I’m coming up on my 3-year gastric bypass anniversary. In a lot of ways, being 336 pounds seems like a lifetime ago; sometimes, though, I still manage to forget that I am no longer morbidly obese. Finally, my mind has had time to catch up to the rapid weight loss of those first post-surgical months, but I suspect I will never fully get used to losing so many pounds. And that’s a good thing, I think.
I don’t want to forget.
As painful as it was—and sometimes still is—it’s important to me that I always remember what it’s like to struggle against something you feel powerless to change. I’m sure people looked at me for years, wondering why I didn’t just exercise more or simply pay more attention to my diet. They had no idea the torment I went through on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. I’ve said it many times and I will always repeat it as fact: No one is 336 pounds because they like food too much. There’s other stuff going on, to be sure.
I’ve never been a drinker. I don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol and I hate the way it makes me feel. I used to look at alcoholics and think, “Why don’t you just stop? It can’t be fun; why not quit?” It seemed so simple to me.
Now I know that’s an ignorant way of thinking. I look at people struggling with problems with empathy, hoping that they find the solution that works for them. Yes, there are plenty of people who manage to live their lives without overindulgence, without addiction. They should consider themselves lucky; not everyone is as fortunate.
If you have a problem with food, with drink, with whatever demons, please know that there are people out there who can sympathize. I hope you find answers.
If you know of someone struggling, please—offer kindness. You don’t have to understand, it’s not your job. But human decency? We all have that responsibility.