On Happiness

Once upon a time, I was a gangly, skinny little kid that played outdoors all day long, rough-housed with the boys, and loved to be active. I was even in the “Joggers Club” in 3rd grade.

Obviously, my active beginnings didn’t stick, and puberty brought pounds. It got out of control enough that I turned to gastric bypass surgery. It wasn’t that I didn’t like activity; it was more that the heavier I got, the harder it got to be active, and the less active I was, the more the pounds piled on. It is exactly this cycle of chronic pain = weight gain that convinced me that surgery was my best hope.

Surgery is not a panacea. They do not remove any part of your brain; not even the part that helped get you fat in the first place. That is all on the patient to fix. Surgery did not bring me instant happiness. How could it? I am the only one who can control my happiness. What my surgery has done is helped me reverse years of damage to my body and my psyche. At this point, it has helped me lose sixty pounds and find my toes (“Why hello there!”).

More importantly, I am beginning to reclaim the “me” that I knew was in there all along, lost under layers of fat and self-abuse. That “me” who was a skinny bit of nothing who liked to jog with the kids at school, who could roller skate non-stop for two hours at the rink, whose favorite games were Tag and Red Rover, and who could swim for hours at the beach.

My beginnings have been humble. Walking. Walk a little more. Take some time off for bad weather. Walk again. I told myself I would begin jogging again when I hit 225 lbs. I love jogging. Love it. I hate wasting time and I have always felt I could do double the work in half the time when I compared walking and jogging. Well, I hit 225 pounds back in March, but I wasn’t ready yet. I was a little scared of remembered pain and the weather was not exactly inviting.

So it was the week before last when I weighed 210 pounds that it sunk in that I could make all the excuses I wanted, but I would never be less scared of pain, the weather would never be perfect enough, I would never be light enough, and it was time to go strap on my brand new tennies bought exactly for this purpose and go make strides on the pavement.

I am jogging again.

No really. Did you hear that? I am jogging again.

Fat chicks don’t jog. Do they? No, they make excuses for all the reasons they can’t or shouldn’t. (“Fat Chick” is a state of mind; I know a handful of rail-thin Fat Chicks.)

Joy of joys, I am jogging.

I would not dare call myself a jogger yet. I am a walker who jogs for 2 minute intervals right now. Yet in only a short time, I can now make those two minutes before needing a walking breather. That is up from the roughly 30 seconds I managed in 2006 when we had a firefighting roommate who wanted to help me get in shape. That is in fact up from the just barely a minute of jogging I started out at. I haven’t been doing anything more specific than just increasing the length of time I make my jogging intervals each week, but I think starting next week, I will really try and conform to the C25K program. Though I have done really well on my own thus far, I think I am going to need some structure here soon to help me stay on target and get over some of the big training hurdles (like five straight minutes of jogging!).

If you found this blog because you googled “gastric bypass happiness” because you are trying to figure out if this is the right thing for you, then I want you to know this: surgery will not fix you. It will not excise whatever it is in your brain that made you fat. It will not make you into a Cinderella story and it is definitely not your Fairy Godmother. It is hard. In fact, those first few weeks were outright hell.

The surgery is designed to do one thing and that is make you drop pounds in a hurry. It will not fail at that in the first few months. But you can fail the surgery if you do not do “surgery” of your own on your brain and all the other things or people in your life that are helping make you fat. So my wish for you, Oh Googler, is that you decide for yourself if you are ready and willing to make the same hard cuts on your brain that your surgeon is prepared to make to your guts. My other wish is that you do not go into the operating room with too much hope banked on those cuts your surgeon makes; go in knowing exactly what part your surgery can do to help you, and also knowing exactly how much water you are going to carry on your own.

I believe the secret to happiness is knowing who you are, doing what you love, and accepting that you really have to fight for some of the best things in your life. For me, the fight is really worth it.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kitty on May 5, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    I am so happy that you are jogging again. Whenever you want to run that 5K, I’m there in whatever capacity you want.

    No pressure.


  2. […] Baby, we’ve come a long way. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged running. Bookmark the permalink. ← Warrior Dash Major Update LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


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