Posted by Sherry , Tuesday, January 18, 2011 Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Which is why the last four days have been particularly difficult for me.
Husband, Ruby and I took a trip to Ohio to visit my father, stepmother and this side of the family this past weekend. I love my dad's family. Dad's the oldest of 9 kids who each have about 9 kids who each have about 9 kids and all of these relatives live within about a 5 mile radius of one another. It makes for a great Thanksgiving Day football game, charades marathon and rousing game of “guess how we're related?!”
We're of German-Catholic stock on that side, which means we're all tall, big boned, large breasted and smell of sauerkraut and beer. We only wear lederhosen on special occasions and Lisel, Gretel and Marta do a fine rendition of “Edelweiss” after they've downed a few Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. Clearly, we also believe that Jesus hates birth control, but He loves a good Pilsner.
Like most families, our get-togethers usually revolve around food and chit chat and often, a game of Texas Hold 'em that leaves at least three family members not talking to each other for a week and one family member $15 richer (Jesus is also ok with moderate, unlicensed gaming as long Pope is getting his cut).
What makes our family unique, however, is that, whilst eating our third chili cheese dog and reaching for that second iced brownie, we are usually chit-chatting about diets.
At any given time you could throw a dart in the room and hit a person on a diet. Our family is the Baskin Robbins of diets. You can't throw a stick without hitting a low-carber, a Atkinsonian, a South Beach resident, a Weight Watchers Lifetimer, Special K Challenger or a Jenny Craigonite. But most of us are still fat.
We talk a good talk, walk a good walk for a few weeks and yet, inevitably, we gain back what we lost during our Slim Fast phase, plus, plus, plus. We're our own research group. Send over the AMA! Send the CDC! Send Richard Simmons! We've tried it all, we've reported back, and guess what? The diets didn't work. We're still fat.
I remember being a senior in college, fighting the freshman 35 for the tenth time and looking over at one of my high school age cousins. She was thin, almost skinny! She wore tight jeans that showed off her cute tanned, belly-ringed stomach and I swear I thought to myself: “She better live it up because knowing our genes, her days in THOSE jeans are LIMITED”. Sadly, I was right and I don't think she's even touched a bikini since her second year of college. She too, is overweight now.
The weekend was great in so many ways. Ruby got to play with her third cousins – or first cousins once removed – or hillbilly siblings – whatever you want to call it. The husband got to eat his own weight in chili-dogs, and I got to witness the relationship between my parents and my child blossom.
But before we edge into the land of sentimentality, let me be frank. The best part of this trip was having all my relatives comment on how awesome I look. None of them (not even my dad) know about the band and here's where I start to cross the 'lying' threshold.
As my family are all diet connoisseurs, they wanted to know “my secret”. “How did I do it? Which diet am I on? How long have I been 'dieting'? How many enemas do you have to get?”
Like other banded friends out there, I pulled out the standard answer for the WLS patient on the DL: “I eat less and move more”.
Technically, this is all true. Technically, this is not a lie. Technically, FOX News is “news”.
Technically I feel like a big fat liar. Without the “fat” part.
Where the wicket gets particularly sticky is that I have two aunts in their fifties who had gastric bypass about 7 or 8 years ago. Although they both lost significant amount of weight (and look & feel amazing), they are still far from the 'normal' BMI range. They don't really 'work' their surgery but they've been successful at going from 'morbidly obese' to just 'overweight'.
They're both happy. They feel they've come 'far enough'. They eat fast food for about one meal a day. They drink lots of non-diet soda. They've thrown their calorie counters to the wind. They don't exercise. AT ALL. They also smoke heavily. And one of them DOESN'T WEAR HER SEATBELT! EVER!
I can safely say these two aunts of mine don't live very healthily. But in THEIR minds, they've won. And maybe that's all that matters. Maybe some people don't need to have a 'normal' BMI or make the right food choices most of the time or get healthy in mind and body to consider themselves a victor. Maybe they just need to lose the weight and be less fat than they were before.
I just couldn't bring myself to tell them or anyone else in the family about my band because I'm not sure that we're on the same type of journey. They feel 'done' and although I share their sarcastic wit, their long legs, their remarkable laughs, this is where our genes part ways:
I don't feel done. I'm still in battle. Its not full on war but the safety is still off my gun and I'm still watching for land mines. I don't know that I'll be at peace with my weight loss struggles until I've changed all aspects of my relationship with food. I'm hoping that Leona will forever be my 'front line defense' and so far, she's working pretty well, but there is a heck of a lot of other work that needs to happen in the head region of this body before I'll feel confident saying “I'm done” and “I've been victorious!”
Maybe once I'm there and feeling like I've won the war against fat, against food, against my own genetics, I'll also be ready to share all my 'secrets'.