Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear Obesity...

Dear Obesity,

There is honestly nothing dear about you... We first met at my birth. I was over 9lbs. Big baby! We continued our "friendship" throughout my childhood. I was cute, chubby, but not yet obese.

You started to rear your ugly head in about 2nd grade. You showed your red flags. I didn't know yet that you would be abusive. It started slowly. At first, you made my peers laugh at me and call me names. You started to isolate me.

Then you made me feel like a ton of bricks when my family couldn't carry me around anymore. They told me I was a big girl. Back then I thought it meant "grown up" but now I know I was wrong. As more time went on you made me feel insecure and weak. You made me think I was the problem. I wasn't... YOU were.

You cheated me. Robbed me of confidence and sense of self. I hid behind many masks as a young kid. Big frumpy clothes was a big defense for me. I hid you because I was ashamed of you. My shame only fed you and made you stronger. You stole away my summers. I never wanted to wear a bathing suit. Even in camp, the pool was torture. I believe everyone was staring at me, mocking me, mocking you...

My family tried to save me from you by sending me to fat camp. It helped in a way. You still controlled my body but I got back my mind. I found the confidence you snatched away from me all those years ago. I no longer looked at the floor when I walked through the crowds at school. I no longer wore baggy clothes and started to try new styles. As hard as I tried to overcome you... I failed... So many times I failed...

Things were a little better in high school. I didn't let you stop me from making friends or playing sports or even the occasional date. But you still continued to make things rough. People still made fun of me. You made me a doormat. I did everything for everyone. I had to work harder to make friends because you made it so hard for people to even want to give me a shot.

At the age of 16 you started to gain control again. Remember, it was the day you stopped me from riding the roller coaster. I gave up a big part of me to you that day. You took my BF next when he told me he no longer found me attractive. You stole my prom away from me. My date was a female friend. You took away my comfort every time I sat down to eat in public, every time I looked at a chair or a booth or a bathroom stall. You robbed me of the freedom of doing all the things my friends did because you instilled in me a fear that told me I couldn't.

The worst came when I met my now ex-husband... thanks a lot for that btw... You robbed my marriage blind for years. You made me wear a machine over my face each night when I went to bed. You stole from me 2502 nights that I could never sleep in his arms. You stole from me... the abilty to cook him dinner and the ability to clean our house. But there was nothing worse then you stealing away my ability to give him a child.

As much as you stole from me, the worst part of it all... I completely let you... Eventually my ex got tired of being robbed and so did I.

I made the decision then and there you wouldn't be allowed to control me anymore. You wouldnt tell me not to walk there, sit in that chair, get on that amusement park ride, talk to that guy, buy that dress, go to the beach or anything else you never allowed me to do. You are no longer allowed to make me feel bad or ugly or shameful. I now know that I am beautiful and worthy of more then you ever allowed me to have. So good bye obesity. I am taking the keys and getting in the drivers seat of my own life. FOR GOOD!!
 
Since I've let you go, I've walked... the Brooklyn Bridge and the runway. I've rode the roller coasters in Las Vegas and Coney Park. I've spoken to that guy... and that one and that one too, while wearing that dress on the beach! With all this new found control over my life... who knows what I'll do next!
 
xoxo
SleevePixie
 

Monday, July 9, 2012

To "Be Drunk" or To "Feel Good"

Happy Monday all! I hope you had a pleasant weekend. I know I have been keeping busy with all the new things I have in the works but I have also been doing a lot of reading on various WLS forums that I am a part of. I know it's been a while since I've blogged but today, I just felt the need to ask a question.

Transfer addiction post weight loss surgery has been a hot topic for sometime now. Possibly years... I have seen it, I had a breif affair with it, I have recovered from it. However, in the past month or so, it seems like all the rage. Between a dear friend of mine, Melting Mama, talking about it on ABC's Nightline to the countless youtube videos you can find on post-ops having alcohol issues to the need for another dear friend of mine, Connie Stapleton, PhD along with her partner Cari De La Cruz, to be hosting a webinar on it.

I just wanted to throw something out there... Many say that they find they "want to drink". Wanting to drink does NOT mean you have a problem with alcohol. It does not make you an alcoholic it doesn't even necessarily mean you have a problem. While I am not justifying behaviors or giving anyone a rational to continue what you may personally feel is an unhealthy behavior in your life, but I have to ask...

Is the desire you have... the desire to "be drunk" or to "feel good"?

There is a major difference. It is completely normal and healthy to want to feel good. As formerly obese people, we have used food for a long time to feel good. Make no mistake about it. There is a chemical transaction occurring in our brain every time we eat carbs and sugar. Our pleasure receptors are triggered and happy hormones released. Food makes our brain happy. We have become so accustomed to feeling happy from outside sources that we may have forgotten or possibly never learned what it means to find happiness from within.

On the other hand, wanting to "be drunk" to "forget" to "quiet emotions" is an unhealthy state to exist in. If these are the feelings you associate with alcohol, or any other substance for that matter, you are heading down a slippery slope that will lead to no where good.

As with anything, I have always said, you must know yourself. Sit down today and think about where your motivations lie. If you truly believe you are in an unhealthy place and on that road to no where good, perhaps it is time to seek help. You are not alone. There are many others who are feeling the exact same way you do. There are anonymous/closed groups on facebook that you can go to for more support. There are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and others in your area you can attend that you may find helpful or you may need more help like a therapist or inpatient, detox or out patient treatment.

You may want to start by attending the webinar mentioned above! For more information on the webinar, check out this video.

If you would like some help finding local support in your area or on facebook, comment below or send me an e-mail at SleevePixie@gmail.com.

You are not alone!
xoxo
Sleeve Pixie

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sin City, A Place of Victory!

It's Monday morning... Just two more nights til I am off to the fabulous Las Vegas also known by many as Sin City. I can only assume it has received its nick name from the various "in your face" taboos. Known for prostitution, gambling, unplanned marriages and alcohol, Vegas is also an amazing place to see shows, eat great food and do things you have never done before!

This will be my second trip to Las Vegas, my first one being last May for the last WLSFA Meet and Greet in 2011. Last May, I was healthy enough to truly enjoy all the wonderful things Vegas has to offer. I was 7 months post my Sleeve and down a significant amount of weight already. I was able to walk up and down the Vegas strip without being in pain and see all the free shows. Mt biggest victory of course was riding the roller coaster at the New York, NY hotel! I hadn't been able to fit in a coaster since I was 16!

So here we are, less then 3 days away from Vegas and I am getting excited for this whole new adventure. This year I am sure a whole new set of victories awaits me. Thursday night I plan on going Zip Lining at Flightlinez on Freemont Street with some of my Bariatric Bad Girls! Zip lining is always something I have wanted to try but never could because I was always over the weight limit. NOT ANYMORE!!! I am also excited nervous ready to bust out my brand new, non plus size bathing suit and catch some sun on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Meet me by the pool and come say HI!

I can only wonder what other adventures this weekend will bring. I know some will be getting tattoos. Others will be catching a show or star watching, as I hear the MGM Awards will be taking place in Vegas on Sunday.

Personally, I am looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones and having a wonderful and supportive vacation!

Can't wait to see you there!

xoxo
Sleeve Pixie

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Success Through Failure

"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space." - Johnny Cash


I read this on my facebook news feed today and immediately thought it's time to blog!

With so many revision surgeries being done these days, many patients going through this, experience an unbelievable amount of guilt and tremendous feelings of failure.

I can and have definitely shared my feelings of failure when after 2.5 years after my Lap-Band I had only lost 27lbs. In all honesty and fairness, I had really lost 57lbs but after all the throwing up I experienced, my body held onto 30lbs worth of everything I put in my mouth the two months after my band was removed.

We all turned to Weight Loss Surgery as a last resort. One final effort to lose the weight and get healthy and at our LAST RESORT, we failed AGAIN!! If you have gone through this you know exactly the feelings I am talking about.

These feelings also keep many WLS patients from seeking the help they need from their doctors when it is probably needed the most. Remember those feelings of empowerment you felt when you started your first steps towards surgery? The feelings of control you had as you were finally going to take the reins of your life and control the direction of your future? Those positive feelings can be hard to get back the second time around. Trust me... I know...

This quote is exactly the mindset we should have. Don't dwell on the failure. Use it as a stepping stone. Figure out what went wrong the first time and do it right the next time around. If that means getting more educated, do it! If that means getting into therapy, do it! It may mean working out or being more mindful of the things you eat... Whatever it is, do it!

To your success!
xoxo
Sleeve Pixie

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things To Do Instead Of Eating!

Have you ever been so bored all you could do was think about food? Ever wish those thoughts would just go away!

Well here is a list of 60 things you can do to take your mind off of food!

1. Call a friend, your sponsor, a support person, anyone who you can talk to who will either get your mind off of food, or someone to talk to about whatever it is that you might be feeling.


2. Go for a brisk walk

3. Meditate or listen to a hypnosis or guided visualization download.

4. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure– can’t binge with wet nails.

5. Volunteer at the ASPCA to walk dogs or pet cats.

6. Watch a funny movie at home.

7. Take a shower, give yourself a hot oil treatment, shave your legs, tweeze your brows– self care time.

8.) Get organized sort out your bills, create a budget– organize your home. Often getting organized can help you feel more in control and enable you to thwart a binge, which can often feel very out of control.

9. Draw, paint or color.

10. Knit, crochet or do needlepoint

11. Take a nap

12. Get out of your house and into your car, go to the beach, the lake, the park… somewhere pretty and relaxing.

13. Clean out your closet, donate your old clothes or sell them on eBay.

14. Read a good book.

15. Put on music and dance it out. Go out dancing. Call your friends over and have a dance party.

16. Go to the gym. Stretch, go to a yoga class, do a yoga DVD or an exercise or yoga class on On Demand cable. Move! Do jumping jacks, run in place, anything to move a little energy and release some tension.

17. Take a relaxing bath with nice bath salts or essential oils.

18. Write in your journal

19. Scream into a pillow.

20. Go to an OA or EDA meeting, either online, in person, or on the phone.

21. Go to an online support forum with other people dealing with eating issues. www.obesityhelp.com www.facebook.com (The LIOS group, many other supportive groups for WLS on fb)

22. Read a magazine

23. Write a blog! Read a blog!

24. Chat with friends on facebook or update your facebook profile. Twitter!

25. Sing!

26. Get your hair done or do your own hair. Experiment with different styles, curling iron, flat iron, curlers, etc.

27. Make cards for people, catch up on Thank You notes, send out notes to relatives you haven’t spoken to or seen in a long time. Not the ones that stress you out and make you want to reach for your old friends Ben and Jerry.

28. Go out and take photos.

29. Play video games or facebook games

30. Write and direct a short play with stuffed animals or Barbie dolls or action figures or your pets or sock puppets and videotape it to put on youtube.

31. Smell lavender

32. Pick flowers

33. Garden

34. Create a collage

35. Go bowling, play pool, play golf or miniature golf, play basketball, hit tennis balls, go to a batting cage, go for a swim.

36. Scrapbook

37. Write an angry letter to whomever you are holding anger at. You don’t have to send it, just let it out. Afterwards, put it somewhere safe. You might let go of some emotions that you’d been stuffing and you might find that you no longer have the urge to binge.

38. Go through old pictures

39. Cuddle with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, daughter, son, cat, dog, teddy bear, etc.

40. Do karaoke, you can either go out to do it, or do it at home with friends.

41. Play music! If you play an instrument, whip it out and start playing. If not, teach yourself to play one. Beat on some bongos, ping a triangle, strum a guitar, whatever is convenient to you. If nothing, make an instrument out of household objects and play it.

42. Catch up on your emails

43. Learn a new language!

44. Write a letter to your future self, about what you’re going through right now.

45. Write some notes with positive messages and post them around your home or get out of the house and put them up in dressing rooms, public restroom mirrors, restaurants, etc

46. Make a list of why you rock. Think about what’s great about you. Can’t think of those things? Call someone who loves you and ask them to tell you.

47. Light candles and incense and relax

48. Explore your neighborhood or town. Go to local museums or art galleries.

49. Call a friend or relative who has been unhappy lately and needing some support. Sometimes giving support can be incredibly heartening and also supports the supporter.

50. Use crayons to color hard! This can release tension.

51. Search through your couch and house for change! Put everything you can in a jar and put it aside to start a fund for yourself as a motivator in your journey. Every time you reach a milestone, you can buy yourself something fun, like a new pair of shoes, or some jewelry or new CD, or whatever you like within reason.

52. Roll on your back. This is a spinal massage that helps you to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

53. Read positive affirmations.

54. Write out your intentions or personal goals for yourself for the week. Write out both long term and short term goals- things that you are striving for and ways to help you get there.

55. Throw a temper tantrum! Go into your bedroom, lay on your stomach in your bed and scream into your pillow while you kick your legs and punch your hands into the bed. Ever see kids do this? They expend all that energy and it moves right through them. As adults, we can’t really do this and lots of anger and pain winds up feeling stuck in the body. We often try to stuff that down with food and for some, get rid of it by purging.

56. Make jewelry out of household items or beads or coins.

57. You can also take that old clothing, especially those that are significant to your pre-op days, and cut it up into squares and make a “recovery quilt.”

58. Do a home makeover! Rearrange your furniture; get rid of things that you no longer want– sell them on eBay! Put up some curtains; just make things pretty for yourself.

59. Do volunteer work.

60. Write a novel, short story, or poetry.


If you can think of any others to add please post below!
xoxo
Sleeve Pixie

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Passover... a Bariatric Post-op Lesson

Passover is probably my most favorite Jewish Holiday. To all my Jewish readers... wipe that look off your face! Yes I enjoy 8 days of matzah brei and nescafe. lol

I was thinking about this today while i was driving to work before I had  my coffee. Not sure what made me think of it but here it goes...

Passover is a holiday in which we celebrate the exodus from Egypt. We as Jews went from being slaves for 210 years to being free and the whole holiday is very symbolic. During the first two nights of the holidays we hold a feast which is a called a Seder which means order for those of you who don't speak Hebrew. It's a very organized event.

Everything we do, eat, say is very symbolic. We talking a lot about the idea of going from being slaves to free (wo)men. We drink wine and lean to left like kings while drinking and eating.

So I could take this one of two ways... One is the obvious of going from being a slave to our bodies, a slave to food, a slave to disease and then having surgery and being free but that while that's a lovely comparison, that's not where I am going tonight...

I was thinking this morning as I was driving about the concept of eating after weight loss surgery. We go from being slaves to our bodies and food to being... well... slaves to our bodies and food. How sad is that? Some of us are slaves to the scale while others become slaves to calorie counting or exercise or the worst of all... DIETING!!!

I have talked about this a lot in the past... NO MORE DIET MENTALITY!! One of the things I love about Judaism which hits home particularly during certain holidays is the idea of moderation. Jews can do anything but with moderation. We can eat, but not certain things. We can drink but only certain drinks. We can drive and play on facebook and watch TV etc but only on certain days... There is a time and place for everything. Even things we are not supposed to eat, drink and do are permitted under certain circumstances. Nothing is every 100% forbidden. I LOVE THIS!

On passover, we eat in excess, we drink in excess we act like kings for two nights out of the year. We don't feel guilt about it or shame. We are supposed to be excited and full of joy! So to in our post-op lives. I can't tell you how many patients I see that struggle to find balance in their post-op lives. There is a fear of eating certain foods,like a bite of cake, wearing certain clothes, like a bathing suit, going certain places like to a booth in the restaurant. Stop being afraid to live your life! It's ok to eat a bite or two of cake on some occasions! It's ok to show off your new body at times! It's ok to try new experiences and feel good about them! Learn moderation and let that replace the constant diet mentality or abstinence mentality if you will. Everything is ok under certain circumstances.

To me that is the message of Passover. So tomorrow night, I am going to eat a little too much, drink a little too much and feel like a Queen! No guilt, no shame and no self loathing. I'm not cheating, falling off some imaginary wagon, or being a bad girl. I am living life.

I hope you can all experience life the way I have learned to!
xoxo
Sleeve Pixie

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Don't Deserve It... Do I?

A few nights ago I was having a convo with a good friend of mine (Who is having her sleeve as I type!), and she said to me (talking about her upcoming surgery), "I still can't believe it's gonna happen. I feel like something will come up and prevent me from doing it last minute."

My reply to this was to tell her that what she is feeling is normal. Most of us who are overweight for one reason or another have this internal dialogue that tells us we don't deserve good things.

As we continued on talking about this topic I recalled to her a few times in my life I have felt this way. The most recent time I remember feeling this way was the night of my wedding. I recall walking down the aisle on December 1, 2005 thinking to myself, "OK this can't be happening. Who is gonna stand up and object to the marriage? When is Aryeh going to realize he doesn't want to do this?"

Then I told my friend about a time when I was young, couldn't have been more than 5 years old... My school used to take us to the park around the corner to play because the school had no gym. I remember walking down the steps of the school outside on the way to the park thinking to myself, "I can't believe this is happening. I can't believe I am getting to go to the park. This must be a dream." AT 5!! A small little innocent 5 year old... I already didn't think myself worthy of good things. In case you were wondering, yes I was overweight at 5 years old.

Now days, I don't really struggle with this so much. I do feel i deserve good things and happiness. I don't know if that is a result of the weight loss or the counseling I did after my divorce or just a shift in the universe. I doubt the latter. So I wanted to blog this morning and throw this out to you. Have you ever srtuggled with thoughts like this? do you still struggle? If not, what changed for you?

I am very much looking forward to your comments this morning!
xoxo
Sleeve Pixie
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