Monday, July 6, 2009

Caution: Rant Ahead

You know, I am generally a live-and-let-live person. Seriously, who's to say what is right or wrong (aside from the usual baddies - murder, abuse, etc.). But recently I had a conversation with a woman - someone I know from a program that we are both in - not a friend per se, but still in all, someone whom I would like to see happy. She was telling me, in an ashamed/confessional way, that she is scheduled for "mommy makeover" - aka a tummy tuck - at the end of this month.

Now, she has gained quite a bit of weight over the last year and is probably 40-50 pounds overweight. But she is hyper-focusing on her lower abdomen and that lovely flap of extra skin and flab that a lot of us ended up with after having children...and gaining weight. Here's the thing: her upper stomach is big, as is her face and arms - I mean, that's what you look like when you are overweight! But she has fallen for the pitch of a local plastic surgeon who markets his "mommy makeovers" to these insecure mothers of young children. I am just sickened by her trust in this doctor - she honestly believes he has her best interest at heart! Come on - she can't just get a tummy tuck and look good - she will still be fat in other areas of her body! And the capper? When I asked her why she doesn't just try oh, I don't know, say dieting and exercise, her response was that she wants to look good NOW. Well, don't.we.all. When I pointed out that without changing her eating habits, she will regain the fat that the surgeon has removed, she said that she would change the way she eats after the surgery. Riiight. Sorry, but knowing how hard it is to make those changes, I don't buy that.

I'm just so frustrated by this - the woman, who is going for the "quick fix" and not bothering to look at the issues INSIDE that obviously need addressing, and the doctor, who runs the ads in our local newspaper and on TV, preying on the vulnerabilities of women, making them feel less than perfect because their bodies are not the same as before they had children.

Body acceptance is a tricky thing. I mean, if we fully accepted our bodies as they were, probably most of us wouldn't have bothered to try and lose weight - we would have been happy with ourselves, fat and all. So being dissatisfied with our overweight selves and doing something about it is a good thing. As long as what you choose to do is reasonable and healthy. Now, this is coming from someone who, after losing more than 85 pounds, still has saggy baggy upper arms, jiggly thighs and a stomach that is far from flat. I have somewhere in the area of 35 pounds left to lose - and at this point I don't know if losing the rest of the weight will make a difference in my "trouble areas" - but am I willing to go under the knife to "fix" them? NO. You see, I have two shining examples of healthy women who are my inspiration - both Lynn and Lori have lost over 100 pounds, eat healthy, exercise regularly and look fan-freaking-tastic. The acceptance and love that these women have for their bodies is something that I aspire to - after all, it's the only one I have, and it's done all right by me for 46 years now.

I just wish that I could get this across to that woman.

19 comments:

  1. Isn't it hard to see people being taken advantage of over their insecurities? But I also get frustrated that so many people are willing to forgo common sense in order to achieve "quick" results.

    You are so right--unless she addresses lifestyle issues, the surgery will be worthless anyway because she'll gain it all back.

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  2. funny how sometimes we get caught up in wanting something NOW yet we don't ever want to do the hard work to get there. WHy not take the shortcut?

    Well shortcuts may get us there but working our butts off to truly do it ourselves makes it so much more valuable in the end! THanks for sharing your rant - it is a reminder that all of our struggles will pay off in the end.

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  3. I couldn't agree more. I have a co-worker who has been doing the whole work-up to get the lap band surgery. She is making zero attempt at this point to lose weight on her own. She eats bad food & she admits that she is lazy.
    She was recently denied surgery, but is going to appeal. However, the day she found out, she was eating Wendy's. Seriously??!!! I've invited her to play tennis with me, go biking, or come to Overeater's Anonymous with me. She said she might go to a meeting with me once she has the surgery. I'm thinking it might benefit her now.
    I try not to think harsh thought as I've made horrible food choices too or I wouldn't be in the place I am today. However, I'm a firm believer in the natural weight loss methods. If you don't learn to control what you're eating, why you're overeating, & start exercising, no surgery results will be permanent.

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  4. Unfortunately we live in a society where people want things now and aren't necessarily willing to work for it.

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  5. It is hard not to judge, isn't it? I always thought that was something some people did after weight loss, to get rid of extra skin, to polish after their hard work. Very doubtful I'd do that ever, though.

    I'm in the live and let live camp, too, but things like that frustrate or sadden me.

    I always say this weight loss thing is mostly mental. I guess that "mental" can be taken different ways.

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  6. I'm with you, Shelley. Some people have to feel the pain to figure out there are no short-cuts in life. Oprah.com had this article about "5 quick ways to looking great for summer", or some such thing - and when I opened it up, it listed things like lipo, botox, etc. I was shocked considering the source. But unfortunately it's everywhere. Like I tell myself all the time - if it were easy then everyone could do it.

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  7. It is sad that we cannot accept our bodies as they are. I do have to question why on earth the surgeon will give someone a tummy tuck that is still significantly overweight.

    I have a strong fear that she is going to be unhappy after the fact because only her tummy will be changed and not the rest of her which will still be large.

    I have loose skin, and sometimes it bothers me. Not always. I probably would get it taken off if I could afford it, but the thought of surgery scares me as well. I definitely would rather have my loose skin and feel good inside than to be 250 pounds again!

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  8. That's a really hard thing to watch happen. I have a friend who had her boobs done while she was still heavy. Then she decided to lose 80 pounds and they are no longer in the right place. She will have to do that all over again.

    I don't remember which blogger said this but SOMEONE said that the extra skin and the stretch marks were "battle scars" after losing all the weight. I thought that was a great way to look at it! Have a great week Shelley!

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  9. Very though-provoking post, Shelley. I too find it odd that your friend would resort to surgery before trying diet and exercise.

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  10. I can totally relate to this. I have a relative who is 300 or so pounds and is going in for gastric bypass surgery. She's tired of being overweight and tired of trying to lose the weight. But in reality I have never seen her seriously try and lose weight. She literally puts a 1/2 (or more) of a stick of butter on her baked potato, eats highly processed high fat foods ALL the time. It's sickening.

    It's even worse that there are "weigh loss surgery clinic" preying on women like this offering a quick fix and in the process racking in the bucks.

    It's criminal. But, I just have to let it go. It's her decision, her money, her life and her happiness. I'm happy she has a choice, it's not my choice.

    And just for the record, I'm not against people getting "work" done, but I think in a lot of cases, other ways should be tried frist.

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  11. That's too bad about that woman - like you said, if she doesn't change how and why she eats, she'll never be healthy!

    Look at Carnie Wilson, she got gastric bypass, yet managed to gain 60 pounds back!

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  12. I know what you mean - I had a coworker who got breast reduction surgery (they weren't THAT large) and it just made her stomach look larger.
    Body acceptance is vital - though it seems paradoxical - I didn't start doing good things for myself and my body, until I accepted what I had.
    Also have a male acquaintance who did lapband - but HE LOVES FOOD. So he lost 20 lbs, and has gained it all back. He's so heavy, I'm sure he won't live to see 60. I love food, too. But I want to be in charge of it, not the other way around.
    It's hard for me to draw the line on responsibility. We are all responsible for detecting the truth from a lie. But these people are making millions on others pain, and setting us all up for unreasonable expectations of our bodies to boot! But that's okay, because they are risking others lives to do it...that's criminal.

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  13. I am sure that in several centuries time, people will read the mad things we have been doing to our bodies in the 21st century and laugh at us the way we laugh at 16th century women who put lead on their faces to look paler.

    It is sad that we feel we have to resort to dangerous surgery to look good.

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  14. Oh, I totally agree with you. It's just so sad. I even get annoyed with body shaper ads that suggest you use them if you don't "have time" to diet and exercise.

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  15. lots and lots of "mommy makeovers" around where I live.
    The saddest thing to my eyes is that 99% (ok 90 :)) of the time they emerge from the surgery smaller, thinner and STILL filled with body loathing as now they see more and more things they wanna fix.

    amen, Sister on the looking inside.

    on the creating an INSIDE YOU ADORE and then, IMO, the outside will fall into place.

    YES it takes work but YES is seems less like work when you are doing it out of self-love.

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  16. I totally agree with your post! It is sad when women think think that plastic surgery can help them get slimmer or make them feel better.

    However, I do know a few women who lost a tremendous amount of weight thru diet and exercise and was left with a lot of extra skin. It was frustrating for them that no amount of exercise was going to get rid of the extra skin or lift up the boobs and it did not feel comfortable for some of them to wear a girdle to hold the extra flap around their belly.

    At that point they did have plastic surgery to remove the extra skin and got a boob lift and felt better and lighter and that was several years ago and they kept it off.

    In their case, I thought plastic surgery was fine. But, to have plastic surgery so you can lose weight is not realistic.

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  17. Oh man, that's a tough one. I have a feeling that she will be very disappointed and gain the fat back and be depressed. It's a bad cycle to those of us who have tried for a quick fix. It takes dedication and hard work. There's no other long term fix.
    Weight loss is the most difficult thing I've ever attempted. It had caused mor tears, frustration, highs & lows than anything I've ever done...even marriage. :)

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  18. I have a friend who is overweight, not severely maybe 40 lbs and she wants to go to hypno-therapy to lose weight...It is very expensive and she would have to drive about 30 miles to go and yet this is her choice over diet and exercise...I don't get it.

    People just want the easy way out.

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  19. This reminds me of the surgeon I saw on a TV show that does just this. This girls was probably 17 and 30 pounds overweight. Her parents took her to the surgeon and voila, she was skinny. The people on the show were trying to explain to the girl that unless she changes what is causing the weight to come on in the first place, she's just going to continue to gain. Her response? "I'll just go back and have him take it off!" The Dr. Just smiled and giggled. I wanted to slap him and the parents for letting this happen.

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