I had an interesting conversation with a young lady a couple of weeks ago. I ran into her in my counselor's waiting room. She was there waiting on her husband to finish a session. As we began talking she told me she had gastric bypass surgery over a year ago. I can't remember the exact amount of weight she'd lost, but it was considerable - well over a hundred pounds, possibly two hundred. Anyway, she said something that amazed me. She said that, despite all the weight lost, she still "feels fat." I thought she was a lunatic - until she explained herself.
Although her body is no longer heavy, her mind is still clouded with the anxieties, depression and despair that come with being so large. When she passes someone in public that looks her way her mind immediately responds "oh, they're staring at me because I'm fat" and the pangs of self-hate kick in. She then reminds herself.."wait, they could be staring at me because they think I'm attractive or they think they know me from somewhere or they like the shirt I'm wearing..." Countless times she's walked past outfits in the store and thought "I'm too fat to wear that" only to turn around a moment later when she remembers that "no, maybe I would look good in that." She said "I'm not trying to discourage you. Just don't beat yourself up when you realize that the surgeons fixed your body but your mind now has to adjust to the new you." I'd never considered it, but it makes perfect sense. I'm sure it's a tough fight, but I'm looking forward to fighting that fight. I would imagine it's like waking up early on a saturday morning and seeing the clock and thinking "crap, the alarm's about to go off..." then realizing it's Saturday and the alarm's not going to go off. Pure euphoria ensues.
On the other hand, it's probably going to have to force me to come to terms with many things I'd been able to attribute to weight issues. "Oh, I'm just too fat and depressed to pursue my songwriting." "I'm feel so bad about myself I just can't put anything into that novel I want so desperately to write." Most importantly "I know I'm not being a great husband but she understands what I'm going through and has set her expectations accordingly." That will be the most exciting of all - finally being able to be the best spouse I can be to the person I love the most. She definitely deserves a different me.