I have been a member of the weight loss surgery community for the past six years. I am a believer in the power of support networks. That is why I continue to attend local bariatric support group meetings and participate in online communities. This thought process extends to my work and personal life. I always put myself 110% into work efforts, social organizations and causes that are dear to my heart.
In recent months I have seen myself waning in blogging and being actively engaged in the bariatric community. I have come to that point where I am taking a long hard look at my blogging and social networking within the bariatric community. I actually feel somewhat disconnected at this point.
Searching for the root of this disconnect, I was able to distill it down three questions. Is my story and experiences relevant as a person six years out of bariatric surgery? Do I still see myself as a member of the weight loss surgery community? Is there a point in time when you move forward in life and say goodbye to the bariatric community?
Is my story and experiences relevant as a person six years out of bariatric surgery?
The bariatric community is pretty diverse, but the typical active participant ranges from the person six months pre-op through 18 months post-op. It is period with the most anticipation, when most questions arise, and during the times when the most exciting and visible results occur.
Are my experiences relevant to this audience? I had to put myself in my shoes six years ago. I definitely looked for people in similar situations and facing the same obstacles. At the same time, I was looking for that person who was a success or failure five or six years out of surgery. I am convinced we learn the most from the footsteps that people have taken before us.
I always speak of weight loss surgery as being a journey. Each of ours is different. Each of ours is similar. My journey is a story unique to myself but something I share naturally.
Do I still see myself as a member of the bariatric community?
The core point here is whether person who achieves significant weight loss is still considered a member of the bariatric community. Too much emphasis is put on the debits and credits of pounds in weight loss. Sure, the number one goal for most of us was losing the fat to be slimmer, trimmer and healthier. That is why we obsess on our weight and unfortunately use it to define ourselves as a success or failure.
My thought is that once the surgeon has done his work, you become a member of the bariatric community for life. We have altered our body in a way that requires us to be cognizant of the change and must follow guidelines for nutrition, fitness and wellbeing that keep us healthy and active through our lives.
Is there a point in time when you move forward in life and say goodbye to the bariatric community?
If you are successful in changing your life and embarking on a new life journey, is there a time when you forget the past and look forward to your new life? This has the most impact on my blogging. I find myself hiking, biking and being active. I am working hard on achieving a goal of running a half marathon this year. My time in front of my laptop is limited. I struggle to find time to create content that I personally find rewarding.
I believe that there is no timeline or guidance to say when you toss the past in the garbage and focus on the future. No matter what your experiences are in your past, they are certainly lessons, often hard lessons, which you have learned and overcome to be where you are today. Moving forward is focusing on moving ahead while knowing from where you have come.
My bottom line…
I have pigeon holed myself on this topic. Being a bariatric post-op is only one part of my story. Granted, this is an important part of my story. I cannot imagine being where I am today without the help of weight loss surgery. This part of my being is woven tightly into my self and my life.
I will always be a blogger. I enjoy writing and sharing my life experiences. That will not change. I see myself still speaking on behalf of the bariatric community. The focus is definitely evolving. I failed to see this until I looked back on my blogging over the years. I have evolved as a blogger. My current blogging centers around running, biking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors, something visibly absent six years ago.
Don’t peg me as a bariatric blogger. I hope that you see me as a blogger of my life experiences. Part of those experiences will be about being a weight loss surgery patient. Most of posts will be about me being Tom, a person on their own personal journey. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? Owning and shaping your personal corner of the Internet.