Monday, August 6, 2007

The Easy Way Out

I'm usually pretty casual about people asking me about my weight. I learned, as a child, that to be defensive about my size would only bring more questions and/or criticism. I try to take questions about how I got "so big" or if I blame my parents for my obesity or why I have "never" tried dieting, etc. in stride. I just assume that, for some people, it is just like any other appearance or behavior that is "different" from their own . . . it makes them uncomfortable but - hey - at least they want to know more.

I had support group tonight. Small group. Just three of us. Liz and Betty were both looking great. Betty's daughter is getting married at the end of the month (Betty had the band, her daughter gastric bypass - her daughter is down 100+ pounds and very excited about the way her dress will fit, I would presume) and Liz had her surgery just a month or so after I did and she looks terrific (I think I heard her tell Betty she's down 60+ pounds). Aywho, as we normally do, we all paid each other a compliment or two about how great everyone looks and how inspiring we are to each other, etc. I say "etc." to illustrate that it's pretty simple stuff NOT because I think of it as "blah, blah, blah" like it's just lip service or we don't mean it. I absolutely mean it when I tell my friend Kate how wonderful she looks or when I call Tommy to see if he's feeling better than he was, etc. I really admire every one that has thought about, had the courage to have and then done the work after the surgery to get to where they are today.

That being said, I was feeling pretty good as I rolled out of support group. Then I stopped to get some gas. Some woman at the pump next to me had apparently seen me on TV Sunday morning (aparently people DO watch TV at 7:20 on Sunday mornings - my neighbor saw me too) and she had just one question . . . Did I worry that I would gain all my weight back since I had taken the easy way out?

Now - as I said - I'm usually pretty easy going about the stupid questions but this is one that just gets my proverbial goat. I counted to 10 in my head (actually I thought "one . . . two . . . TEN!") and I simply replied "The EASY way out would have been to do nothing. I would have eventually racked up pounds on my way to medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and liver disorders, maybe developed diabetes, I might have lost a leg from poor circulation, I could have had a heart attack in my early-30s or had a stroke on my way home this evening. No, ma'am, I don't worry about gaining my weight back BECAUSE of the choice I made - I worry because life is challenging and my weight has always been a struggle. I also disagree that I took the "easy" way - I actually might have chosen the hardest fight I might ever face - this tool, my surgery, will help me lose weight but I still have to watch every thing I put in my mouth, I have to excercise, I am on more medications now than I was before my surgery (just vitamins and such but - she didn't need to know that) and I am spending a small fortune to keep myself in clothes that actually fit (she seemed pretty simple and vain to me - I felt the clothes would be something she could relate to).

She seemed stunned. She apologized for "clearly" offending me and I, after another rushed count in my head, I DID take the easy way out and simply clarified "You have not offended me. I have worked too hard to get to where I am today to take an innocent, thoughtless question like yours to heart."

I wished her a good evening, got in my car and waved as I drove away from the pumps.

I've done what is right for me. I have tried and failed to diet over 20 times in my life. This is it. This is my last stand. Me v. my lifelong weight issues. For the rest of my life. My decision is NOT the easy way out.

No comments: