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Sex Love and Obesity Part 5

In Sex Love and Obesity Part 4 we discussed the emotional end of my marriage. How I was about to move on and how I confident that having lost all that weight I would have no problem finding happiness with someone else.

Losing weight isn’t a magic “life is great!” pill.

Shocking isn’t it? I’d spent the better part of my adult life suffering from obesity and I was 100% sure it was going to fix all my issues.

My marriage was pretty much over. Whether we were admitting it out loud of not yet, we were both exploring our options outside of the relationship on a regular basis. I guess you could say that we had decided to have an open marriage.

My father had passed away and I was struggling with dealing with the grief. In my mind I had lost the only man in the world that was ever going to unconditionally love me. Losing that unconditional love made me want romantic love even more. I wanted my happily ever after. I wanted that person in my life that I could count on to be there no matter what life brought next.

In the book about my life, the next few chapters would be called “Chasing November”

I have no idea why, but November seems to be a significant month for me regarding relationships.

In November of 2011 after a long talk with my husband, I decided to try to compensate for what I wasn’t getting out of the marriage, sex, attention, companionship, by adding a third person to our household.

So, in November of 2011 I invited an “online friend,” to come for a visit.

The first visit was wonderful. Everything about the relationship was new and exciting and perfect. We spent about 2 weeks together and I was certain that adding a second relationship to my life would make me happy. I’d get what I wanted and needed out of a relationship physically and emotionally and at the same time, my marriage could go on being what it had already been for the better part of the last 8 years. I’d continue being the submissive house slave that made sure the house was clean, the laundry was done, and all the bills were getting paid on time, and maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t resent it all so much if I had someone else that was making feel fulfilled.

I know it sounds crazy, but remember, I’d basically grown up in a BDSM related community. I’d seen these types of arrangements since I was 19 years old. To me, it made perfect sense.

In my mind adding a third person to the relationship would be a win/win situation all the way around. We’d be helping someone else get out of a living situation they wanted out of and putting a band-aid on our own problems at the same time.

All three of us were struggling financially. I was about to start a year-long process of reconstructive surgery to remove all the excess skin left after losing 260 lbs. We couldn’t afford for my husband to take time off work to be with me recovering from those surgeries. So, we decided to move someone to Oregon, put a roof over their head, and give them a chance to rebuild their life while helping me recover from my surgeries and see if there was any validity to the “Three’s Company” lifestyle.

My reconstructive surgeries happened in February, August, and then November. I blame a little of the failure of that relationship attempt on the fact that they were always taking care of me.

I blame some of it on the level of resentment that existed in the house. It created a level of tension in the house that just never faded.

I blame part of it on the fact that truthfully, it wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t really want an open marriage or an open relationship. I didn’t want to be with people who were willing to share me, my affection or attention with each other, or anyone else for that matter. It wasn’t who I was or how I was built.

I was still making compromises. I still didn’t value myself enough to stand up and say, “Hey this isn’t what I want,” because I didn’t think I was worthy enough to have what I really wanted.

But I blame most of it on the fact that we argued constantly and that somehow a combination of all of that had me in another sexless relationship.

Basically that “November Magic” never appeared again.

We fought the way my family had fought with each other when I was growing up. We fought the way my mother and I had fought with each other for most of my life.

Our arguments turned into full-blown fights that escalated to the point that they became toxic and volatile. We said cruel things to each other.

Since that magic wasn’t there, neither was the attention, affection and in my mind, the love, that I was so desperately searching for. Which just lead me right back into a feeling that I obviously don’t handle very well – resentment.

A year into the situation, I was sitting there thinking, “We pay for everything for you. You haven’t had to work for a year. You have absolutely everything you could want. We moved you and your things here, we furnished your room, we pay for all your food,” and I resented that after doing all of that for someone else, I was repaid with an argumentative and unappreciative attitude. But even more I resented that the fulfillment aspect of the relationship, the love I was seeking through physicality and sexuality wasn’t there.

Don’t get me wrong, every situation has a silver lining. There were some good moments. Looking back on it 7 years later it’s hard for me to remember what they were. We I traveled a lot. We went to conventions, we visited friends and family together. But usually, no matter what we were doing we ended up in a fight and I hadn’t learned that constant conflict like that was an issue for me.

It’s not that I enjoy fighting. I don’t. But I don’t know how to disengage from an argument. I don’t know how to stop. Once it starts I’m instantly in that self-defensive mode I learned to constantly live in during my childhood and it brings out ugly parts of me.

I do better in relationships with people who are non-confrontational. People who can have very calm and rational discussions rather than arguments. People who help keep me cool and grounded with their tone and demeanor.

These are things I didn’t know about myself yet.

A dysfunctional family, a childhood of arguing, a history of emotional, physical, sexual and verbal abuse had all lead me to Obesity. I knew that. But I didn’t realize that I used food as a way of coping with feelings that were associated with them.

I was married to someone who was non-confrontational. He never raised his voice, we never argued. Even when things got heated, we had “discussions” not “disagreements.” We had been married for going on nine years and I could count the number of “fights” we’d had on one hand. Suddenly I was in a relationship were we fought constantly, and I’d hadn’t had to deal with the kinds of emotions that brought with it in any relationship before.

But when faced with them in a new relationship I quickly found that I was at a handicap. Because when I made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery and essentially ended the relationship I had with food and my ability to use it as a coping mechanism for emotions I didn’t know how to do deal with, I didn’t really have a coping mechanism left.

I had learned how to use exercise as an emotional outlet. But I was in the middle of the reconstructive surgery processes and each surgery would leave me unable to exercise for 6-12 weeks during the recovery time. So that outlet wasn’t available to me either.

Nobody had prepared me for this. Nobody had warned me how not having food as a coping mechanism might change my ability to deal with emotions and feelings. Nobody warned me that ending my relationship with food could dramatically change how I had relationships with other people.

Nobody had prepared me for the fact that once I lost all the weight I might still find myself in relationships with people who didn’t find sex as important as I did. In my mind, once I lost all the weight and had all the reconstructive surgery to remove the skin, I’d be super attractive for the first time in my life and finding someone who wanted to have an amazing and active sex life would be easy.

Nobody warned me losing weight wasn’t a magic “life is great” pill. I was learning that lesson very quickly though, I just had no idea what to do about it.

Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 6 – Finding the “U” in Weight Loss

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Some Days I Hate That I Don’t Feel Pretty

I’m unsure as I write if I’ll post it. I try not to put too much negative self talk out into the universe anymore.

11207285_1178583082168160_5042750784111183783_nI’ve struggled with feeling “pretty” lately.

People tell me I am pretty all the time and yet, I rarely see it unless I catch a selfie at a good angle.

My weight has been bouncing around on the scale between 159 and 165 lately. That’s awesome. 165 is my maintenance weight. Every single time I get into the 150s though this instant panic sets it for me.

I’ve started to gain more muscle again. People have started to notice. They ask me if I’ve lost weight and tell me I look great. I thank them even though my heart palpitates with fear.

You might be asking why I would be afraid to lose more weight right?

For me to achieve a “normal” body weight on a BMI scale I would have to get under 150 lb. According to a BMI chart my “ideal body weight” is somewhere between 127 -156, So really I shouldn’t be afraid of losing a few more pounds. Not that I adhere to the standards of a BMI chart. I’m from the BMI Is Bullshit Club truthfully.

My ideal body weight has to be ideal for ME.  But those are the statistics. Those are the magic numbers provided to me and I really should not be afraid to be somewhere in these numbers. Yet the idea  of being anywhere in those ranges really does sort of terrify me.

I’ll tell you why.

Last night I sat on the couch and as I put my leg up to rest on something I looked down and noticed this area behind the back of my right knee. It was that area right behind that amazing calf muscle that training for and running eleven half marathons earned me. It was a patch of loose skin. Not quite the trophy I was after.

I’ve already had four major reconstructive plastic surgeries after massive weight loss. I even had two little procedures after that to try to fix my right arm. That damn little crease in it STILL drives me insane. That was the ONE thing I wanted fixed more than anything during my last round of reconstructive surgery. It didn’t work.

I look amazing compared to my before and after photos both from a weight loss perspective and from a reconstructive plastic surgery perspective.

But I still look in the mirror each day and see spots that my body hasn’t been reconstructed that bother me. Nobody else notices them, unless I point them out. Just me.

Most days I reason myself into accepting my flaws and strive to accept the perfectly imperfect me.

Some days it’s harder than others.

I hate that noticing a new area on my body that is now affected by excess skin deters me from wanting to lose anymore weight.

I hate that the terror of making anything on my body looser after putting myself in bankruptcy to get where I am today is a legitimate fear of mine.

I’m disturbed that at 5am on my day off when I could be sleeping in, this is what keeps me awake.

I’m disappointed in myself that I can’t see what others see when they look at me.

I get resentful when someone says to me “You don’t look like you weigh 165 pounds.” – I realize it’s an attempt at a compliment. But really, implying that I don’t look like I weigh as much as I do is something that I have heard my whole life. “You don’t look like you weigh 420 pounds!” – I just want to look at them and say, Gee, thanks, I’m glad I wear my weight so well.

I’m perplexed by the fact that when I see a number lower than 165 on the scale — without even realizing I am doing it — sometimes I start to self sabotage any further weight loss.

Yeah, those two pieces of pizza last night that made me feel like I was overdosing on carbohydrates and fats and sent me into a food coma is a good example.

Yes, even I make some really bad food decisions when my head isn’t in the game.

I’d consult with a plastic surgeon about getting the areas of my body I am still not happy with fixed if I didn’t know that the price tag on doing so would be way beyond anything I will ever be able to afford again. True story.

I detest the fact that when it comes to our own mental well-being after weight loss surgery, everything is considered cosmetic and has a five digit price tag attached to it.

But most of all, I just hate that I don’t feel pretty.

I wish I had some magic mirror that showed me what everyone sees when they look at me rather than what I perceive as my own reflection. I’d make a million dollars and be able to afford all the reconstructive surgery I wanted if I found a way to make that product.

Sometimes I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself that this too shall pass.

Some days I just have to take a few of those positive emotion moments that I have stored in my emotional savings account, withdraw them and remind myself of all the things I am proud of.

Sometimes I have to think of all the things that make me feel good and tell myself that it’s okay.

Some days I just need to work on that positive self talk with a little more determination than normal, remind myself that my feelings are valid and that the long list of things about myself that I am proud of make me beautiful on the inside and that is all that really matters.

My father used to tell me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s awesome, I wish I had the beholder’s eyes.

But since I don’t have their eyes or a magic mirror that reflects what everyone else sees back to me, I’m just going to have to go back to sleep and hope that when I wake up my head  is in a better place than it did at 5am this morning.

Maybe I’ll do something crazy and sleep well into the afternoon, waste the entire day away and then get up and spend a little “me time” by taking a bubble bath and reading a book. Maybe I’ll take a bike ride to the gym and spend a little time sweating in the sauna.

Whatever I do with my Sunday off, it’s going to be something that makes me feel good so that I can attempt to wash this negativity off my skin. I just don’t like the smell of it, it’s far from my signature scent of positivity.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies, a Motivational Speaker and Exercise Instructor at a women’s only fitness facility in Wilmington North Carolina.

 

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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