Today I found myself surfing the Obesity Help forums. I am not a very frequent poster these days but like to catch up on the happenings of my OH pals and offer support to newbies and those struggling. These forums have been great support to me through my weight loss surgery journey. I have formed strong friendships with several of my OH chat buddies.
I love the excitement and glee that first year post-op forum posters exude. Four years out, I can relate to their discovery of a new life after surgery; often a life they never imagined they would have. The best posts to me are the before and after photos. What a visible tangible piece of evidence that their body is changing.
One individual today stood out. His first before pic was at 400+ pounds. His current pic (10 months later) was at just over 200 pounds. It was an amazing transformation. He did a nice job of taking photos along his journey. They would make a wonderful wordless Wednesday blog post. The story is truly in the pictures; no words needed.
I realize that I have progressed past the before and after photo stage. I seem to post these pics on my surgiversary as a way of patting myself on the back for no longer being “that damn BIG”. It is sort of self-serving I must admit. It is natural to stop photo journalizing your journey once you reach a stable weight since there just is not much visible change to show.
Here I am in the after-the-before-and-after stage of my weight loss journey. The question is, “Is there anything after the after?” For many years the slimming images of Tom justified the risks and expense of weight loss surgery and showed a commitment to lose and keep those pounds off. These images are now replaced with a different view of before and after.
I still tell my after-story in a very visual manner. Weight loss surgery has allowed me to become a more active and confident person. My Facebook page and many of my blog posts show me as an active person. The after-Tom loves bicycling and is now dabbling in running; things the before-Tom could not even picture himself being. Life moves on and so does my before and after story. I have not forgotten my heavier years. I have just changed to focus on the right here and now.
In a book I recently finished by John “The Penguin” Bingham, a motivational speaker and runner, he spoke about this very topic. Looking back on an experience of driving on a pitch black night on a rural road, he came to the understanding that what was most important was the road ahead illuminated by his motorcycle headlight. The darkness behind and the darkness ahead were inconsequential. He had to concentrate on making the right decisions and steering the proper course based on what he could see.
Bingham’s reflection has remained with me. There is nothing to be gained by looking back or ahead into the darkness. What really mattered to him that night was living life here and now. This is the mantra for my after-the-before-and-after. I have chosen to be active and enjoy life to the fullest today. I am confident with that attitude I can take on any challenge around the next turn.