I Had A Weight Loss Surgery, But I Am Part Of The Body Positive Community

I Had A Weight Loss Surgery, But I Am Part Of The Body Positive Community

The place of weight loss surgery patients within the body positive community.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." I discovered the ability to love myself within the body positive community.

The body positive community is a largely social media based group, all of whom represent and support the body types of all individuals, from fat to thin, and everything in between. Within this community is the fat positive community, clumps of individuals supporting fat people and encouraging positive self image, regardless of negligent typical media representations.

I, as a plus size woman, have been a part of this community for as long as I remember, and it was a beacon of light throughout my teenage and early adulthood years to which I have consistently held fast. Largely due to the influence of these other individuals, who understood my struggles and assured me that my fat did not make me a lesser person, I grew up to be a strong and confident individual, someone who was proud to have the body into which I was born. It made me happy to be who I was.

However, despite my contentment, I was unhealthy.

As a disclaimer: that is not to say that all fat people are unhealthy, anymore than I would suggest that all thin people are inherently healthy. Unless one has access to the medical files of any individual, then it is not up to one to decide whether another is healthy or not, based on their weight.

Anyway - I was unhealthy. I have a history of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes on both sides of my family. Not only that, but I have a disability, and being overweight was terribly detrimental to my legs. Basically, I had a choice to make: lose weight, or face a lifetime of health issues. I chose weight loss, and decided to help along the process by having a surgery done, known as the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, VSG, or Gastric Sleeve. If you're interested in more details regarding the surgery itself, or other weight loss surgeries, check out these sites.

Having this surgery was certainly not an easy fix. It required months of therapy, nutritional appointments, hours on the phone with my insurance company, and a hefty fee to even step foot in the door of the hospital, let alone have the surgery. During these months, I discovered that not only did I have an addiction to food, but I also had a Binge Eating Disorder. It was a rollercoaster, emotionally and physically, and I was scared to death of everything that could go wrong. However, on December 17th, 2015, I had the Gastric Sleeve surgery done, after two weeks of liquid dieting.

Since then, I have lost forty-four pounds and counting, and it feels so good to worry less about my future health.

Something else I noticed during this time is a surprisingly large grey area within the body positive community, regarding individuals who have had weight loss surgery. There seems to be a taboo within the community regarding surgical weight loss, and sometimes weight loss in general, and I think that is a gross oversight.

A social media post titled "The Rules for Being Fat" by Lonie McMichael, summed up this oversight best:

"#7. If a diet does not work, go have your stomach amputated or squeezed (weight loss surgery). You might die of complications. You will be 4x more likely to kill yourself than the rest of the population. If you don’t die, you will most likely have long-term complications and nutritional deficiencies that will reduce your quality of life significantly. You also have an excellent chance of becoming an alcoholic. Oh, and 80% of you will regain the weight."

The rest of this article, by the way, was very well thought out and did thoroughly explain many struggles and expectations that society has placed upon fat women, but this "rule" in particular bothered me. What did this mean for me? Was I a sellout to this community that I cared about so passionately? Did I no longer have a place within it?

It was terribly disheartening, the idea of being in the grey area of an important movement, slipping between the cracks. Fat, but not as fat as I was six months ago. The body positivity movement has always been so good to me, and for so many others like me, and has made me incredibly proud to be the person I am, and it hurt me to imagine that those who did such wonderful things for my confidence would be the ones to put down my decision to do what was best for MY body.

Fat positivity is supporting the choices of all fat people, regardless of one's opinion of those decisions, so long as what they are doing is healthy (in the opinion of themselves and their respective doctors) and makes them happy. Disregarding surgical weight loss and the patients of it is not only unfair, it goes against the entire body positivity movement. It is body shaming, plain and simple.

If you’re happy without surgery or dieting, I’m happy for you! I will support you to the ends of the earth, and will never, ever question your decision to be exactly who you are. On my end, however, my genetics and weight were such that I had to make a decision for my personal health, and that decision was weight loss surgery.

Even if an individual's reasons for surgery are purely cosmetic, who are you to judge? Ultimately, we're all just individuals trying to find the solution that best fits our needs and makes us sleep better at night. In the words of the great Danny Glassman, Associate Dean of Students at the University of Tennessee, "Don't yuck my yum".

I’m not ashamed of my body. I’m not ashamed of my weight loss. Please don’t try to make patients of weight loss surgery feel ashamed for doing something that we felt was best for our bodies, respectively. Make room for us, and others who take different paths within their self image journey, within the body positivity community.

Lift people up. Love them unconditionally. Support them no matter what. Don't yuck their yum. Keep the movement inclusive. There are plenty of negative people in the world, keep the positivity movement positive!

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PIIT28 Made Me Document My Fitness Journey For A Month And The Results Were Spectacular

The physical and mental gains are real.

Last year, I started my PIIT28 journey.

If you’re not familiar with it, you should get started.

Cassey Ho started the program in 2016 to become more fit and squeeze working out into busy schedules. If you feel you don’t have enough time to work out, this program is perfect.

You even have one day of rest! (Called PIIT Stops)

The entire workout is four rounds and seven moves each round.

The first round is certainly not the worst. You may feel sore from the warm-up, but compared to the second round, round one is a breeze.

I am not going to lie, round two feels like death.

My heart races, my brain is tired, and I feel like I can’t go on any further. When I finish round two and start round three, my workout quickens tenfold, and I’m excited to almost be done.

Round four is fun because your adrenaline pushes you to finish the workout, and you’re done your daily workout in no time.

The rounds are 45 seconds of activity and 15 seconds of rest, but each move goes from high intensity to low intensity.

I can guarantee you won’t get bored.

Each day works on a different body part, with catchy names like "Cardio Camp" and "Bubble Butt."

One day is more or less 40 minutes including the six-minute warm up in the beginning and flexibility training at the end. The workout portion is 28 minutes and 40 seconds total, hence the name PIIT28.

The program also lasts for 28 days, but I chose to go on the second round for a total of 56 days. The second round is the same as the first month but adds the Flat Abs Fix 1.0 for the six days of activity to build core strength and sculpt ab definition.

On the usual rest days, you add in Stronger 1.0 to strengthen your muscles.

If you’re on a budget, the program is fairly cheap at $39 USD. By signing up for Cassey’s email list and following her on social media, you’ll stay up-to-date on promos for PIIT28.

I already eat healthily, but I also purchased the 28 Day Reset for improved results. This is a 28-day omission challenge that takes out dairy, added sugars, gluten, processed grains and alcohol.

It will help you see if you have any food sensitivities.

When on this program, I found out that I had a sensitivity to dairy after years of undiagnosed stomach pains.

After the reset, Cassey teaches you to slowly incorporate the foods you want to keep in your diet. The program offers one vegan and one regular option. This program is more than PIIT28 at $69 USD separately.

However, you can purchase all three versions of PIIT and the 28 Day Reset for $99, which is a pretty good deal considering each version costs $39.

I felt lighter after the reset, and I could see small changes in my body after the 56 days of PIIT 1.0.

What was most amazing was the Instagram challenge.

I am so used to flipping through Instagram and feeling horrible about myself after looking at the girls who are much more toned than I am.

Before PIIT, I would feel less motivated to work out because I would think to myself, “What’s the point? I’ll never look like these girls.”

I always grew up with a horrible self-confidence and still struggle with it today. I was always a chubby kid and yearned to be like my skinny friends.

The #PIITSTAGRAM Challenge changed all that.

I don’t do PIIT frequently anymore, but I am still part of the PIIT community. They are so welcoming and encouraging of all fitness journeys. They are from all over the world, and I was happy to see they were all shapes and sizes.

I am not a fitness guru, so I found it incredibly rewarding when people gave nice comments on my posts. They would even DM me to check in how I was doing.

I have met so many friends by just joining this community.

As a bit of an introvert, I wasn’t sure how I would talk to people I’ve never even met before, but I was happy that I did.

While I was doing PIIT, I could see and feel small changes in my body. When I went into dressing rooms, I was actually proud of the gains in my body and didn’t cringe when I looked at my thighs or tummy.

I was finally happy. My pants were looser, my smile was brighter and my confidence was at an all-time high.

After PIIT, you even earn a cool fitness tank by completing the program and doing the #PIITSTAGRAM Challenge.

This year, I started college so I have been less consistent with working out. It’s more difficult to do PIIT in college dorms since you make a lot of noise, and I live on the third floor with a roommate.

I’ve gone to our gym, and even though it’s nice to work out, I miss PIIT28.

That is why this summer I am going to continue my journey with PIIT 2.0.

I highly recommend PIIT28. There are times when you feel like you are going to give up, but when you power through the workouts, you feel incredibly accomplished.

This is a fantastic PIIT review here.

If you want more advice, follow me on my PIITSTAGRAM.

Interested? Start your fitness journey today.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube via Blogilates

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My Diet Is Eating Whatever I Want Whenever I Want

Eat what makes you feel happy and healthy because, in the end, it is your body and nobody else's.

When I was about 15 years old, I became a little too health-obsessed, to the point where I developed an eating disorder. I restricted my calories and ate a low-carb diet. I became extremely underweight and developed other health issues, such as almost being anemic. This was quite a dark time in my life, however, through familial support and a change in mindset, I was able to overcome my anorexia.

After being "cured" of my eating disorder, I still did not have a healthy relationship with food. I saw food as evil, for I believed food would make me fat. I did want to eat but did not want to gain weight. I began looking for different diets that would make me feel satisfied while allowing me to keep my belly flat; I happened to stumble upon the vegan diet. In particular, I stumbled upon Freelee's Youtube channel, in which she advertised the vegan diet as a magical diet in which one could eat as many carbs as one wanted while still remaining lean.

And so, after watching countless of Youtube videos on veganism, I go vegan. I stop eating all animal products, even honey. I was a strict vegan. I would make a lot of my own foods because a lot of foods like granola bars, for example, have dairy or other animal products in them. I am not going to say I hated the vegan diet, or that I ever felt restricted because it was a wonderful experience that I would never take back. I learned that you can make good food without having to use animal products. I was vegan for about a year, and then I stopped.

To be completely honest, I do not know why I stopped being vegan, but I just remember saying I just wanted to eat chicken again.

When I went back to being an omnivore, I noticed I gained a lot of weight and felt uglier and more lethargic. I did not like this feeling of feeling heavier without energy, however, I remained an omnivore.

It was not until I got to college that my diet would again change. In my dining hall, there is a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. When the options are available, it is difficult for me to resists them, since I naturally have a tendency to eat fewer animal products. Currently, I have not been eating meat, and only eat either fish or eggs. However, the majority of the time I eat tofu, fruit, vegetables, and rice. I also don't consume dairy products because they upset my stomach.

I like my new diet, and I used to want to label myself as a "vegan" or as being "dairy-free" however, I don't care about those labels anymore. I eat the foods I like; I eat foods that make me feel happy and healthy.

In addition, I eat whenever I get hungry. If it is midnight and I am studying for an exam, I will go buy some chips and eat them, because I am hungry or I will munch on an apple because I can.

So, that is my diet, my diet is eating the foods I like and eating them at whatever time I want. If you do happen to follow a strict diet, like a vegan diet, I do not shame you for it, I think the vegan diet is a great diet. On the other hand, if you love steak or hamburgers, I do not shame you for that either, at one point in my life, I also ate steak. My point is, eat what makes you feel happy and healthy because, in the end, it is your body and nobody else's.

Cover Image Credit: Lizbeth Ibarra

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