Every once in a while I will sit down in front of the TV and gorge myself on documentaries. The other day I watched My 600lb Life on TLC. I watched the end of Donald’s story, Ashley’s story and Melissa’s story. Melissa’s story really touched something in me: a young married woman wanting children and a new start to life. It sounded familiar (except the relationship issues.)
Melissa said something to the effect of, “The last time I weighed in I was 337lbs and that was acceptable. Then the next time weighed in I was over 600 pounds.” I can vividly remember weighing in at 295lbs at the doctor’s office and thinking to myself, “295lbs is okay. It’s when I hit 300lbs that I have a problem.” I’m not exactly sure why in my head those five pounds were the breaking point, but they certainly were. However, I did the same thing – the next time I weighed in I was 325lbs. I thought, “That’s probably not good.” It wasn’t even that day that I decided enough was enough. 325lbs was the most I ever actually weighed on a scale. I am sure I weighed more than that at the start of my journey, but since it’s the last number I saw – I went with it.
I remember deciding to start my journey and the fear behind it. I wanted gastric bypass, but everyone I knew was against it. Everyone was concerned because it would have been a lot of weight on the table; a lot of weight to go under general anesthesia. All of the same concerns these people were faced with. I was told I had to exhaust every possible attempt to lose weight because I would even be considered. So, I tried Atkins – it worked for the first few weeks but then I just binged on chicken and mayo and cheese. I tried calorie counting, but couldn’t stick with it. I tried the 6 week body makeover and that was terrible. I tried Weight Watchers, and finally – finally! Something clicked for me. So, Gastric was off the table for me. As I watched the fear in Melissa’s eyes and her nervousness consume her, I also watched a woman ready to conquer her fears and start a new life. The tears swelled in my eyes. I felt like I knew her. I can’t explain it. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her she could do it. Tell her how beautiful she is. How inspiring. How lovable. How amazing.
She kept commenting about how it was all so mental. That the physical doesn’t change the mental. I could not have agreed more with her. Once an addict, always an addict. The physical does not change the mental. I will always have good days and bad days. I am an addict. It will always be easiest for me to reach for the unhealthy choice. It will always be a conscious effort to make myself eat healthy. This will always be a battle. I will always gain weight easily.
Some dick-face made a joke at Melissa’s expense while in the grocery store. I watched her cry as I recalled the time Kevin and I went to Six Flags with some friends and I didn’t fit in the rides. I can remember struggling to get through the turn style. I can remember the embarrassment and how mortified I was. The looks people gave me. I was devastated. Kevin made up some bogus excuse and didn’t ride any rides because I couldn’t. The last time we went to 6 Flags I fit. But there was a woman in front of me that did not. There were also two girls that giggled. They were about 13-14. I very calmly and very sweetly looked a them and said, “You will absolutely not make fun of someone for being bigger than you. You should be embarrassed and ashamed of yourselves for trying to make someone else feel poorly. You may be young and cute and skinny now, but you won’t be forever. Karma is cruel.” They both just stared at me. Was I out of line? I don’t fucking care one way or the other. Just thinking about that again infuriates me. Shame on those kids and shame on their parents for letting them think that was acceptable.
At the end Melissa says, “When I was losing weight I wasn’t taking Chris into account.” I cried. All of this resonated through me. I know there have been many times I haven’t taken Kevin into account while losing weight. I feel terrible for that. This journey has been all consuming. There have been times where I have been 200% selfish and prevented Kevin from doing things because of my weight loss. Times he hasn’t done things he’s wanted to because he knows it’d be hard for me. I understand that it takes selfishness to do this; however, it should not be at the expense of your partner that has supported you regardless of your size. I am sorry.
Melissa has lost over 400lbs to date but still struggles with self image and some days still sees the her 600lb self in the mirror. She still struggles with a lot of the same things she did before the surgery. Even 7 years later.
Even 7 years later. Seven years later. For everyone wanting a quick fix and thinks once you’ve lost the weight that it’s over – think again. It’s not that easy, guys. Once an addict, always an addict.
Here’s my tip: love yourself no matter what. Find your grey. And realize you’re worth more than a scale. You are beautiful.
You can watch Melissa’s story here.