Monday, May 16, 2005

The power of change

Today, while on my lunch break, I stopped by Borders to catch up on my magazine reading. While I was perusing the different publications, a headline on the cover of New York magazine caught my attention: Suddenly Skinny. And Sexy. And Confused: The Shock of Waking Up In a New Life.

The article is about how people who lose a significant amount of weight with stomach surgery find that having new bodies translate to having a new life.

I found the article to have been very well written. It was a nice combination of testimonials combined with the realities of weight loss and specifically stomach surgery- which is something I feel is a topic taken too lightly.

In this day and age the importance of being thin is two-fold: First there is the obvious, aesthetics. Everyone wants to look good and our culture associates thinness with a number of attributes, the most important being attractiveness. Then there is the not so obvious, health. Studies have found that obesity causes a number of deathly illnesses.

Many people fail to take care of themselves properly and suddenly find themselves in a situation where the need to loose weight outweighs the desire to do so, and look for answers in fad diets and then some turn to science (in this case stomach surgery) to solve their problem.

To them I say the same thing my nutritionist told me: “You didn’t get fat overnight so you shouldn’t be looking for a quick fix but for a healthy permanent lifestyle change”.

Not so long ago I was fat. I didn’t have to lose 100 pounds or anything like that, so even if I had wanted to I wouldn’t have qualified for any stomach-surgery, but I lost 40% of my body weight which to illustrate it better would be the weight of an average 9 year old girl.

I spent a year of my life overhauling habits that took me a lifetime to learn. During that time I learned to use the tools available to my disposal to live a long and healthy life. This I didn’t do because I wanted to be thin, but because I wanted to be healthy. Physically, the results even surprised me. Psychologically, I don’t feel like I was prepared for what happened.

The article makes mention of all the psychological changes that come with having a “new body”. Reading through it reminded me of my own ordeal coming to terms with the person I had become. I related to everything the women in the article talked about, yet, all the while I wondered how can someone fully come to terms with a new life without fully experiencing the different stages of the process, and better yet, how does someone learn healthy habits if that’s not part of the arrangement?

Contrary to what some people might think, drastic weight loss causes dramatic changes in the person we are all around. It isn’t limited to physical changes at all. You look like a different person and in the process you become someone completely different.

All these women who put themselves out there and told their stories so candidly are people I have nothing but utmost respect for. I don’t, however, feel like stomach surgery is the answer to this specific problem. There is such a thing as thin and unhealthy. But then again, there is the eternal human quest for the easiest way to achieve anything…


K said...

You wouldn't believe the diet recalls that I review each day. People in this area aren’t kcal deficient but deficient in nutrients. Even my ‘skinny’ patients lack the nutrients needed to complete most physiological cycles necessary for their bodies to perform at optimum levels.

It's sad to see what they put into their bodies. It’s even harder to realize they're trying to build the proteins needed to make a healthy new life inside of them.

Bracuta said...

I can't show this to my mom... if she reads it, she will be more than convinced that the operation is not the way to go for me.

mrsmogul said...

Since I've been vegan I've maintained my low weight and I am ecstatic! I was never fat but did want to lose those extra 5 pounds when I was in NY cause I used to eat burritos all the time. I just work out now and feel healthy. There are no diets, just a lifestyle.

Gabemaster said...

I agree that the stomach stapling operation is too drastic and it is sad that more and more people are looking at it as an option rather than as an alternative of the very last resort. Lets face it, if stomachs were meant to be the size of an egg ( which is how small they make it with that operation) then they would be that size naturally. Te other downside to it is that you loose weight so freaking fast that you wind up with a lot of nasty looking loose skin just dangling from your body for which you will need even more surgeries in order to get those removed.

It is true, loosing weight and keeping it at a healthy level
(too skinny is also not good) is all about a lifestyle change. But I don't see why people complicate themselves too much with it when the formula is very simple. Is all about eating healthy and excersizing and I think everyone knows that. The problem is many people don't like the excersize part of it. When I get out of my workout routine and eat more junk than usual I gain weight, when I get back into my workout routine and eat helthy I loose it. And to stay at my desired level I just keep my workout routine and eat what I want without over doing it. Obviously, the heavier you are the more difficult it is but that is a something people ( with its exeptions of course) don't want to face and use it as an excuse to get the "quick fixes" such as the surgeries or the fad diets.

And that's my diplomatic 0.02 cents on that :P

Weary Hag said...

Nicely written and carefully thought out. I'm trying hard to catch up to all your new writings since my last visit. Life's been hectic, but at times great fun.
Kudos to you for having lost such a great deal of weight in your young lifetime! You look fabulous.