people who’ve had the surgery can be so opinionated about the “right” way to do this, and so convinced that their way is the ONLY right way. I’m finding that it’s valuable to learn from their experiences, but ultimately I have to really understand myself and where my weaknesses lie, and what motivates me, and then build my own path to success based on all of that. Shoot, it would be so much easier if we could just do what someone else tells us to, but ultimately if we make our own way, I think we come out stronger, don’t you?

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! This means SO much to me! And I’m so happy you told me you’d been reading my blog. I always wonder if anyone is out there hahaha!! Congratulations on your 14 months from surgery! Do I ever relate to what you said about the old food demons. I could have written this myself. I struggle with it too. I have to fight it. Sometimes people probably think I’m crazy b/c I can have all out arguments with myself in the car. Just me, myself and I !! Sitting in the car at Walgreens yesterday I wanted to go in and buy a snickers ( I was there for something else). I had to literally get in an argument with myself to keep myself from doing it!! Sometimes I think I have multiple personalities LOL And you are right about people being opinionated. It’s very true. I am finally learning to take the advice that works for me and leave the rest at the door! I totally agree with you that we come out stronger this way!

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Pam October 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Holly–I fight those same demons. I always try to make a deal with myself, “If I don’t eat this….then I’ll be a winner in this maintenance battle.” Sure it’s just one minor skirmish and doesn’t mean I will win the whole war, but the battle and war are made up of these tiny day to day skirmishes aren’t they? And if we win even one–it’s a victory!
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Tara September 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Well, I am being to understand this emotional journey. Haven’t had surgery yet.. Still working with the NUT.. but I had a real eye opener at breakfast today when I told my family that I will have to eat slower and less.. My father says “when that happens you are on your own, we will be going elsewhere”.. Nice……… Guess I won’t be as fun if I am not eating also.. Thank goodness my husband, mother and kids are supportive, maybe he will be the only one going someplace else.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 1, 2012 at 12:37 am

(((Tara))) You are definitely right about this being an emotional journey. I believe that eating is a very social activity and in some families it plays a major role. It is interesting to find out how many people in our lives both friends and family take our eating habits as something very personal. It’s taking me awhile to realize how eating is something that people take such an interest in and even take offense to if we don’t eat how/what they want when they want. Not everyone is like this. But many families and friends can be. This means that in order to do what we need to do we have to actually stand up for ourselves and in some ways distance if necessary until they can respect our needs. You are totally not alone on this at all. Super happy your husband and kids are supportive. We are here for you too!

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Pam October 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Your blog speaks to so many things….1) how we all need to deal with our weight our own way, 2) how everybody has problems, but some we can’t see, unlike our obesity, which everyone can SEE, 3) how we need to be compassionate of people with problems that are different than the one(s) we have, and 4) how some people think of obesity as a moral or ethical problem, like we are not good people because we cannot control our eating.

These are all GREAT points and very valid to those of us fighting obesity. Whenever I read about drug addicts, first I think, “How did they let themselves get addicted?” and then I remember my own addiction….to food…and I understand better what they are going through. The same with cigarettes and alcohol, neither of which has ever been a problem for me, but I know for so many people, it is a major addiction, so I try to be compassionate towards those people who want to quit and can’t.

People love to offer advice, don’t they? Everybody seems to think that their way is the best way or the only way. We all have to do what works for us. Like you, it doesn’t work for me to have a piece of cake or a donut occasionally. That kind of behavior leads to me thinking it’s okay to do that ALL the time, and it’s just NOT. So when people offer advice on a certain diet they have tried or tell me, “Go ahead, you can eat ONE piece of cake,” I realize that as easily influenced as I am, in this one area I need to stay committed and strong to what I know is working for me.

But I think your most important point was that people think of obesity as a moral lapse in character. I used to work so hard to stay clean, so people wouldn’t think of me as the fat, lazy, smelly woman. And you know staying clean can be doubly hard when you are obese. I also held a full-time job and raised three boys, all while being morbidly obese. I was not lazy. I am a good person too–caring and sensitive to the needs of others. But so many people dismissed me as a lesser human being simply because of my obvious obesity. It wasn’t a problem I could hide like some problems are. I used to think how I had everything under control in my life–except for my eating. And I would wish that I could get that ONE thing controlled, and my life would be perfect. Well I’ve got the eating thing controlled now. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better. Sometimes my control is a minute-to-minute process and it’s a real struggle for me, but on the outside, I look normal again. On the inside, however, is a woman who wants more than anything to stay this way, but has to fight the urge to eat too much ALL THE TIME! I think that shows I have even stronger character than normal, don’t you?

I have a skinny friend. I watch him sometimes when we go out to eat, to see if I can discern any differences in his attitudes and behavior towards food. What I have gleaned is that he doesn’t care about food as much as I do. When the menu arrives, he doesn’t grab it immediately and salivate over all the offerings inside. He will continue to converse for quite some time before casually picking up that menu and deciding what to order. He fills up quickly. Very rarely does he clean his plate. I told him once that in my next life I wanted to come back with HIS appetite, because it would make my life so much easier.

I hate it that we are judged on our obesity, because it is only one aspect of our personality.

Holly–you are an amazing writer and person. You are and always have been so much more than just your weight. You are beautiful inside and out and I hope people appreciate you for all you are contributing to their lives. I sure appreciate your contribution to the weight loss blogging community. I need all the motivation and inspiration I can get, and you provide me with lots of both! THANKS!
Pam recently posted..Bad DreamsMy Profile

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Lilian October 17, 2012 at 3:31 am

Holly your words are so beautiful – reading this blog has literally brought me to tears. Sometimes I think the hardest part about weight loss is all the judgemental stares and helpful “advice”. Just this morning over the radio there was a report on how people who get gastric bypass surgery were several time more likely to become addicted to substances to alcohol than people who didn’t. A few years ago I would’ve brushed off this piece of news – but now I know better. Food addiction is a real thing. It’s not about “will power” or something as simple as just putting down the fork. Honestly, if you were to ask me how the foods taste during one of my many food binge, I couldn’t tell you – I was just shoving food into my mouth, chew, and swallow. It was as if my mind goes into auto-mode and I stop thinking. It’s not until my stomach feels uncomfortably full and I want to puke that I stop eating. Sometimes I think if it wasn’t food, it might be something else like alchol or drugs. It’s not about gluttony or being a greedy eater – but people seems to always assume that you CHOOSE to overeat and stay fat.
Holly you are such a brave person for embarking on this weight loss journey and sharing your thoughts with us. You are right – it’s such a struggle everyday. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone in this battle 😀

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

That is so true about the transfer addictions. Like you said, it really is an addiction whether it’s drugs, alcohol or food. It is frustrating b/c the situation is more complicated than a mere ‘diet’ can fix for people who suffer with severe food addictions. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic. It’s good for me to know I’m not alone!!

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