It Was Never Enough…

As we enter into a new year, I have been reflecting on my life, my accomplishments and failures. One of my accomplishments was being able to lose 220 pounds and successfully maintain my weight loss for nearly eight years. In 2017, I decided it was time to remove all of that extra skin hanging around so I elected to have a lower body lift along with a male breast reduction which I often refer it to as my chest reconfiguration. Until recently, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Everyone said I looked great and was praising me for my determination and commitment. Then one morning as I was looking in mirror, I did not like what I was seeing. Things did not look right. I admit that I gained a few pounds- ten to be exact- but I just did not like how I looked. I even met with my plastic surgeon to discuss some additional procedures to consider. Why was I feeling this way? Why is it never enough?

A few months ago, I got hooked and began binge-watching Feud. Feud is a cable TV series about the lifelong love/hate relationship between screen legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. In one particular scene, Davis asks Crawford, “How did it feel being the most beautiful girl in the world?” Crawford replied, “It was wonderful! The most joyous thing you could ever imagine but it was never enough.” It was never enough. For some reason, those words stayed with me. Why?

Confusing Expectations

In 2011, when I decided to have my weight loss surgery (RNY), I had several health issues: sleep apnea, high blood pressure and lymphedema along with a few others. I was 42 years old and I knew if I did not change my lifestyle, I was going to die prematurely. I took the classes, met the doctors and had my physiological evaluation. You don’t have to be Eisenstein to know not to go into the evaluation and say you want to have surgery to look like Taye Diggs. You have to say that you want to get healthy and life a longer life, B#llshit like that. Moreover, for me, all that was true, I wanted to get healthy and live longer but in the back of my mind, I did want to have a body like Taye Diggs and I thought that at the end of the road I would have one. Alas, I now realized I was living in a fool’s paradise. Not only did I not have a body like Taye Diggs, and I did not have other things either. I had the expectation that after the weight loss and skin removal I would also find the love of my life. Dating would be easier and I would meet more people then eventually enter into a long-term relationship. Again, I was not being realistic. I realized it is actually harder now because I have raised my standards higher. Raised my standards higher? What is that all about? A friend from high school told me that there is nothing wrong with that. He said that I eat right and workout so I deserve a person who does the same. So now, I am the person who does not give the nice overweight person the time of day? That doesn’t sound right to me either.

So back in my plastic surgeon’s office – I am asking about what I can do about this and that imperfection. He explains to me what he could do and what to expect. I am considering doing my legs and arms in efforts to complete my journey. Many people have told me that it may take several procedures to finally look complete. When I discuss the matter with some of friends, they look at me as if I am a crazy man. They tell me that I look fantastic. I don’t need any more work done or to lose additional weight. Well, they have not seen my naked. Even those who have had the opportunity to see me nude tell me that I look fine. So what is my problem? Therefore, as I struggle with my issues, guilt and a feeling of ungratefulness comes to me. I was fortunate to have been successful in my journey and I did not experience any complications. I have done everything I was supposed to do but I still feel there is a missing piece to the puzzle. Why is it never enough?

Seeing Through the Fog of Blind Expectations

Well, I believe it is the expectations we create as we begin the journey. We need to be honest on what to expect as we go through this transition. Therapist tells us over and over again that the issues we had as an overweight person do not vanish once we are thinner and we must try to resolve these issues before or during our weight loss. Back to my own expectations: I was expecting too much. Nothing comes easy. It wasn’t easy losing the weight. It wasn’t easy going through my plastic surgeries. It definitely is not easy maintaining my weight. All this requires hard work and the ability to forgive yourself. Acceptance, you need to accept who you are! Nobody is perfect and nobody ever will be. Patience, patience has always been my enemy. I want results and I want them now. I want the perfect partner and I want it now! Etc. I know that just like losing and maintaining my weight takes time and hard work. I understand that I must be happy with myself before I can make someone else happy. Realize that there is a good chance you are not going to look exactly what you wanted to look like at the end of the journey but remember that you are a much improved and healthier version of the person before your journey. Then maybe unlike Joan Crawford, you will come to realize that “it was enough.”

Question for the WLS Community: Have you had – or are you having – similar experiences as Kevin describes in his blog post?

Share your thoughts on Kevin’s article, and/or your journey.  Leave your message in the “Leave a Comment” section at the bottom of this page.

 

About the Author – Kevin Stephens

Kevin was born and raised in San Bernardino, CA, and currently reside in Riverside Ca. He was awarded a BS in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. Kevin has been working for Riverside County for twenty years. He loves to travel around the County and make new friends along the way.

Kevin Stephens had RNY surgery in 2011 and lost 220 pounds. He shares the story of his journey during bariatric support groups at his local hospital. He is now into fitness training and aspires to complete a 5k walk and/or run in the near future. Kevin is a member of the National Lymphedema Network (NLN) and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).

Highest weight: 417
Current weight: 209
Surgery date: 2/8/2011
Gastric bypass RNY
Surgeon: Dr. Suh

In Other News:

Register now for the 2019 WLSFA Annual Bariatric Conference : May 17 – 19 in Orlando, Florida.  For information and to register go to www.wlsfa.org/orlando.

If you would like to contribute to our blog, please contact our editor Bill via email at bill@wlsfa.org.

The next four postings will feature articles from WLS peeps Denise London, Karina Lopez, Melissa Gomez, and Jay Combs. Several others are working on pieces.

It is never too late to read (or reread) an old Blog posting… or to make a comment, or share a story. Past Blog Posts:

Jan 23, 2018 How Did You Do It? – Bill Streetman

Feb 1, 2018 Sometimes Its Not All About “Me” – Laura Van Tuyl

Feb 22, 2018 Real Food Makes a Difference, Fake Food Makes Obesity – Rain Hampton

Dec 4, 2018 Exciting Announcement! Carnie Wilson Will Join the WLSFA in May

Dec 6, 2018 Food Friends and the Holidays – Bill Streetman

Dec 20, 2018 Being Complacent Doesn’t Support My Healthy Lifestyle – Sandi Henderson

Jan 8, 2019 Spotlight on WLSFA Board Member Darla Black

Jan 15, 2019 It Was Never Enough – Kevin Stephens

 

NOTE: The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America is a 501(c) 3 Nonprofit Organization. We have earned the Guide Stars Platinum Seal of Transparency. The WLSFA is a 100% Volunteer Organization with no paid executives or staff. We are fellow weight loss surgery patients, paying it forward since 2010.

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16 Comments, RSS

  • Antonia

    says on:
    January 15, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Kevin, an excellent article. I am betting that many of us WLS folks have felt the same or similar during our journey. This isn’t the type of topic most of us like to explore and discuss – therefore it is a big service to the WLS community that you have been brave enough to not only acknowledge this feeling, but to have written about it and shared it with all of us. Thank you.

    • Kevin

      says on:
      January 15, 2019 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you Antonia.

  • sandi henderson

    says on:
    January 15, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Kevin there is so much truth for me in what you wrote. Having lost 250 lbs and dealt with a lower body lift, brachioplasty, breast lift and augmentation i agree…I looked in the mirror and wanted this to be a little better, or that to be different. I forgot what 424 lbs used to look like. I began to learn to love myself, and with that I started to let go of my driving need for perfection, Body dysmorphia is a tough subject to talk about, and one that most WLS patients have to deal with at some point in their journey. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    • Kevin

      says on:
      January 15, 2019 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you Sandi.

  • Kinnia

    says on:
    January 15, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Kevin I too have thought of plastic surgery. I lost over 115 pounds. So thankful for no complications. But the love of God keeps me focused on exercising my spirit and it helps not to worry about tightening it up. You are a really kind person. There are people with bodies out of this world but they cannot compare to your love for others. You look great and I hope you find the love of your life. Be you and enjoy your life to the fullest. God is your joy and happy place.

    • Kevin

      says on:
      January 15, 2019 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you Kinnia.

  • Lois Gadomski

    says on:
    January 15, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Wow your comments in your thoughts and your feelings so many of us feel the same way will we ever be happy with ourselves there’s always something more that we want I had my arms done I had my belly done I lost 118 lb gained back 10 sometimes 15 and it seems all go to my rear in my legs my legs look worse now than before I lost the weight but that’s in my brain my husband says you look wonderful please don’t do anything else to yourself I love you Just the Way You Are but my brain says I want more so I have to learn to love me where I am right now and remember where I was and where I am now your article was wonderful and I thank you for sharing that it makes me think I need to do better to be appreciative of what I have right now and remember where I came from can’t wait to see you at another conference love you

    • Kevin

      says on:
      January 15, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      Thank you Lois. See you soon.

  • Melinda

    says on:
    January 15, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    That was a truly beautiful and honest account of your journey. I didn’t have surgery and struggle with my weight and have shared some of your feelings and struggles. Life would be better if we can be easier on ourselves but being overweight is so much more than extra pounds. It is physical health and mental health and self-esteem and emotions. I think you have always been “enough “ the way you inspire others 🙂

    • Kevin

      says on:
      January 15, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you Melinda.

  • Rochelle

    says on:
    January 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Kevin
    Thank you for sharing. A great journey. You are more in touch with yourself than you think. You are enough. You’re imperfectly perfect.
    My RNY was 8/03. I’ve released 130 lbs. I didn’t do it to be perfect. No plastic surgeries. I embrace my saggy butt and loose thighs. I’m not on cholesterol or blood pressure meds. I had mine to be a healthier me.
    You are a blessing. Know that this is part of God’s plan for your life. Your article is an inspiration. Your audience believes in you. Believe in yourself. You are more than enough.

    • Kevin

      says on:
      January 21, 2019 at 2:03 am

      Thank you Rochelle.

  • Denise

    says on:
    January 16, 2019 at 2:01 am

    Kevin, thank you for sharing your story. Your perspective regarding expectations will inspire many others. So proud of you.

    • Kevin Stephens

      says on:
      January 21, 2019 at 2:04 am

      Thanks Denise.

  • Renee

    says on:
    January 23, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Kevin –

    What a phenomenal read! Yes, you are so right, when is enough, enough? Many aspects of your story definitely hit home and I thank you for sharing this. When I met you in TX I knew you have definitely accomplished a lot. I am so proud of you and looking forward to catching up with you again! Continue your great success Kevin!

    • Kevin Stephens

      says on:
      February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

      Thank you Renee. I hope to meet up with my new friends in Florida this year.

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