A lot can happen in three years. A lot can also change in three years. Well, actually, my life since 2005 is proof that a lot can change in 24 hours really. But January 14, 2012 and January 14, 2009 seem like they are light-years away from each other.
I can honestly say that I am a completely different person both inside and out than I was three years ago. But I am also the same person in many ways. Does that make sense? Likely not.
The size of my body is the smallest change that has taken place in me. I did not realize that at first, but I do now. On January 14, 2009, I had no idea about everything that was about to change in me in addition to my waistline. At the time, I thought that I was about to experience the biggest thing ever by undergoing gastric bypass and had no idea that the surgery was minuscule compared to all of the things that came afterwards.
At age 40, I am truly happier and healthier than I have ever been. I used to allow my weight to put limitations on myself. I had dreams of being a writer, and doing something in the entertainment industry. I love being around people and can talk anyone. But 325 pound Erin had no confidence. It is amazing the many different areas of your life your weight can effect. I literally felt like such a failure. I was afraid to try anything. I did do a lot of plus-sized modelling in New Orleans in my early 20’s, but that was the extent of my putting myself in the public eye. Looking back, i realize that doing runway shows was the one place where I did not feel weird. See, I was a plus-sized model. I was SUPPOSED to look that way! No one looked at me like the “fat girl” when I was doing those shows. That was the only place I could sparkle. How sad is that?
When I got married and had kids and stopped doing the modeling, I just gained more and more weight and lost more and more confidence. I was truly trapped in a vicious cycle that is the disease of obesity and food addiction.
The girl on the right is not a girl who had a lot of confidence in anything. At this point, I was actually about 75 pounds higher in my weight than when I was modeling. I was also over 320 pounds.
I am standing in the kitchen of my house with a man who loves me more than life itself and yet there is no sparkle in those eyes. My weight was robbing me of my joy and not allowing me to enjoy the wonderful new life God had given me after our Katrina ordeal. Looking back I realize that actually I was the one robbing myself of that joy, and no one else. Reserve that little revelation for the “things I have learned” list.
Here is one of my faves…..notice how I am strategically holding that plastic bag in an effort to hide my belly and body?
Did I really think that would work some kind of miracle? Come on now! Who was I kidding??? It amazes me to think that at the time I truly did not see how HUGE I was. So much has changed since that summer.
Has this been a 100% happy and sunny and shiny journey so far filled with butterflies and rainbows and 24/7 joy? Of course not. I have had my own share of issues. I have terrible food allergies that require me to carry an EpiPen, as well as an allergy to cold and cold air which is even worse. I never know when I go for a run whether or not I will end up with an anaphylactic reaction or at the very least be covered in hives like this:
It is pretty scary to deal with a strange disease like COLD URTICARIA. It makes exercise very challenging. Then I developed EPIPLOIC APPENDIGITIS. Try saying that one ten times fast! Oh and no it has zero to do with the appendix and while neither of these things were directly related to my surgery, they still caused real issues for me and my progress.
I still eat too fast and forget to chew my food as well as I should and have the occasional “stuck” moment and I still cannot do large amounts of sugar which is a good thing in many ways. My biggest enemies are bread, pasta and rice. The three of them cause me great grief when i get into a stubborn state and think I can be friends with them again. needless to say we cannot be friends ever again. They just do not go down.
Admitting I was a food addict was a HUGE step in the process. This is not a process with an end…it is a journey that I will continue to be on for life. I like that aspect actually. It keeps me on my toes. Knowing where I came from and that my surgery was not a magic pill motivates me to make better choices daily. Luckily I have a great accountability partner in Ben and the support of a wonderful family and all of my friends. I also have too many amazing new friends that were made along this journey to name and the number grows daily. I would not trade this experience for anything.
Why do I feel this way?
OLD ERIN- huffed and puffed to get up a flight of stairs
NEW ERIN: Completed her first Half Marathon in 2011
OLD ERIN- Dorito binges NEW ERIN- Kale Chip binges
OLD ERIN- The Avenue, Lane Bryant and Catherine’s NEW ERIN- ANY DANG PLACE I FEEL LIKE SHOPPING!!
OLD ERIN- MC DONALD’S FOR BREAKFAST NEW ERIN- Greek yogurt for breakfast
OLD ERIN- Knew every restaurant in Disney and what was on the menu in detail. NEW ERIN- Knows the location of every restroom in all three of the Disney parks along the route for the annual WDW Half Marathon. (yes I hate porta potties)
OLD ERIN- No confidence to finish a novel NEW ERIN- published After the Rain and finishing 2nd novel as we speak.
OLD ERIN- craved Nachos NEW ERIN- craves a run
I could go on and on and on. The changes keep coming daily. I can only sit in amazement and wonder what every new week will hold and what incredible people I will get to meet. This year is the second year of the Bariatric Breakthrough Challenge and the second year for my radio show Fit Living, and my first year on the board of the WLSFA. I cannot wait to meet so many new people in the 24 cities we will be in with the Challenge series and in Las Vegas for the WLSFA Meet and Greet!
Yup, I think this will be a great year and by the time January 0f 2013 rolls around, there will likely be a whole new list of firsts and changes thanks to my decision to use the tool of bariatric surgery to save me from the disease of obesity.