Tuesday, January 08, 2008

So Much Turmoil

It very well may be that I am making up in my mind huge mountains out of tiny little molehills. However, in keeping with my new mindset of living life for myself and striving to make myself happy, I am determined to deal with things that bother me instead of ignoring them or deferring to others’ opinions. If it is important to me, it is important whether it is large or small.

I have recently posted several times -- here, here, and here -- where I have referenced things that I wasn’t at that time prepared to share with anyone. They all had to do with two separate but maybe related issues that I was dealing with in my head. Part of the reason I couldn’t share them was that I couldn’t quite articulate what it was, and now I’m to the point where I’ve wrapped my mind around it enough to make some level of sense of it and be able to articulate it. The other part of the reason I couldn’t share was that it was something that I wanted to work out in my head before sharing it with BJ, and since he reads this blog I had to wait until I had talked to him about it before writing it out (or at least publishing what I’d written).

The issue revolves around weight and weight loss. Both BJ and I are of “some size.” Well, hell, let’s just put it out there. BJ has mentioned on his blog that he weighs in excess of 300 lbs. So do I. I got down to 200 lbs. a few years ago and hovered there for several months, but have regained much of my weight (not going to go into the reasons for that here, but I am pretty clear in my head what happened).

Several months ago BJ decided to have weight loss surgery, and that precipitated my decision to break off our relationship. I later decided that I didn’t want to lose BJ, and that the line in the sand that I had drawn about not being with someone who would have weight loss surgery should be thrown out the window. Now truth be told I still harbored that line in the sand and held out hope that I could gently convince BJ not to go through with it. As a matter of fact, the last time we were together face to face, he said that he would be willing to sacrifice having the weight loss surgery if it was a deal breaker for me. Trying to be the “nice guy” (God, I hate that I do that) I told him that it was a decision he should make for himself, and that I would accept whatever decision he made. I assumed (I know, I know, never assume) that he would make the “right” decision and not go through with it. However, he decided to go ahead and go through with it and never told me that outright but casually mentioned it one day when talking about a project at work and how he would have to schedule his surgery around it. Ouch. That hurt me in two ways – first that he was having the surgery in spite of knowing my feelings about it and second that rather than sitting down and talking to me about it and explaining to me why he had made the decision he just blindsided me with it. In a way, I suppose that was an effective strategy because it pretty much prevented me from having further input. However, allowing issues like that to fester isn’t ever healthy and eventually they come back up, and I will get back to that later in the post.

Now it happened that in this same time frame I had a physical and expressed my frustrations with my weight with my doctor. He referred me to a nutritionist within the medical practice. She and I met and discussed various options that I could pursue. Among those options was weight loss surgery which I dismissed out of hand and she wholeheartedly supported my position. Another option was to join the medical practice’s weight management clinic. This option sounded interesting to me, and as they have regularly scheduled free orientation sessions to learn more about the program I called and made an appointment. When I went to the orientation, I learned about various options they have, that it is not just one program fits all, but is somewhat tailored for individual situations and desired outcomes. The option that most appealed to me was the one that would result in the quickest weight loss because I really feel that now that I have my head in a better place that I am better equipped to sustain whatever weight loss I can achieve. This option happens to entail a first phase of a medically supervised regimen of meal replacements along with exercise. I talked both to BJ and to W about what I had learned and what I was considering. Neither seemed to think it was a great idea. I was crushed but didn’t let on to either of them how I felt. I gave up on the idea, and resentment started to build.

Then I started to wonder why it is that if BJ can go have weight loss surgery without my support why should I have to have his support to go about losing weight the way I want to. Surely using meal replacements for a limited number of weeks is no worse for me than weight loss surgery is for him. At least this way, I am not doing something that would be difficult to reverse. I can stop at any time and return to eating real food. I just want to use this as kind of a timeout for myself, a way to stop the madness that is my current eating pattern, and then focus on returning to eating in a moderated and healthy way in the future. That’s what this program does, works on reintegrating real food at a certain point in the program while teaching healthier habits. They also work with you on the underlying issues of your weight problem, recognizing that there is a psychological element to overeating for many of us.

I want to focus on health, not weight. I want to be healthy. I want to feel fit. I want to get back to how I felt when I had lost so much weight a few years ago. I don’t really care what the number on the scale says. I care about feeling well and strong. Looks ain’t what do it for me. Health is of number one importance. The last time I lost weight I got discouraged because I couldn’t get “thin enough” to meet the requirements of the program I used. I stalled out at 200 and rather than rejoicing at having gotten 140 lbs off I deemed myself a failure because I couldn’t get down to my goal weight of 144 (the “recommended” maximum weight for my height). Yet how much healthier would I have been if I had maintained at 200 rather than allowing myself to go back up? So this time it will be different. This time the focus is going to be on my health. I don’t care if I weigh 120 or 220 or 320 as long as my blood pressure is low, my asthma is in check (I rarely used my inhaler at 200 lbs but use it much more at 300 lbs), my cholesterol is low, my energy, strength and stamina return. Those are the guiding forces behind changing my eating. Who cares what the scale says? You don’t like what I look like? Go screw yourself.

After writing a rough draft of this post yesterday I sent it to BJ. I sent it to him to open a discussion between the two of us because I wasn’t being very successful opening a discussion any other way. In his reply, he offered me wholehearted support for my weight loss plan. He made no mention, none whatsoever, of the part about his weight loss surgery. When we talked on the phone yesterday afternoon, I decided that I had to bring up the weight loss surgery. It wasn’t easy for me to do. I have very conflicting feelings about the situation. On the one hand I think weight loss surgery is wrong, an unnecessary invasion of the body that will shorten rather than prolong life. On the other hand I think that if BJ is convinced that this is the best way to handle his personal situation then he should be allowed to do it. Having agonized over this all weekend long, I came to the conclusion that I should not try to prevent BJ from having the surgery, but I also knew that I had to be honest with him that try as I might I have not been able to bring myself to feel comfortable that I could be in a long term relationship with someone who had weight loss surgery. I told him that perhaps after the surgery, in a year or two, if everything went swimmingly and he was doing really well that I might be able to come around. I know that sounds selfish to basically say that I’ll love you if you are healthy but not if you aren’t. However, I just can’t bring myself to get beyond the resentment I would feel if he were not healthy due to a decision he made for an elective surgery. A weakness on my part? It very well may be. I’m not perfect by any means. I explained to him that we may have reached an issue that was irresolvable between us. He deserves to do the things that make him happy and fulfilled. I deserve to not live with the awful feelings that I have about this procedure. We both have the right to our opinions, to have vastly different opinions, and perhaps this was an impasse that meant that we truly aren’t meant to be together. I feel a certain amount of guilt that I can’t wholeheartedly support him in this endeavor, but I can’t continue to live my life as I have in the past where I defer my feelings for the feelings of others and allow resentment to build. I want a different kind of life than that. I want to deal with things honestly and acknowledge difficulties rather than ignoring them.

The good news (is it really good news?) is that BJ has reconsidered his decision and is going to start a diet program that he had researched some before. Why do I question whether this is good news? Because I don’t want him to ever resent me for having kept him from doing something he wanted to do. Because I don’t want him to look back and regret having chosen a relationship with me over having weight loss surgery. Because I don’t believe that he has really closed the door on the option of weight loss surgery, and I could foresee in the future this whole issue cropping up again, and I don’t want to commit in any long term way to someone who might decide that the surgery was necessary in spite of my feelings about it.

Sigh. . . life just really isn’t easy.


John said...

I guess now i know what the secret was. First off, congratulations on YOUR decision to lose weight using the meal replacement method, supervised by doctors. I have known several people that have lost great amounts of weight, and kept it off, through this type of program. I am also not a big believer in the weight loss surgery. It seems to me that the main benefit is forcing you to eat less, and they usually recommend exercise. If you eat less and exercise, than you don't need the surgery.
People that object to others losing weight are very common. One of my favorite exercise sites calls them toxic personalities and saboteurs. They can crush someone's ability to improve themselves, all for their own selfish reasons. Don't let them do it to you. The fact that you lost all that weight once shows that you can do it. Find people that will support your inner greatness, not smallness, and it will help make it easier (boy did that sound corny. Corny but true!).

Bunny said...

You and BJ need to each do what you think is best for yourselves and not dwell on what anyone else thinks. Weight loss is such a personal thing and needs be agreed upon by a person and his/her medical advisors - no one else.

Even if BJ wants to have the surgery, they do usually recommend an attempt at medically-supervised weight loss first (meal replacements, usually). Most insurance companies require a failure at such non-surgical weight loss before they will approve surgery, unless a person is morbidly obese and their health will be better served by going directly to surgery (such as if they have type 2 diabetes and other complications of excess weight).

Surgery now is much safer than even just 10 years ago, esp gastric bypass done as a laproscopic Roux-en-Y. Lap-band is also better than it was and is reversible.

As you may be able to tell, I have looked into surgery and other weight loss options. At my most I weighed a little over 200 pounds, but because of my diabetes and high blood pressure, I actually qualify for surgery. My husband really wanted me to get surgery, but I don't think that's for me. I'm slowly losing weight through exercise (I haven't improved my diet much, I'm afraid). My BMI has improved from 39 to 34 - getting there!

A friend of mine was around 400 pounds when he got the surgery. He got down to about 180, but has gained some back and is about 240 now. Still, he is much healthier than he was before. Sadly, his 5 year old son is already 85 pounds and gets out of breath going up and down stairs. He gets physical therapy for his lack of muscle tone because he just doesn't like to exercise at all. He's only 5 .

Karin's Korner said...

Wow, my friend. All I can say is wow...and this is because last night my husband and I went to a nutritionist. I am around 250 and my husband is about 225. At my most I weighed around 300, all I did was quit drinking soda and quit eating late at night and I lost about 140 lbs in a year. Sadly after I quit smoking 2 years ago I have put quite a bit back on so here we go again. I am going to learn to eat healthier and I am going to try and walk more, not just around the office (I found out that really isn't exercise LOL) but I am determined. My BMI is something like 41 (OMG) so to get healthy and be around for my grandchildren I am determined to do this. I just wish we lived closer so that we could do it together, that would be so much better.

Also a friend of mine had the surgery about 4 years ago, she lost probably 180 lbs and has kept it off, she has alot more energy (acutally walks around the lakes and goes to Curves 3 times a week) before she would not walk around the block. So it does work but she has to hardly eat anything...I like to eat, I don't think that would work for me ....I just have to remember to eat healty...keep thinking it Karin...eat healthy...eat healthy....does chocolate count????


mistress said...

You are just trying to control him in a passive/aggressive manner. I hope he sees that, and finds someone who will lovingly support him.

Serenity said...

Oh heavens. Meow!
I think it's just hard to separate your own emotions around weight loss from your feelings for BJ. And i think you may be letting your i-hate-to-use-the-word issues about weight color other aspects of your life.
You are so right, it IS about your health, my dear. Both my parents have diabetes, so that feels like a freight train coming down the track at me... so it's also about health for me too.
Anyway. you worry too much! :)

Serenity said...

p.s. you might want to read my complete turnaround on the surgery issue on my blog... just another perspective i guess... :)

Trueself said...

John - Yes, now you know my secret. Thanks for your support.

Bunny - You and BJ need to each do what you think is best for yourselves and not dwell on what anyone else thinks. Weight loss is such a personal thing and needs be agreed upon by a person and his/her medical advisors - no one else. Yes, absolutely correct on that one. I have been trying and am continuing to try to accept whatever his choice is. It is a struggle.

Karin - The key to any weight loss is to eat fewer calories than one burns. It sounds so simple doesn't it? We both know better though, don't we?

Mistress - I'm trying hard not to do that, but yes I probably am returning to old habits in passive aggressiveness. Probably the kindest thing I could do for BJ is let him go so that he could find someone wholeheartedly supportive of his choices. Selfish bitch that I am, I haven't been able to do that.

Serenity - I have read about your turnaround on your blog. You are a better person than I am because, at least so far, I just can't bring myself to see it that way.

monkee said...

I'm sure all your reasons for being against the surgery are valid, but could part of what deeply bothers you be that you'd be worried about him losing more weight-which you might see as giving him more options to find someone other than you? I don't mean this in a slamming way at all, I struggle with weight issues also.

freebird said...

Wow, I seem to have read a different post from all the others here. The one I read says 'Trueself knows her place - it's in the WRONG!'
TS, how can it possibly be wrong to care about BJ's (and your own) health.

As john said "...the main benefit is forcing you to eat less, and they usually recommend exercise.If you eat less and exercise, than you don't need the surgery." - surely the healthier and simpler option.

And what possible objection could they have to your "medically supervised regimen of meal replacements along with exercise"?

Sounds like sour grapes to me - not a recommended diet at all! ;-)

Trueself said...

Monkee - I do see your point. However, if you asked anyone who knows me in real life you would know that I have long been absolutely against weight loss surgery, stridently against it. I really think that it is my opinion of weight loss surgery itself driving my thoughts here, not BJ losing weight.

FB - Well, thank you. I was feeling like I had taken something of a beating here and was starting to think that maybe I really was just way off base. Nice to know at least a few out there can see my point.