nimiety

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About nimiety

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests
    Books, culture and criticism, powerlifting, politics, feminism, the internet, wildly overambitious cooking projects, the theory and practice of fatness.
  • Age
    33

Information

  • Surgeon
    Alfons Pomp
  • Hospital
    Weill Cornell
  • Height (ft-in)
    5-05
  • Start Weight
    332
  • Current Weight
    203
  • Goal Weight
    165
  • Surgery Date
    07/28/2016
  • Surgery Type
    Vertical Sleeve

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  1. So, I've looked up and found myself in the countdown-to-200 portion of things. I weighed 203 this morning. A ton of stuff is happening in my life right now, much of it stuff I'm not ready to talk about here yet, but even through all that stuff, which has me spread a little thin and a lot distracted, that number's got me focusing on it. It sticks in the head. It's sort of some childhood dividing line, maybe. It's a myth. It's an outdated idea. I blew through it circa age 14 and then I learned how fungible were the numbers you said you'd never cross. How little that counts. I'm still doing this thing right now where I'm hovering between plus sizes and straight sizes, dancing around on a line that's hard to see and understand that has so much also to do with stigma, with social categories, with visibility, with femininity. When I walk around in the world I don't know what size I am. I feel simultaneously like I have so far to go and like I want to stop right now. But there it is: 200. Below it, the girl you were supposed to be. Above it, the woman you became. (Brigid Berlin: "My mother wanted me to be a slim, respectable socialite. Instead, I became an overweight troublemaker.") My therapist pointed out to me yesterday that I love the woman I became more than the girl I was supposed to be, that even as I find myself with the greatest access I've ever had to the version of "slim, respectable socialite" with which I grew up, the quasi-creative white-collar job and the husband with the same kind of job and the dinner parties and the chitchat and maybe the kids you'll probably send to private school even though you have political qualms about it but honestly they have to get into college, I am also leaning the hardest into my own desire to be a spinster, a free spirit, a revolutionary, an art monster, a weirdo. She's right, and I appreciate having that pointed out to me. I was always so afraid of not being able to make my own decisions. When WLS was first being authorized for teenagers, in the late '90s, which is when I was one, the New Yorker did a piece on it and I nabbed the issue of the magazine so that my father couldn't read it. I thought if he read about it, I'd end up on the table whether I wanted to or not. (I had no idea whether I wanted to or not.) I have, historically, not really understood my ability to make my own decisions. There are a lot of reasons for this vacuum, in my life, where agency ought to have been palpable. But none of them are really the point. The point is that I feel it now. When I walk into the room full of people whose bodies and social selves intimidate and entice me in equal measure, even when I feel like it's not my body preventing me from being one of them, I'm still not one of them. Not in the digital media room. Not in the art room. Not in the sense of absorption that I fear. Not in the sense of being claimed, being stuck, being colonized, being coopted. Something stubborn and tenacious in me says no, rolls its eyes at the ill-informed views on Syria no matter how glamorous their speaker. Which means that over 200 or under it, I am still running this show. The world won't absorb me unless I choose to be absorbed. I get to choose who to be. My way. Which means that being under 200 doesn't seem like such a big deal, honestly. I mean, today, anyway. I might still have a meltdown of some variety when I see a number that starts with a 1. No promises.
  2. I'm seeing strange new things when I look at my face in the mirror—fatness is no longer the first thing I see. My jaw is newly prominent, my neck asserting itself. I have high cheekbones; they catch the light. People's attention registers me in a new way. It lingers longer; it checks in. I'm wearing a size 14 dress from ASOS Curve and it's gotten too big for me. It drapes over my hips, pools at my feet, makes me look a little boxy. Simultaneously, there are two pairs of size 14 jeans (one pair of skinny jeans from the Gap, one from Lucky Brand) that I can't even pull up all the way. I climb out onto my fire escape and I am not afraid that it will buckle under me. I have put a little outdoor rug on it, because I have been sitting out there in these first days of spring, watching the neighborhood's rhythms at intervals. I have put out a plant-pot full of soil and sprinkled wildflower seeds. I have imagined having phone conversations out there. Good ones. I was sitting out there the other day thinking about how hard it is to know what I want when it occurred to me that all I had ever wanted was to be thin. Not that I haven't been fighting the dominance of that ambition for fifteen years now (I have), but that nevertheless it had occupied space, that it had squashed some parts of the organic development of my own sense of where I was headed. The blight of that ambition; its radiating rot. I am making more social plans, including with people I would not have wanted to see at my biggest. I am less averse to making a trip downstairs at midnight with a bag each of trash and recycling, more likely to make a dedicated trip instead of waiting until the morning, and less winded by the return trip (fourth-floor walk-up).
  3. [This post was written several days ago. There's an update at the end. I'm still posting it as-is because I want to save the thinking-through.] My life is really busy right now and that has stalled my weight loss. It's not "a stall." It's me prioritizing other things and not leaving enough room in my day or my brain to plan and take care of eating, water, logging, counting, etc. I know that this happens to a lot of people after WLS, and now I know that it is happening, has happened, will happen to me. I have this intense rush of social energy, a desire for input, experience, I'm rushing around, overstressed, overworked, overeverything. It hasn't left a lot of room for planning, weighing and measuring, logging. There was also my dad's birthday, Easter, Passover, just a little constellation of things that threw me. And also I think in some way this is a very comfortable place for me, this size right here. I'm a solid size 16. I don't yet feel sure that a straight-size store would clothe me. I do, however, feel like I've hit the point at which I'm no longer on the heavily stigmatized side of the kid of invisibilizing, dehumanizing fat stigma that I and many other fat people have experienced. I can take up space in a room now. I notice myself wanting, rather than shying away from, the conversational spotlight. This week I ran around like a crazy person, hopping from space to space to space, all the spaces my patchwork life spans. I don't feel out of place in my classroom and I don't feel out of place strolling through Park Slope with my friend and her little boy and I don't feel out of place taking two client meetings in a row on the Upper East Side and I don't feel out of place in a room full of avant-garde artists and I don't feel out of place in a room full of establishment artists and I don't feel out of place in a room full of digital media types. I can be in those places and feel like I get to be in them, enjoy being in them. I am really enjoying that. But I think I know that the attention would get more intense if I got a chunk smaller. Even a pretty little chunk. I think I know that I am hovering on the edge of something, some boundary. I think that scares me, that I am protecting myself from it. I seem, at the moment, to be clinging to my otherness in some capacity, like if I don't, they will consume me, assimilate me, leave me nothing of myself for my own. I am a person who worries about demands other people make because I worry about my ability to say no to them, and I worry about my own discomfort getting a lot of attention. I am a person who worries about the obliteration of interpellation. It's funny, because when I was first talking through WLS with my therapist, this is where I said I wanted to end up. I said something along the lines of "If I could pick a place to end up, and that place could be a nice solid 14/16, I would do it." I wanted to be assured that I could still be fat(ish) if I wanted to be, and I think I felt afraid of really truly giving up fatness as an identity position and as an aesthetic and political element. I've done so much thinking and working around it. And honestly, it makes me feel great to be fat and to still be comfortable in all these spaces. It reminds me of all the things that I can do that other people can't—it makes me feel a little superhuman. It makes me feel strange, and strong, and individual, and gifted, and dangerous, and glamorous, and very much myself. It makes me feel like I am inventing something, a new way of being. I like that feeling. So I do think I owe it to myself to take my potential discomfort being smaller seriously, and to affirm for myself that I don't have to be if I don't want to be. I don't have to be any smaller than this. I could be this size my entire life, and I could make of it a thing of great beauty and joy, a thing of newness and possibility and invention. THAT SAID. There has been eating this past couple of weeks that makes me very uncomfortable, from an ED perspective. There has been a sense of disorder, of chaos, of being out of control. I have felt like I have not been able to set intentions or make dependable choices. And that, friends, is a situation that cannot stand. I am righting the ship. Not that the ship capsized—it's just some turbulence. I am seeing new lows on the scale as of today, even though I am pretty sure that I'm still holding water from being carbed up. (Side note: do people know about this? I only learned this in powerlifting—but carbohydrates refill your glycogen stores, which means your body holds water to render all that glycogen ready to use. When you're eating low-carb, your glycogen stores are low to empty, which means the second you refill them, back all that water will come too—so the weight you "gain" if you regularly eat very low-carb and you, say, eat a couple slices of pizza at a bar while knocking back whiskeys on the rocks NOT THAT I DID THAT oh wait yes I did includes that adjustment to water balance. This event frequently convinces people who regularly eat very low-carb diets, including keto, that carbs are the devil, which is not the case in my not-so-humble opinion.) So I'm feeling grateful for my surgically-installed tool even as I know I need to devote some thought to the way it's interacting with my disordered reactions AND to pulling myself back towards a baseline that works for me. This might be the time to see that beloved ED nutritionist who does bariatrics too, now I come to think of it. [Update: then I left this open for three days, during which time I did my end-of-month weigh-in, found myself less than two pounds above my goal for the month, and then today saw a weight below it. Gonna write about this too, but I didn't want to lose this bit of thinking, so I'm slapping it up even if belatedly.]
  4. @Jen581791, I think it's really important to not get lost in obsession about a particular goal weight, and I also think it's important to go through this process with as much focus on behavior and input (rather than outcome) as possible. I am not a fan of all the five-day-pouch-test pick-a-diet-plan stuff. It's just not my style. I have a deeply health- and behavior-focused surgical program, thank God, and for me, it's far more important to get to a place of balance where I can start to put things on sustainable autopilot than to fit into a particular size. I'm not trying to get skinny here—I'm trying to find a weight that works for me and that I can maintain without killing myself over it every day for the rest of my life. And yes, for me tracking and checking in are a big part of my approach right now. In no small part because that kind of work keeps me dealing with the feelings, keeps me engaging, keeps me in touch with what's going on in this part of my life. Keeps me processing. For me personally, I feel like that's what it's all about—if I can keep my head in the game and keep taking things on as they come up, I'll be okay. Once I start avoiding...trouble. So yeah, for me...ever-present. At this point, I occasionally choose not to track a day, or to go ahead and eat the bread, or whatever, but even 8 months out, I find that right now, being vigilant about my behavior keeps me feeling like I'm doing what I can do.
  5. I really appreciate feedback like this. Thank you! Glad it was helpful for you.
  6. I've had so many goals, even just this time around alone. I've made so many lists, over and over again. Even just this time around alone. (Yes, I know that saying "this time around" implies that it's just another ride on the weight-cycle merry-go-round. I don't exactly think that, but I don't exactly not think that, nahmean?) And I've had so many goals. I don't think I've ever known what was really reasonable to expect. I could intellectually process, sure, but I don't think I could really imagine being any of those outcomes personally. Even here, I was saying "I could live here" like fifty pounds ago. But I'm starting to approach a place that would have felt like a totally reasonable place to end up. I'm down just shy of 115 pounds from surgery just over eight months out. I weighed 217.8 this morning. That puts me 18 pounds from one thought about a goal and 37.8 pounds from another thought about a goal (the one listed here) and 52.8 pounds from yet another thought about a goal. I want to lose more than another 18 pounds. And given that I'm only 8 months out, and still posting double-digit monthly losses, I should be able to do that. I can feel pretty confident about predicting that, even though the idea of predicting anything about this situation also sort of feels like asking for trouble. But I want to lose more than another 18 pounds, and I think I can. Frankly, I think I can also lose more than another 37.8 pounds. I'm starting to suspect I'd like to—I'd like to fit into the size-14 Gap jeans that right now get up my thighs but not over my @*#; I'd like to see the cheekbones I've sometimes suspected were there emerge; I'd like to be able to pick any dress I like. I'd like to have a little room for bounceback, too. Looking at the patterns of people whose starting weights, basic situations, and results are pretty similar to mine, I think I can expect my losses to start to taper down to closer to 5 than 10 pounds a month reasonably soon, but not immediately. I've been solidly averaging 10-11 pounds a month (I only lost seven-point-something in February, but I'd lost almost 15 the month before) since the first wild postsurgical rush. I think over the next two to three months, 10 will get hard, if not impossible to hit (without making sacrifices I'm unwilling to make, anyway). Cautiously, I've set a goal of losing 10.8 pounds in April, which would bring me to 207—which would in turn put me in a good spot to try to get under 200 by the end of May. I'd love to hit 182 (150 lost) by my one-year-out mark (7/28), but it feels like a stretch. Then again, I've beaten a lot of my own predictions. We'll see. One consideration is how long I want to stay in active loss mode. The vast majority of days, I weigh and measure and log; I push water; I log in here or Instagram to check in with this part of my life, to support a few other people and hopefully learn a thing and keep myself motivated. I've logged into MyFitnessPal every day since the first day I logged on after surgery—even if it's a day I've chosen not to log, I like to check in on how other people are doing, look over my data, even just count water. I shop and cook and plan my days around this. But I also know that I don't want to be a person whose eating/body/weight is one of her top three priorities forever, ideally. Too much other stuff to get to. Got a life to live over here. Then again, I also know that settling towards maintenance mode—defining it, figuring out how it works for me—is ALSO going to be a lot of work, and possibly/probably keep this issue in the top-three list for as much as a full couple-few years after active loss is over, and (especially because of my ED history) keep it in the top five or six indefinitely. If that's the case, well then, I might as well maintain the weight I actually want (within values of what's possible for me as a person and a body). Which brings us to the second difficulty, which is that I really don't know what that weight is yet. Some days the thought of being a size 8 seems appealing, sometimes I feel like I'd rather be a 12. Some days all I care about is how my face looks, and would happily make that decision (to the extent I get to make it) on that basis alone. And maybe that's fine. Maybe I just take it one day at a time and see how things settle. I'm curious and interested but not suuuuper invested in, like, a single-digit dress size. I'm interested in plastic surgery but not sure if I'll be able to afford it anytime soon. But also, it's nice to have numbers to look toward, even if they sort of don't mean much. In short, I don't really have a Goal Weight, and I'm okay with that, but I sure do have goals.
  7. Yeah, it's a challenge, and no mistake. I read Jen Larsen's memoir Stranger Here about going into WLS with an active eating disorder and it was really incredibly painful to imagine, because I can imagine it so clearly. There but for the grace of God go I—although luckily, I was right up-front with my surgeon and he was right up-front with me in exchange ("That's a problem we can't fix"), which I really appreciate. This has been a test of my recovery and will continue to be one, but it's also driving really productive next steps—which means I was recovered enough to take it on, but there was really no way to find that out without doing it and risking some real difficulty. In general, I have found few changes in my tastes and appetites since surgery—certainly not the Russian roulette experience I was anticipating—but yeah, that definitely might be one. It would be an interesting one.
  8. If you have disordered eating patterns, I would strongly recommend working on those directly as soon as possible. Read Jen Larsen's book Stranger Here as an example of how difficult the experience of going into WLS with an active ED (even a subclinical one) can be. You don't deserve punishment. You deserve care.
  9. When I started this entry, I was staring resentfully at about three-quarters of a cup of pork larb (a Vietnamese meat salad I've adapted for my nutritional needs and abilities in Vietnamese cuisine, which are fairly minimal). Here's what I wrote about it: It's good—I know it is; I've eaten several portions of it in the last couple of days. It's savory, and salty, and fresh, and bright—there's red cabbage in there for crunch, red onion for bite, fresh parsley and cilantro from the pot on the windowsill, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, coconut aminos (I finished a bottle of soy sauce and now I'm using up this substitute still lingering in my pantry from my paleo moment). And yet I'm grumpy at having to eat it. I've had a hard time getting enough of anything in the last week or so—enough food, enough water. I can't imagine why, but I'm finding it such a struggle right now. I haven't been logging this week on MyFitnessPal just because it's so clear to me that I'm way under the mark, but I also know that I'm letting myself make up some of the gap in ways that don't really help me out (i.e. don't involve protein), so I need to keep an eye on that this week. It's still true that I'm feeling a lot of restriction right now. I'm not sure why—I'm under a good deal of stress in my personal life, but I've never been a person who lost her appetite when she was stressed out before. Usually quite the reverse. I'm also struggling with water still—not every day, but I'm coming in at 6 glasses as frequently as at 8 or above right now, and that's not where I want to be. I had a nasty bout of constipation—the only one I've had since surgery—and that might also have been a factor in appetite, I suppose, but it's over now. Anyway, I'm still keeping an eye on things. I've mentioned here that I have an eating-disorders history; I'm not sure I've mentioned how serious it was. Has been. I was in treatment during what would otherwise have been the first semester of my junior year of college—inpatient, then intensive outpatient. The kind of treatment that means you've stopped your life in order to address something that is derailing it. I don't have many friends from that troubled, tumultuous, confusing, overwhelming time in my life, but I've got a couple, one of whom is back in New York after a stint of living and working and studying abroad. She came over last Saturday and we talked food and relationships and feminism and recovery, and it was very, very good. I'd forgotten how funny she is—she has a tendency to embroider and riff, and each laugh emboldens her, egging her on to ever greater rhetorical heights. It was great fun. I actually had told her that I was thinking of surgery, but hadn't told her I'd pulled the trigger, so I had to tell her that, and then was really glad I did. She instinctively asked the right questions: how did you manage it with your parents? How are you staying sane having to think about food and your body that much? It was always funny to me in treatment, being the fat girl amongst all of these girls whose private racing minds were always circling thinness, but the fact was, I found fellowship there. Not with everyone—much like I haven't found fellowship with everyone in fat politics, or everyone in powerlifting, or everyone anywhere, I suppose—but still. There was fellowship there, understanding, of a type that people who haven't been plunged into the tumult of profound dysfunction can't really grasp. They don't see its logic. Anyway, I'm picking that lens back up. I'd let it drop over the last phase of my life—I think I thought that starting an Ivy League PhD meant that I had to be all better. I think I didn't know a way to be both kind of crazy and basically fine. The people who know me from this most recent phase of my life look at me and they don't see dysfunction. They don't see remedial. They don't see chaos, or insanity, or disorder. They think I'm fine. And that helped me see myself that way. But I also think that for a long time, I've been recovered enough—recovered enough to manage, but not to thrive. The post-surgical process is pushing me to take those hard steps, the next ones. I'm grateful. I'm trying to step up. I'm also overwhelmed, afraid, anxious. I feel, sometimes, like an overlap of one—like I'm the only person who has the particular blend of eating-disorders and fat-politics approaches I have. And maybe I really am. I can't decide if that's lonely or if it means I should be talking about it—thinking, writing, making. Anyway, this week was a long haul. But it was good. Painful, but good; hard, but good. Teaching is keeping me sane right now—it feels like the only break I get lately from the constant throb of feelings about my life and my body and the way they're all jumbled up together. Therapy is also keeping me sane right now, which is pretty much what it says on the tin. Yesterday's weight was 219.6 and sub-200 is suddenly feeling real.
  10. Basically my entire wardrobe has migrated into the clothes box at this point—it's been expanded into two bags. I had one really foul day when I was trying things on and looking terrible in dresses I just love and never wanted to lose, and it's a little depressing opening my closet and seeing pretty much only fast fashion and not anything more substantive. But I've also had a totally great time wearing things I'd never gotten into that I'd bought anticipating weight loss or more stretch or whatever, and yes, some of them are totally out of date, and yes, I have still had fun wearing them. I don't want to pull them out every day, but I've taken victory laps in some fairly ridiculous clothing over the last couple of months. I also get that I'm being a total princess-and-the-pea about this and on the whole, I'm psyched to get to dress in a way that feels like it suits me authentically, which is really on the table in a new way since my clothing options have opened up. (I'm also completely overwhelmed by that, but luckily, being a broke-@*# graduate student does enough limiting of the options that I don't have to hyperventilate.) Frankly, bringing back the Ramones shirt sounds like a totally great idea. And actually kind of a way to process feelings around size, too (sometimes I think men tend not to give themselves enough chances to do that, but I certainly don't know you well enough to say whether that describes you or not).
  11. Bless. Honestly, I'm not a master; I wish I were. I fell in love with the sport a few years ago and had to leave just as I was getting to be okay; I miss it like hell.
  12. I used to be a nationally competitive powerlifter, so when I take advice, it's from my coaches or lifting community. I've been out of training for the past couple of years trying to finish my dissertation, and now dealing with the WLS stuff—I'm sort of generally "active" right now, but hoping to be back under the bar soon. Because I've done a lot of competition training, I'm going to really, really, have to work at taking it easy until my weight has stabilized and I can start thinking about building back up again, and being nervous about that is probably why I haven't started that process yet, I think. When my weight has stabilized I'm hoping to start from wherever I end up and work towards becoming nationally competitive again at some point, even if it takes me until the Masters classes (I'm 33; Masters I starts at 40 in the USAPL).
  13. This stair-step loss thing, man, it can do a number on your head. My pattern has stabilized pretty solidly—a few days of little losses, a few days to a week and a half of no movement (the length of this phase may have some relationship to my menstrual cycle but I haven't nailed it down yet), long enough to get irritated and frustrated but also comfortable enough that when the quick losses come for two or three days, I feel disoriented. But it's not just that. It's this range I'm in right now. Today I saw a 224.6 on the scale. The last five or six pounds my gut's been doing flip-flops every time my weight goes down, looking at these numbers that don't even feel like they could be mine. Whose numbers are these? What person is this scale weighing? In twenty-five pounds I'll be under 200—I remember the last time I crossed under 200 pounds. I was 13, I think. I weighed myself in my parents' '80s-tile bathroom, and the number was under 200, and I thought As God is my witness, I'll never weigh over 200 pounds again. (Buckle up, baby girl.) I feel like I'm flashing quickly back through time based on my body size, and right now I'm 14 or 15, on the way up through my most rapid weight gain, explosive and alarming to everyone but me, because I was lost in it. And before too long I'll be thirteen again, as-God-is-my-witnessing. Who was that girl? What kind of woman will she become? I look at myself in the mirror, I try on my measurement pants. I try to make sense of what I see. My bigness. My smallness. I had a professional headshot taken yesterday courtesy of my PhD department, which is redoing its website and wants us all to have good pictures on it—put my face on, and hauled out on commuter rail, and presented myself to be photographed, and tried to pretend I wasn't dying inside of discomfort every instant at being looked at that intensely, at what he must be thinking of the difficulty of doing this particular job. "Cross your legs? Tip your chin this way. No, this way. A little more. Chin up? I'm going to make you laugh, so hold the tilt." He tried a staircase first (for the flattering angle, I assume) and then a standing background shot, and then, finally, had me hop up on a windowsill in front of a mullioned window with the university crest. That's where he got the shots he liked. He showed me the one he liked best, and I put my eyes on it for the briefest conceivable second, nodded and smiled, and got the hell out of there. It was like an anxiety fugue state, and afterwards, waiting for the train home, when I tried to picture the image, I was sure it had showed me with no jawline, my eyes uneven, my teeth yellow, my cheeks swallowing my features, my neck nonexistent. I took a selfie and there I am, whatever I look like now, for this particular split second, my face quirky and imperfect but face-shaped—there's the jawline, with the little point to the chin—and dominated, now, by the intense blue of my eyes. Groomed brows. Familiar crooked smile. Small potato nose. I look at it and it looks back, reassuring and incomprehensible. (One foot in front of the other, one day at a time.)
  14. Hi there, welcome! You sound like a really kind, thoughtful, generous human being, and it also sounds like you're taking solid steps towards your goals—really looking forward to following your writing here.
  15. I ran into my serious ex-boyfriend by chance in the subway today. He almost did a double take—and he last saw me only six weeks ago. It would take a stronger woman than I not to enjoy that. I enjoyed it. I mean, I haven't the faintest idea what it makes him think. But nevertheless. I enjoyed it. I have started to notice that people look at me more often. I'm not invisible anymore. I look up and people are looking at me, and I don't know how to interpret their looking. I locked eyes with a woman on University Place earlier today because I looked up and she was looking at me and I just didn't know what to do. I couldn't decide why she'd be looking at me. It made me feel a bit like I was wearing the wrong thing. It's easier with men, perhaps—I have a box in which to put the smile the guy who holds the door for me gives me. But it's a new kind of smile. Open, easy. I smiled back at him.