Today I bring you a story I have not yet shared with anyone. It is one that is full of frustration and heartache for me, and I know you readers will understand. Parts of this tale have been shared, but never in its entirety and never all at once. Here we go!
A few years ago I was with my trusted general doctor and she and I began having a healthy conversation about my weight. It was pretty major growth for me, as I had always been so sensitive about the subject that I was afraid to discuss it with anyone, let alone someone who actually had the number and raw data at her disposal. Open communication around my weight gains and overall health was a really wonderful thing to have all of a sudden, and I was able to handle it with honesty. She and I began working on a plan to watch my body and see if we could spot some things, to really start looking into why I was the weight I was. If you are not overweight you may not know that it doesn’t always come down to a certain diet and exercise routine. While she and I both knew that I could stand to eat a bit better and exercise a bit more, I was still doing pretty ok on both fronts. After tracking some things, she decided that we had entered an area beyond her expertise and she recommended that I go see a specialist.
Heading into the city to see this weight loss specialist was a big deal for me. I was going to have to be candid about my body to a complete stranger, and that gave me heart palpitations just thinking about it. Sure, this was another doctor and even someone that my own doctor had learned with, but I was scared of more judgement. The day that I went in to see her for the first time, Husband came with me. We met with her, I cried, we talked about our options, and she looked at some of my raw data. She decided to recommend a program that worked well for her most obese clients, which immediately broke my heart. I was part of the worst of the worst in that moment. I was heartbroken. She showed me images and videos of her great success stories with others in the program. Showed me the gym equipment and introduced me to the personal trainer, and even allowed me to see the progress boards and charts posted all over the office displaying the progress of all of her patients. She went on to describe in detail the program, the food I would be required to consume, and its costs. I started to become a bit skeptical. I thought this was going to be different, though I cannot say how exactly, and I certainly didn’t expect it to cost the thousands of dollars out of pocket that it was going to be. I was scared, but my great and trusted doctor had made this recommendation so Husband and I decided that no amount of money was too much to become a healthy person. We went for it.
When we left the office that day we were laden with bags of bars and shakes, pockets significantly lighter, and full of hope and optimism. I was going to have a support system now, I had someone to call when I was feeling defeated and scared. I had a trainer who would design a program to get my body on track. I had a real solid plan. That night I shared my huge new step with a group of women I had recently become friendly with, and I even shared the news with my fellow teachers at my new school. I was on a good path and I needed to share with the people I interacted with in order to have a system of people around me who I began to feel accountable to. I even shared on social media. I was going to make this work. This was my time.
For the first few months, I did lost weight. I was eating the bars and drinking the shakes and being ever so careful. I was at the gym several times a week and I was getting stronger. I wasn’t losing nearly as fast as I felt like I had been promised I would, and I certainly didn’t feel much better physically like I had been promised I would. My skin wasn’t so great, I had rather constant heartburn, and I was damn hungry all the time. I was on medications for my thyroid and for my appetite, and those combined with the chemically designed “foods” I was eating made me feel miserable. I couldn’t sleep and I was pretty darn cranky. I no longer sat down to dinner with my family because it was too hard to watch them enjoy delicious home cooked food, healthy food, and not be able to be a part of it. I was slightly fewer pounds and miserable.
After not too long, my weight loss began to plateau. This was dozens of dozens of pounds before my goal had been reached, and my doctor didn’t really know what to do. She did not seem to believe me when I told her I was doing what she instructed me to do, and she seemed to throw up her hands and tell me I could start eating real food again, at least for some of my meals each day. I was limited as far as what to eat, but it was real food so I was happy. My weight began to pile back on for a bit, then plateaued again. The next time I saw her, my name was off the chart on the wall showing everyone’s progress. I had been written off even though I did everything I was supposed to do. It was at that point that she began telling me that my weight loss was not something that I was going to really be able to control. She had tried everything and I was not going to be able to make it work. I was the opposite of her success stories.
She started letting me know about my options as far as weight loss surgery, which she said she did not recommend lightly, but that she thought I seemed to be the candidate for. She was sad when she told me this, because she had not needed to recommend this course of action to more than three or so people since opening her specialized practice. I was a complete failure, and I even caused disappointment to her when she saw me. I simply told her then that we were going to be moving, and I just couldn’t think about it at that point in my life.
Looking back on all of it, I still feel like a failure, though I am not sure if that is the truth or not. I think that I worked hard and did my best and that it just wasn’t right for me. I have gone back and forth since then with being careful about my diet and exercise and am the heaviest I’ve ever been right now. I am disappointed in myself, but I think I might be ready to figure out my next steps. I share this story because it is really heartbreaking to be the opposite of success for someone else. What I need to remember is that I can still be a success story to me, even if I was a failure story for her.