College brought new challenges. During my first week of school, I was raped by two men. After the attack, I had a lot of difficulty coping, and one way to handle my feelings was to eat. I was caught in a cycle of bulimia, purging, and accusing my body of "broken" for all that went wrong. My weight went up and down during this time … but mostly upwards
PLUS: How I lost 300 pounds without living in the gym & # 39;
Finally, in 2011, at 263 pounds, I decided I had enough of the failed diets and hated me. I had tried diet and exercise, and while I was losing a few pounds, I was still putting it back. If I went to lose weight, I would have to do something like a major surgery.
There were several options, but I opted for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a type of weight loss surgery where they remove 80% of your stomach. I chose this one because it does not affect the intestines; with other types of weight loss surgery, most of the small intestine is bypassed. As a result, you may end up with problems like vitamin deficiencies and intestinal problems. Due to my history of eating disorders, my insurance would not cover the surgery. So I made the incredibly risky decision of doing it in Mexico and I took the $ 10,000 myself.
The week before the surgery, I had to go on a diet all liquid, which was horrible. But I felt amazing. For the first time in a long time, I felt full of hope. I was finally doing something about this problem that had plagued me all my life. Even though I was a little scared, I saw surgery as a kind of rebirth, the solution to all my mental and physical pains.
Immediately after, I had a lot of pain, which lasted about two weeks. After that, I could pretty much return to my usual life, but full recovery was a slow process. I could only eat a little bit at a time, totaling less than 1,000 calories a day. I would feel dizzy and I would feel weak. But I always felt good because it seemed to work.
In the year following surgery, I lost 100 pounds and I went down to 165. The following year, I celebrated with one arm to remove a part skin. This was also not covered by the insurance because it is considered cosmetic, and I paid $ 6,000 more in pocket.
Although I was happy with the results, everyone around me was ecstatic. Wherever I went, I was rented and rented (a person even called me a "hero", as if the weight loss looked like shooting someone out of a car). building on fire) and I got hooked on praise. I wanted everyone to validate me – and as long as I was losing weight, they did it.
Then I slowly started to regain weight. Not everything, but enough that it was noticeable. In two years, I had recovered half of what I had lost, and the compliments were drying up with my self esteem. On the other hand, my eating disorder had never really disappeared and was now back in full force.
Physically, I was supposed to be healthier, but I did not feel healthy at all. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally, I was a wreck. While the surgery had worked in the sense that I had lost weight, in the end I had the impression that it had failed. Overall, I felt less healthy than before. I ended up being obsessed with food and counting calories, my blood pressure and my cholesterol levels remained the same as before, and, even worse, I still did not like my self. . Losing weight was not the magic pill for self-esteem that I had thought it would be. If anything, I only hated myself more.
PLUS: How I talked about my eating disorder to my father & # 39;
Reconnecting my brain with my body
One day in 2015, I came across My Big Fat Fabulous Life a TV series centered around the life of Whitney Way Thore, a tall woman and activist of the acceptance of fat, and a light continued. In the show, Whitney often spoke of loving her. I finally realized that I had put my life on hold, doing everything else depends on my weight. I did not have to wait until I was skinny to be happy, I could be happy and love myself exactly as I was.
From that moment, I embraced positive body movements and fat-positive, learning everything I could detach my self-esteem from the scale and love my imperfect but innate body. I looked at blogs and books and became active in online communities.
As I began to heal decades of self-abuse, I began to see my surgery and my relationship to food in a different light. Everyone's experience with weight loss surgery is different, and some people see amazing improvements in their health and life. But for me, surgery did not save life, it was damaging. I needed to heal myself from the inside first. The food was not an enemy to conquer and the thinness was not justice. I could be happy with myself and I was worthy of love and respect, regardless of the size or shape of my body.
Check out some of the strangest weight loss trends:  My Regrets
Now, honestly, I'm sad to have been operated on. I can not even describe my feelings when I see my arm scars in the mirror; It's a particular kind of tearing knowing that I hated my body so much that I mutilated it to try to find an unrealistic mold of what a woman "should" be. I've learned the hard way that you can not take care of something you hate, so love me was the first and the best return to health
I started to receive help for my eating disorder. For several years I have been following a therapy under the Emily program, and although I will never say that I am cured, I have a much better relationship with food. I eat intuitively, listening carefully to the signals of my body on what it needs. I do not qualify food as good or bad, and I do not call it good or bad
PLUS: 12 ways to track your fitness and weight loss progress – without walking on the scale
I threw my ladder. And, ironically, over the past two years, I've lost weight – about two dress sizes – while my body has started to stabilize itself. If you saw me in the street, you might not even think of my body as big, although "fat" is always a word I identify with. Personally, I see my weight fluctuations as a neutral process, something that my body does while I take good care of it and listen to it, and I do not care where my weight ends.
People who think that now that I'm losing weight again, that's a sign that my surgery is ultimately a "hit." Not so. True success no longer hates me. The real success is how happy I am now.
The article "Why I regret my weight loss surgery" originally appeared on Women's Health.