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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Re-Inventing Myself

Weight Loss Surgery was just part of the transformation I affected to become a healthier, happier person.

I wore braces to correct my crooked teeth and give me a Hollywood smile. I swapped my glasses for contact lenses and a ponytail scrunchy for a flattering haircut and highlights. I had a little cosmetic work done to put my boobs back where they belonged. I traded my sweats for skirts and tiny tops. Flat tennis shoes became the dog’s chew toys because I started wearing all those sexy sassy heels I used to only dream about.

In short, I reinvented myself into a lady.

I realized that as a chubby gal I was compelled to talk louder, be more assertive, and stand more aggressively. But as a re-invented svelte lady I became soft spoken and demur. I learned that charm and graciousness were not has-been attributes of the pre-feminism movement, but are good behaviors that a lady aspires to perfect. I became and kinder, happier person. I became a lady.

But still, a private lady, just without that comfy protective barrier of fat. Little did I know that my very wonderful, hard-earned, personal metamorphosis would become public fodder? The private girl was now very much in the spotlight in the tiny community we call the workplace. People I barely knew approached me wanting to know in legal measure exactly how much weight I had lost. Others, asking oh-so-sincerely, “How did you lose -all that weight so fast?” One day I was taken aback when a grossly overweight man actually told me I had lost too much weight. I told him, as a lady would, that I appreciated his concern, but I was at a healthy weight for my height and body type. But in my mind the sarcastic Chubby told him to worry about the number on his own damn scale.

Then there were the well-meaning life-long dieters with their sage advice, “Enjoy it while it lasts because nobody can keep it off forever.” Or how about this for encouraging feedback, “do you really think you should buy all those new clothes when you don’t know if you’ll be able to keep the weight off?” Wow! I had no idea my weight loss would matter to so many people, and often, my feelings were deeply hurt.

On one such day, with tears falling, I confided in a friend who simply said, “You losing weight is about you. It is about no one else but you.” At that moment it became very clear to me exactly how right she was. For the first time in my life I had successfully gained control of my body to become healthy and fit. I had done it for me, not anyone but me.

Over time I realized that negative feedback is some people’s method for dealing with things at which they feel they’ve failed. By belittling someone who has succeeded they lessen their sense of failure.

But then I learned one more extremely important thing about being a lady. I learned to hear all the good things people were saying, and to suck up those compliments like a sponge and fill my soul with them. Turns out there were more people cheerleading for me than there were killjoys. I started believing that I was a good and worthy person, not just on the outside, but on the inside too. You see, as a Little Fat Girl I never learned to hear, accept and relish compliments. There was too much counter information telling me I was unworthy of any compliment delivered.

Over time, with great courage I said goodbye to Little Fat Girl and all her defeating behaviors and I became a lady, inside and out.

During this time of weight loss you are at a magical moment in your life where you can reinvent yourself into anything you want to become! Play around and get to know the new you, I bet it turns out you just might really like yourself.

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