Thursday, October 14, 2010


I read an article last night that stirred up a lot of thoughts. Some cranky, some amused, some reflective. Very interesting...


Where to begin...

Everything is relative.

There is a lot of talk here in blogland about goal weights. Sometimes it's because a goal weight is a seemingly arbitrary number. Sometimes it's because of the paradigm shift we experience as the weight begins to come off.

In the past, it was all about the number. Must. Get. To. The. Number. Getting to the number... and then promptly seeing it in the rear view mirror as the weight (and more) came back on.

Goal weights are also relative in that my 190 is not necessarily your 190. Our bodies are amazing things and so very personal. Well, duh Susan. What I mean is, we all share so many things in common - especially with our weight issues - but our journeys are hyper-personal.

I sort of stopped short in reading in the second paragraph about Anne that she saw a photo of herself at almost 190 at 5'8 1/2 and almost cried because she was so heavy. That's my goal weight. Sort of hilarious.

Now, Anne is a socialite in New York who is getting divorced from the President of Vera Wang. I am a mom, wife, and a professional in one of the "states in the middle." We travel in slightly different circles.

After a diet/exercise program and the aid of pills, Anne now weighs 130 pounds. I think that's close to what most models weigh (yep, a quick Google search confirms that that's about what Gisele weighs).

I have never weighed 130 pounds. Maybe when I was like 12. After my first diet when I was a freshman in high school, I weighed about 145 pounds and that is the lowest on record. And, I was 14 years old.

Good for Anne. Good that she feels good about herself. I'm happy for her. But you know, I'm going to be more happy for me when I get to 190. I'm going to look at pictures and do cartwheels - because I expect that I will be able to do cartwheels again.

Along the way to becoming more than 100 pounds overweight, something happened to me. I realized that 2 or 3 pounds here or even the 5 or 10 pounds there.... not that big of a deal. Or rather, it's not a big enough deal to drag you down and obsess over.

Am I going to be thin when I get to 190? Nope. I won't even be close to the normal weight range on the BMI chart (need to drop 27 more pounds for that). But I will be healthy. I will be at a weight that I expect to be able to maintain - and live - at. I will be at the weight that I have decided is good for me. Not a weight that the designer at Louis Vuitton has decided matches up with a size 4.

I think that's what I wish most for me - and for anyone else who has struggled with weight, Anne included. I want to be happy with me, with my body, with my relationship with food - on my terms. I have beaten myself up about my weight for the vast majority of my life. You know what? When you get to be 300 pounds, it doesn't really matter if you would have lost 5 or 10 pounds before that big night out or the family portrait session. I stopped beating myself up because I'd gotten so far gone. In the midst of that awfulness, I started to realize something really important. I am not my weight. I was exactly the same on the inside at 300 as I was at 190 - or hell, that I would be at 130. Most importantly, I wasn't any better or any worse at any of those weights than at another. Sort of takes away some of the power that that number has. Takes a lot of it away.

Ok - bear with me, a few more points to make about my new friend Anne.

My journey isn't yours. Don't marginalize mine just because it doesn't jive with your choices.

Loved the quote in the article when she started to get asked about her weight loss "What did you do? A band? Gastric bypass?" and Anne replied "I did not have surgery. I sweat it off." Well honey, good for you but you know what? I'm sweating too. A lot.

Anyone who loses weight by any means is sweating - physically and emotionally. Losing weight is hard. Whether it's 100 pounds for me or 5 pounds for someone else.

Is the band an amazing tool that is helping in so many ways - absolutely! Does that mean that I'm just eating twinkies and snickers and melting? Not at all. I am working and I'm working hard. Just as Anne did.

Let's all get behind one another and realize that just because you have a band, or used pills, or somehow managed to lose it on your own - doesn't make any of those options better or worse than another. Just makes it what worked for each of us and that is the most important thing.

Pills aren't for me (anymore).
Ok, this next part might seem a little disingenuous given my previous few sentences but it bothered me how cavalier she was about the drug combinations she was taking/is taking? Anne took an off label combination of drugs (phentermine of the famed Phen-fen combo and topiramate which is an anti-seizure/migraine drug).

Been there, done that, not going to do it again. I have taken just about every diet drug there is. Phen-fen, herbal ephedra, Alli, Meridia, pretty much straight up amphetamines at one point I think. I'm sure there are drugs I'm missing. There was a time in my life when I would have read this article and then immediately would have started researching (plotting) how I could get my hands on the Phentermine/Topriarmate combo. Fast!

Ironic that I never did "drugs" but I never met a diet pill I wasn't willing to try - or plot a trip to Mexico to get.

Some might argue that surgery is even more dangerous than drugs. I don't know. With the surgery, you know who you are getting into bed with. I've made my choice. It's me and the band baby. Hopefully forever.

With the drugs, you don't know. You hope that the weight will come off. You hope that there won't be any adverse side effects. (an anti-seizure medication??) This year, next year, in 10 years.

I bet I'm not the only past Phen-fen user though who hears a story on the radio about heart issues and pauses to hope that their heart is still ok. Medication isn't something to take lightly but that's me now. Making my decision for me.

Thanks again for everyone's comments on my "too tight" conundrum. I'm doing better now that I'm over my period and adhering to the rules in a strict way. Still mulling a tiny un-fill and I'll figure that out by my appointment on Oct. 27.

I have a piece of paper tacked up on my bulletin board here at work. It lists out the dates of my six month supervised diet appointments from Nov. 10 - May 7. I checked off each apointment as I went last year. It helped to keep me going.

The note is sunfaded and gibberish to anyone that looks at it. It's really important to me though. I look at Nov. 10 and think about where I was a year ago. Where I was mentally, physically. And where I am now.

Pushing 60 pounds down (another thing my friend Anne and I have in common), feeling good but most importantly, feeling hope. I hadn't felt hope in a long time on Nov. 10, 2009.

Nov. 10, 2010 is going to be a much sunnier day - no matter the weather.

Here's hoping that anyone else out there who has struggled, is struggling or might struggle with their weight in the future finds their best solution for hope as well. Hope and ultimately, peace.


  1. Susan - This is a great post. I couldn't agree more with what you said. Congratulations on your progress so far! You are doing awesome!

  2. This was amazing! Great post.

  3. Very good. You say it so well. I think I have also taken all those pills. I have joked with my hubby about the Jenny Crank diet( you know the illegal kind) never tried that one.

  4. Great post. Thanks for the perspective!