Be Proud of Yourself: A Weight Loss Journey

By Chanda Alicea

Dear Readers, 

I am using this week’s post to come out and share more about myself and my struggle with obesity and weight loss. Over the last few weeks I have seen a lot of memory reminders from Facebook about my journey that I started 2 years ago when my decision to have gastric sleeve surgery finally came to fruition. It was a hard choice that took years to make, as it was not the first bariatric surgery that I have gone through. I once had the lap-band and successfully lost over 160lbs but it slipped and damaged my stomach and so it had to come out and the weight all but flew back on at an alarming rate thanks to PCOS 

Before I go any further, I want to be honest and tell you that I have NO shame on this subject that I feel is still kind of taboo. I won’t hide my struggles, and I don’t feel that people who make this tough decision to take control of their health should be ashamed of it just because it is not a traditional option and some people feel so strongly that it’s the easy route, but I am here to tell you that it is not.

There’s my disclosure, now let’s keep going. Last Wednesday marked my 2-year surgical anniversary.  I’m by no means where I want to be, but I am comfortable in my own skin and so much happier than I have been in a long time, and that is what I feel is really important right now. I’ve learned a lot and come so far in that time. I fell back in love with myself. I’m a better parent than I was when I was miserable and disgusted by myself. I have zero regrets about the decision I made. 

With that being said, I do have some complaints. My number one complaint is how PCOS has played a role in my plateau. The second I started incorporating weights into my routine, the weight loss stopped. Does this suck? ABSOLUTELY!!! But sometimes, part of the journey is realizing what is important and it’s not all about the weight loss. It would be so easy to just give up and quit working out, but it helps me so much mentally. As a woman with PCOS, I battle with mild depression (a PCOS symptom). My hormones are so sensitive since I had my daughter and I have had some terrible adverse reactions to depression medications due to that fact. I know I am lucky enough to use fitness as a way to keep things in check. If staying active is what I have to do in order to avoid a pill, I’m for it. I recognize not everyone has this luxury and I take that to heart. 

My other biggest complaint is my struggle with heartburn and acid reflux. I NEVER had heartburn or acid reflux before having this procedure. Over the last year, it’s gotten progressively worse to the point where I wake up because it’s choking me in my sleep. It’s not a good time and that is all I have to say about that. Now that leads me to a big decision that I made that I wrestled with for a good chunk of time. After weighing all my options, I have chosen to have yet another bariatric procedure and have my sleeve converted to gastric by-pass in order to correct the acid reflux. I’m currently in the process of doing what my insurance requires so this can be done sometime at the beginning of next year. 

I have to admit that it’s kind of frustrating to have to go through this whole rigamarole all over again, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do (I say as I battle acid reflux while writing this post). So while I close this chapter that I will spend a few posts talking about, I am looking forward to a future where I see the rest of this weight come off and most importantly no more waking up because I’m choking and coughing which leads me to spitting all the crap out while my throat is on fire causing my voice to disappear in the process. 

This new chapter will also be a learning process. A process that I’m not one to shy away from. A process that honestly, NO ONE going through it should be ashamed to talk about. I get really frustrated sometimes when I see people post and boast about how they’ve lost weight “NATURALLY”, and it may not be ill-intentioned, but I definitely take it as a dig to those of us who can’t. 

I applaud people for being able to shed weight by being able to just eat better and exercise. In fact, my life would be a whole lot easier if I could walk that road, but I along with so many others can’t do that, and we shouldn’t be judged or ostracized, because we took the “easy way out” by having surgical intervention. I’m actually still waiting for someone to explain to me what part of having bariatric surgery is easy. As a girl who was made fun of most of her life for her weight, I’ve grown a thick skin about all this. I’ve lost friends who apparently got tired of hearing me talk about this part of my life. As hard as that was, those people did me a favor. I have ZERO room for negativity and non-supporters in my life.

 I want other people who are going through this battle to know that you don’t have time for that either. These types of decisions are never easy, but we owe it to ourselves to do what is best for our own health. I’m proud of this path I’ve chosen and how it’s changed me. I hope that anyone else going through this process is proud of themselves too.

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