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I Was Never A Girl Scout

FROM THE BARBIE ARCHIVES…Originally published August 17, 2009 on Gastric Bypass Barbie. 

Maybe There’s a Reason I Stopped at “Brownie”?


©Smithsonian Institution Press

I was a Brownie, but quit before I became a Girl Scout (always a bridesmaid, never a bride?). At the time, I said it was because I was too shy to participate, but I remember that I was always confused by all of the rules and regulations for “earning badges.” Okay, in my defense, I was only about 6, but even then, I struggled to be prepared — and find knee socks that actually fit all the way to my knees! (Yes, even THEN I was cursed with Kankles.)

In retrospect, I can see the beginnings of a bunch of really bad habits:

  1. Feeling inadequate in the face of new ideas and tasks
  2. Disliking the need for preparedness
  3. Being worried about the future, and whether or not I would succeed.
  4. Hating the idea of merit badges. (Okay, I’m not sure how bad that one turned out to be in my real life, but seriously, that one always bugged me. Especially when my MOM had to stitch them to my sash. C’mon! Wasn’t there a “sewing” badge???)

The reason I bring this up is, I got to thinking (worrying?) about the future, and I realized that there are lots of different ways to entertain these thoughts. There are healthy ways (preparation, anticipation) and unhealthy ways (vexation, hesitation), and which ways I choose will determine my success in the gastric bypass after life.

Here are some phrases that came to mind when I started thinking about the future:

  • Anticipation
  • Hesitation
  • Preparation
  • Trepidation
  • Vexation
  • Exhilaration
  • Procrastination
  • Celebration

Interesting mix of ideas, don’t you agree? Not surprisingly, many post-ops (myself included) worry that we will “regain all of our weight” and that somehow we will “fail” after bariatric surgery. How is it that *some* people DO regain their weight, and *some* do NOT? I’m thinking that it has to do with the way in which we view the future. Do we view it with trepidation (fear, anxiety, worry), or with preparation (planned success)? It’s kind of weird, when you think about it. I mean, surgery gave us a second chance at life. In many cases, it eliminated serious, debilitating, even life-threatening conditions. So, why should our vision of the future be one of angst, turmoil and unhappiness? Shouldn’t we embrace the future with dreams, goals, and visions of sweet success?

Ahh, if only it were that easy.

So, how do we go from FEAR to ANTICIPATION? Here is my thinking on the matter:

I say the first step is PLANNING: If we PLAN to succeed, then we will do what it takes to make it happen. We have to visualize ourselves living a successful and healthy After Life before we can achieve it.

Next is PREPARATION: Once we’ve PLANNED to succeed, it’s time to lay the groundwork, build the foundation for success through careful PREPARATION. This takes the form of pre-measuring our foods, creating menus, bringing protein and fluid with us when we run errands, and even scheduling exercise.

Next is ANTICIPATION: Shouldn’t we be excited about our plans and preparation? We should awaken each day with verve, vigor and enthusiasm for the coming day. We should know that we are READY for whatever the day will bring, and will succeed because we have PLANNED and PREPARED — even for the unexpected!

Finally, is CELEBRATION: We have to ACKNOWLEDGE our successes and celebrate the victories (small, big, scale and non-scale). Life is about living. It’s about experiencing joy (along with suffering). I think a big part of success in the After lIfe is being aware enough to notice when great things are happening in our lives.

Unfortunately, being the flawed humans that we are, life is not all happiness and joy; it throws us curve balls and unexpected drama. Anyone can succeed in calm seas; it’s what happens when the tide is high, winds are strong, and waves are crashing all around us that determines our grit. How do we deal with the inevitable vexation, trepidation, hesitation and procrastination? I guess if I had the answer to that, I’d be a millionaire, but I do have a few thoughts:

1) Marinating in my woes only serves to make them stronger (just like it does when we marinate a steak!) So, like I learned when my Dad passed away, it’s okay to be sad for a time, but when one sad thought begets another…and another, it’s time to stop being sad. In other words, it’s time to stop marinating in worry, and move on to more productive things (like remembering successes — or good times, as in the case of my pop.)

2) Worry doesn’t solve anything (and makes your face wrinkly!) I’m working on “letting stuff go” rather than laying awake at night worrying about what “could” or “might” happen. When the worry sets in, I try to focus on things that give me joy — like hiking with my hubby, wearing really cute (tiny) clothing, feeling healthy, and being able to get up EARLY!

3) Put more energy into planning and less into procrastinating. Now, I’ll admit, being a world-class procrastinator is NOT an easy thing to overcome, so it’s something I struggle with just about every day. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I just keep plugging along, hoping for the best (but bracing for the worst!)

4) Living in the moment (the here and now) is way more fun than the uncertainty of what was or might be. I must remember to taste each bite, breathe through each high kick in aerobics, feel the breeze in my face while I’m strolling with Juan, and soak up the sun when I’m out on my bike. That is exhilaration. That is the goal of an Gastric Bypass After Life worth living.

So, where does that leave me now — today? I guess you could say I’m: Planning, Preparing, and Anticipating Happiness, while Exhilarating and Celebrating Every Day Life and banishing any hint of Vexing, Hesitation, Trepidation, or desire for Procrastination.

That’s a tall order, and sadly, there’s no such thing as a “Bariatric Badge” — but maybe there should be!

How about these?

  • Protein Patch (for meeting daily protein intake goals)
  • Salad Badge (for making amazing salads — why not?)
  • Carb Badge (for recognizing good carbs from bad carbs)
  • Timed Bites Patch (for waiting 5-10 minutes between bites — can you lose this badge or earn demerits???)
  • Hydration Patch (for getting your fluids in — but not at the same time as you eat!)
  • Vitamin Patch (for taking supplements every day, even when the chewable vitamins taste yucky and the iron stops you up!)
  • Exercise Badge (for living an active lifestyle — every day!)

Can you think of anymore Bariatric Badges for my sash? Let me know; I’d love to hear!

4 comments

1 Diane, Fit to the Finish { 08.20.09 at 3:30 am }

I love your badges! I did brownies, and one year of Girl Scouts. We moved out of the country and they didn’t have anymore Girl Scouts. I don’t remember liking it too much anyway!

Here’s another badge idea for you. How about a determination badge. Because for all the people who say that surgery is the easy way out, you have shown me that there are still roads to explore, and journeys to complete. (I know that’s sappy, but it’s true!)

I hope you have a great day!

2 Cari { 08.20.09 at 2:23 pm }

Hi Diane: I’m still learning this WordPress stuff and am new to the tools, so it took me awhile to figure out where to “reply” to your comment! I LOVE your idea for a determination badge — Maybe I should draw some badges so people can print them and put them on their desks or refrigerators! And, thank you for the kind words about me as a gastric bypass post-op. I’m honored to be your token gastric bypasser 😉 As with any weight loss journey, It’s not easy, but it sure is worth it!

It’s a funny thing about bariatric surgery patients. We are frequently targeted by ignorant people who openly judge, dismiss, deride and disdain us, all because they incorrectly believe we “took the easy way out.” Why anyone would think that permanently rearranging your insides is cheating is beyond me, but my suspension of disbelief is limitless where stupidity is concerned.

You know, someone recently commented on another blog that drug addicts and alcoholics go to rehab and take medication to stay clean, yet they are never accused of “taking the easy way out.” So, why are we? It’s probably because obese people (and formerly obese people who had surgery) are still an unprotected class of people, meaning it’s always open season for insults and aspersions.

Of course, like everything else, you have your “good bariatric surgery representatives” and your “not-so-good representatives.” All too often, those who don’t respect the surgery tool by changing their behaviors, attitudes and choices are the very ones that everyone talks about when they say that the surgery “doesn’t work” or “everyone always regains their weight.” But, as you know, post-ops are as diverse as anyone else who is trying to lose the weight, become fit, and live a healthy, satisfying life, so you’ll have your good eggs, your bad eggs, (and every other egg in the middle.) I just wish more people would take the time to see the person beneath the fat (or, in my case, shrinkles) before they decide whether or not I’m “worthy” enough to be considered a successful weight loss role model. Thanks for your comments and your blog. I visit you daily!

3 Nikkie { 03.24.12 at 4:21 pm }

Love this article, Babe! You need to be published!! ~0;-*

4 *Maria* { 04.13.12 at 11:19 pm }

Wow! I am glad I found your blog… I am revising to Bypass soon and I had a lapband installed in March of 2010, which helped me lose over 100 pounds but I am having some issues and have decided to revise. *Maria*~DiZneDiVa:Blogger of "This One Time at Band Camp… 1 vs 300" Follow my journey at mybigfatbandgeeklife.blogspot.com

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