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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Little Girl Lost...

Before one has gastric bypass surgery, one has to go through some rather rigorous testing, including consultations with a cardiologist, gastroenterologist, nutritionist and psychologist.  I passed all these tests with flying colors, or I wouldn't have been able to have the surgery.  However, even with all the tests, with all the support, no one prepared me for what's going on in my life today.

I feel lost, for lack of a better term.  I don't recognize the person I used to look like, but I don't recognize the NEW body, either.  Here's a photo that my friend Dorothy took the day I had  my two-week post-surgical visit where I was (finally) allowed to eat solid food.  The photo commemorates my first bite of mashed potatoes.
By the time this photo was taken, I had lost about 20 pounds (and I had lost 5 before the surgery), so I probably weighed 280.  I honestly don't remember being THAT big. I KNOW that I was, but I never saw myself that big.

This photo was taken yesterday by my former student, Naomi.  We went to lunch and then shopping where I had to buy a belt.  (For the first time in my life!)  I wasn't sure that she was taking a photo of me--I actually thought she was taking a photo of the little dog sculpture.)

I'm not sure who that woman is.  Seriously.  It's MY shirt and purse, but whose BODY is that?  When people see me for the first time in a long time, they blurt, "You're so small!"  Cherry, at the Thai restaurant, said it.  Deborah, whom I hadn't seen in ages, didn't recognize me until I said, "It's me, Rhonda!"  Her reply was, "You're so small!"  So it must be true, right?  And yet, I don't FEEL small.  It's a bizarre paradox...I don't think I'm as big as the old photos show me to be, but I certainly don't FEEL as small as I look in this photo.  Having a concept of "self" is just foreign to me today.

I've had a hard time articulating this to the people in my life--and even to myself.  I hope this makes some sense...and if anyone else has had this body-image issue, PLEASE leave me a comment!!


  1. Body image is a hard beast to conquer, and you're definitely not alone, there. BDD (body dysmorphic disorder, because I was initially a psych major!), which involves extremely skewed perceptions of size and weight, is insanely common among women in our world--and it has a go at lots of men, too. I've always felt similarly regarding my size, and you know me, Mrs. Harvey--I'm, 5' 2" and probably topped out at 125 lbs max at my heaviest, but even after 4 years of positive reassurance I still have trouble believing that I am, in fact, not gonna suffocate people when I sit on their laps. You've experienced a major shift in body size and shape, it's almost certainly going to take a while for your personal perceptions of your own body size to catch up! :) Also, I've found this tool to be pretty useful in helping me visualize where I actually am:

    Hope all's well,

  2. Thank you SO much!! Naomi & I were just talking about you yesterday. Miss you MUCH!

  3. Watch the old Streisand movie "The Mirror had Two Faces". It really tackles the body image issue in an entertaining way.