Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: One Month Post-Op.

Man, 2021 has been going by so fast, yet this last month has felt like a year alone!

Life has been different. Life as it is right now has not been the same since entering 2021. The people who I entered this year with have departed. The mindset has changed. The daily routine has been altered. The Liz that was before isn’t really the Liz that’s writing this exact post.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I’m officially one month post-op!

It’s insane to still think about it all; I had the surgery, my stomach is small as hell, and I’m learning to live this new lifestyle that I never thought I would live.

First and foremost, since surgery, I lost 21 pounds. Going into surgery, I was 311 lbs; I am now 290. I haven’t been this number since 2017! While the weight began to rapidly go down, it has been a little stagnant, but I’m not trying to worry too much about the numbers, even though I was glued to my scale when the weight started to go down.

That’s one thing I’m trying not to obsess over: the number on the scale. I am still trying to tell myself that this surgery isn’t a quick fix; this is just the start of doing the work myself. I know that even though I want things and wish that I could “enjoy” my meals like I used to, but this is still the beginning.

I am still adjusting this new lifestyle and seeing the things I can eat and what I can’t eat. There are days where I feel like I’m too scared to eat because the feeling of being full feels more of nausea. There are days where I think I’m going to feel okay when really, I’ll puke my meal up. There are days where I think I’m full, but then feel hungry shortly after. It’s a lot of guessing and hoping for the best when I eat. Typically, I find myself eating small snacks and being okay for a couple of hours before I get hungry again.

It’s a weird feeling. Being this far into recovery, I’ve been doing okay. I’ve been feeling alright. I feel the same way I did before I went into surgery. I’m not in any pain, I’m not walking slow or taking things too slow. I’m back at work, I’m not taking all the medications I had to take when I first had the surgery. I feel as normal as possible. I am only reminded of my surgery whenever I eat and I’m looking down at my plate and only see that I had about two to three bites of my food and I’m full.

I know that in the long run, I will get used to this. It’s only been a month since I had this surgery. I have the rest of my life to live with this new stomach of mine. I will get to a place where I will know my body and hunger cues a lot better and understand what I might need in those times. But for now, I’m still learning, and some embarrassing things are going to need to happen when learning about them!

For instance, I cannot have coffee when I am out and about. While I loved to stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts to get myself an iced coffee when I’m out or on my way to work, I tried to do the same after surgery and I was literally sick to my stomach. Also, while I love Chinese food and would eat my entire dish before surgery, I now feel like absolute shit eating it and puke every time I eat it. It’s a sad day for my Chinese food lovin’ self. Nevertheless, it’s something I had to try and face the consequences with in order to know what I can have and what I can’t have!

With that being said, I wanted to move on to a more serious point about this surgery: I am not saying to go out and get this surgery if your only goal is to “look good” or “get skinny”. With an ideology like that, you are bound to fail. You are bound to be miserable. You are bound to not even go through surgery once it’s time to sign those papers and you’re handed the “any complications with this surgery can lead to death” consent.

For awhile, I had people around me talk about my surgery like it was going to make me prettier or it’s going to make me look like I’m worth it or better than who I was before it. After some point, I began to believe the noise. I began to tell myself that this surgery was going to fix all of my problems; surgery was the only thing that was going to fix my depression or anxiety or some mythical shit like that. I didn’t like that I was starting to see surgery as a quick fix, because I know that nobody else was going to go through the process with me besides me. No one was going to have to sit here and experiment what foods I can and cannot eat besides me. No one was going to be sitting with me in the bathroom while I puked my food because it’s something I couldn’t have anymore but me. No one was going to be with me during the progress; many of those people will just see a before and after picture in a couple of months and think “omg, wow! You’re so thin!” or some mythical shit like that.

Surgery is not for everyone. The process I had to go through just to just that surgery date was tedious and something that I think many people would’ve stopped doing midway. I can go into great detail about the process it took me to get the surgery. Needless to say, I had to reevaluate my own reasons for this surgery; the real reason I even decided to go through this process in the first place. I wanted to feel better physically. I wanted to feel my age and be able to do the things I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because my weight held me back. I wanted to do this for me so that further down the line when I get older, I don’t get passed down the family diseases they struggle with due to being overweight. That’s what made me show up to all of the doctor appointments and do all the testing required to get cleared for surgery.

Even with so much progress has happened within this first month, I know that this is still very early on and things are still bound to happen, I know that for the most part, I made the right decision for myself. I did this for me and I’m here to document just all of the great, horrible, happy, and sad things about this journey because it’s more than just a before and after photo.

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