Update: A year down the road – what I’ve learned

This has been a very important year for me. Since April last year my daughter has turned 21, my son has turned 18, I have started writing my first YA novel, and of course I had lapband surgery.

Over the past 12 months there have been huge ups and downs. Remarkable highs and gut-wrenching lows; but through it all there’s been hope, and support, and a faith in myself I didn’t know I had.

My total weight loss so far stands, as of today’s date, at just under 35kg. At my last visit to the surgeon, where they track my progress, I discovered for the first time what my suggested goal weight is: 89 kilograms. Fourteen months ago I would have looked at that figure and laughed, absolutely certain I would never reach it. Now, it’s a little over 12kg away and I know, I KNOW, I will reach it. In fact, I might even get a little lower if I’m lucky.

So, what has this road taught me?

First and foremost it has taught me to love myself. To give myself time, to look after myself, and to be kind to myself. When that band is just not letting any food through, and you feel defeated and angry and want to curl up into a ball in a warm dark corner. You learn to speak kindly to yourself, to accept the limitations the band imposes on you and to keep going.

I have also learned that no matter how crappy a day seems, tomorrow will come and  most of the time it will be better. Your full stomach won’t be as full, the weight you can’t seem to shift will eventually move, that pair of pants will start to feel looser. Time is the friend of the lapband – in many ways. You have to take more time to eat, you have more time to enjoy the taste of your food, and because you are generally only eating 2 meals a day you have more time for other things.

Travelling down this road has also shown me how to accept compliments – how to accept that I am worthy of them, and how to celebrate my achievements. It has also taught me to be very honest with myself and others. When people comment that I “look well” and then ask the inevitable”So, how have you done it?” question. I tell them. I tell them that I had life-changing surgery just over a year ago after deciding something had to change. I tell them that it has made my life better in so many big and small ways, and that I will be forever grateful that I had the chance to make that change before it was too late. Many people are taken aback at first, but when they see how happy I am and hear how honest I am being, they are supportive, and excited for me.

On this blog I have recounted the small victories; the new clothes, being able to climb stairs I couldn’t climb before, being able to move my body around, the reduction in joint pain and back pain. Every step I take is another towards the biggest victory of all – that feeling, that knowing, I am in CONTROL and I will never be that other person again.

I feel rewarded every day. I feel grateful every day. I feel worthy every day. I feel proud every day. My little band of saline has encircled my life and I will never look back – no regrets and all JOY.

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