Friday, February 19, 2010


When you're still fairly new at the whole WLS thing, scale and non-scale victories pop up all over the place. It's very gratifying and it keeps you going when otherwise the business of losing weight seems endless and dreary.

I reached my goal weight at 12 months post-op, and the victory list has been shrinking ever since. Not because I've experienced failure, but because the entire landscape of my life has changed. At this point in my WLS journey, my social circle includes more people who never knew me when I was obese than those who did know me then. Most of them don't even know I had WLS. The subject doesn't come up - why would it? They look at me and see this trim (if short) lady whose eating and exercise habits are conspicuously healthy but otherwise not remarkable. They ask me if I have grandchildren, or where I got my hair cut, but very few of them question my eating (I told a curious coworker that I eat this way because I'm diabetic, which is the absolute if not the complete truth). They're more curious about my Yankee accent than my body weight. So after 30 years of hoping no one would notice how fat I was, I'm now tempted to shout, "Can't you see? I'm NOT FAT!"

Sometimes my fat world and my thin world collide. The guy who works the front desk at my health club used to work at the same local company as I did, pre-WLS. One day this shared history came up in conversation - I can't recall exactly how, but Randy said something about that company, and I said, "Oh, I used to work there, too. I was one of the product managers, working for (boss's name)." And Randy looked at me in astonishment and said, "You're THAT Jean McMillan?"

A new fitness center recently opened in this area, closer to my home and with a more attractive class offering than the other place, so I've been trying out those classes. This morning there were about 8 of us in the low impact aerobics class. Good class, good instructor, pleasant company. After class, one of the other students (whose age I guesstimate at about 40) came up to me and said, "You did really good in class!"I thanked her. She went on to say, "Did you used to be athletic?" I almost laughed. Used to be? You mean, before I got so old? I controlled myself and said instead, "I took a lot of dance classes when I was younger."She said, "I can tell! You're so good! And you're really STRONG!"

Then I did laugh. "Well, the strong part is a recent development."

To be praised for being strong was a great NSV. I've been a weakling all my life, even in my skinny periods. Being strong is almost as good as being skinny. Not quite...but almost.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obesity Denial

I think I've mentioned before that when I was obese, I had no idea of how big I really was. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I literally could not see anything from my chin down. I was suffering from obesity denial.

Some 60 pounds before I reached my highest weight, a Taiwanese business associate asked me, So when will your baby be born?" I told him stiffly, "I am not pregnant!" I was indignant. How could he possibly think I was pregnant?

A month later, my husband took this photo of me holding our new puppy, Bessy Lou. Looking at it now, I can see exactly why Mr. Chen thought I was pregnant. Like, six or seven months pregnant!