Social Networking


Getting Involved in the Bariatric Surgery Community

So I am unfortunately one of those people who takes on far much than they can handle on their own, and often times end up with so many things I want to do that there is no possible way to do them all and then I get frustrated that I can’t do it all.

Since I have joined, or I guess I should say emerged (I joined over two years ago, I was just sort of quiet until now!) in the Bariatric Community online, I have been astounded by the involvement and support of the women involved. I’ve had the unpleasant experience of being involved in some very big online communities. I’ve been involved in some pretty weird one’s too because, well, I’m a freak. I don’t hide that I’m a freak. But I’ve been participating in online communities since about the time that AOL came out and the internet started booming.

At first I hung out in Hacker channels on IRC and ended up spending time with a bunch of people that ended up teaching me about computers. Of course when I got a cease and desist letter from AOL saying they would press charges against me if I kept hacking AOL accounts I decided that probably wasn’t the best route for me and moved on.  The last big online community that I participated in ended up leading me to one of the most important people in my world, by Soul Sister Debby, her husband Colin, my godson Alex, and my soon to be little niece Abby.  Though I always meet someone amazing, if I am being honest, in my experiences in the past when you get a bunch of women together sooner or later the cattiness and the claws come out and someone gets nasty. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE – That I have not seen that sort of behavior in the Gastric Bypass community. Or Maybe I am just not seeing it on the same level that I’ve seen it before. There are a lot of people out there that get judgmental about how you live by the rules after gastric bypass. I honestly tend not to pay too much attention to those folks. Overall though, this community is far more accepting than any other I have ever been in and I absolutely love that.

As I get more involved with this community … I get more and more involved with this community! Yes I know, redundant, but seriously it’s like I can’t stop myself. And the more involved I get the more I want to bring to this community. Like I seriously sit here at night with visions of Bariatric Friendly Fashion Shows, Beauty Pageants, I just have all these ideas, there are so many things that I feel your typical Bariatric Surgery Patient has missed out on and I’d love to find a way to give it to them.

There was a conversation going on the Bariatric Bad Girls Club BBGC Page that really got the wheels in my head turning. Several of the women were participating on a thread cheering on a woman and her husband trying to conceive (Cheering on the efforts, I’m not saying there was like a big group watching and cheering, in case there is ANY confusion.) I started joking about how we should have an organized dance to help them, you know think African mating ritual from “Can’t Buy Me Love”(1987) – and someone else was like “We could have a Ball.” Suddenly my head goes WOW – A Ball, like a big costume party Masquerade Ball, a Bariatric Ball! An occasion to get dressed up in serious formal attire; how many of us have gotten do that as adults? The last time I wore a dress like that was at my Senior Prom and I didn’t look nearly as good in it as I would now! These ideas run through my brain on rapid fire. Balls, Benefits, Events, I can’t stop, it’s like these things are running through my head a mile a minute and I don’t know where to start, where to begin or where to even tackle some of the things I want to do for this community or where to start, I just know that I’m not going to stop until I make some of these things happen.

I took the day off the Internet yesterday to get some things I wanted to get done before I leave for Dallas and Oakland. A fish truck turning over on the freeway slowed my morning down dramatically but all in all it was a lovely day, I got to drive around with the sunroof open in Oregon in October. That is kind of amazing.  I saw the dermatologist, got my hair cut again after spending a week wishing it was shorter. Then I went and had a super yummy lunch, got a 2 hour massage at Massage Envy, when and got a manicure and an eyebrow wax. Picked up the business cards I had done to take with to pass out my contact information to people and then I came home, got Manny and HJ, went and got the stud that has been driving me nuts in my nose fixed (HOPEFULLY) returned something I needed to get taken care of by tomorrow, and pretty much cleared my schedule so that there is nothing I really have to do outside of the house before I leave. That’s good since I have a weekend to left to gram about 120 hours worth of work into before I go.

I got another response from Chris Powell yesterday. It wasn’t a super long letter or anything. But I send him a little not updating him on what had been going on with me since I had written him last month and asking if he had any suggestions on which certification I should get. I just can’t decide right now if I want to go ACE or ISSA – so I took a change and wrote Chris Powell another note. And he responded to me again! This man amazes me. HJ said to me yesterday – “You do know that he could very well just hire someone to maintain his Facebook Page.” HJ can sometimes be Princess Pessimistic and Nancy Negativity, I’m convinced that it is Chris Powell answering me and him telling me that he is proud of me, has filled a big void that was there because my Father couldn’t  I need to hang on to that, no matter what anyone else says about it. I believe Chris Powell things I am amazing and that he is proud of me and it’s helped me find a way to be okay with the fact that I can never hear my Dad say he is proud of me. That’s a big deal for me.  Anyways when it comes to the Certification, Chris Powell told me either works and to choose the one I am the most comfortable with. I just don’t know which one that is. I am REALLY struggling with this choice. I’m actually hoping I might find some insight into this decision at the OAC Convention when I get a chance to talk to some of the professionals there.

Of course I am not ashamed to plug myself either. So if anyone from the ISSA or ACE is reading this and you guys want to you know… sponsor me and help make my decision easier you I could probably be persuaded.

Speaking of Sponsors, I have a meeting with a prospective Sponsor tomorrow afternoon here in Wilsonville. I don’t like giving out details until I know something solid that I can share with certainty, but what I do know is that she is with a running shoe company here in Portland and it might be an opportunity for me to pick up a Sponsor that would help me put together some of the 5K, 10K and Half Marathons I want to start hosting. The end goal once I get my business as a Personal Trainer going is to hold one or two big run/walk events a year that focus on fundraising for other people in the Bariatric Community. I want to help people whose insurance won’t pay for Bariatric Surgery or Skin Removal surgery gets the surgeries they need. Then I want to do one event that focuses on fundraising and helping people who are pursuing something after their weight loss. That is a big part that I am really passionate about because it’s the part where I feel I’ve gotten the least amount of help and support.

People that successfully lose this much weight, their lives change so dramatically, I know for me it sent me in a completely different direction for where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing and I really want to be someone that not only helps people lose weight and achieve their goals, but helps them with their goals afterwards as well. I know right now one of the things I struggle with the most is that I don’t feel a lot of support from the people around me as I make this life changing career move. I feel like I have my little threesome of – Ashli, Heather and Tora, but other than that, there are not many people in my world that are standing on the sidelines rooting me on and telling me I can do this right now and that just drives me to be that person more for other people.

Alright, coffee cup is empty, my 2 hours of quiet time this morning is done and I’m thinking with as beautiful as this October day in Oregon is, that I just need to get out and do a little exercise. I also need to record the next DSS episode so I can work on editing this weekend and have it up before I leave for Dallas.

Today and Tomorrow are the last days to enter my Surgiversary Giveaway, so don’t forget to do that, I’ll be announcing the winner on Saturday!

Twitter #PleasePickMe to Help an X-“Fat Girl” Get Noticed


I am that girl who never wins anything.

I’m not saying this in an emotional, whinny sort of way either, I am just being honest here, after all I’m about to ask you all for help, so honesty is the best policy.

Alright my Weight Loss friends, here’s the scoop, brutal honesty.

I hate my job. I’ve wanted a new career for about 5 years and really when you weight 420 lbs you’re not exactly the most employable person out there, so I stuck with what I knew and what got my Family through. About a year ago now I started playing with the idea of becoming a personal trainer. At first it was just some fleeting thought, what if I could do that?  That would be cool… But as I got farther and farther into my own weight loss journey, my desire to help others on theirs just kept growing and pretty soon I just knew it was what I had to do. For me and for the people I want to help. When I made this decision almost a year ago, it all seemed overwhelming and I didn’t think that it was even remotely possible. (Read: Crossing Bridges from Dec. 2011) I made a new year’s resolution to tackle 4 HUGE things I would need to accomplish to get this done. As of today, I can say with 99.9% certainty that I have achieved all of those and will have each one marked off my list by the start of 2013.

  • Reconstructive Plastic Surgery – I’ve done 2 of 4 surgeries, the next will be done before the end of the year and the last is just touch-up stuff which will be done in early 2013.
  • A Reliable Car – My car blew up, I bought a new one, bought one specifically to use for my new business venture.
  • ISSA Certification – I’ve not decided for sure if I will go for the ISSA or the ACE but as of 10/15 I have the Money (Thanks to Tora, Colin, Tom and a Savings Bond I won in the 8th grade) and I will be purchasing my certification course as soon as I am ready to start studying when I get home from my skin removal surgery in December.
  • The Equipment – My friends and I launched an IndieGoGo Fundraiser to try to help me raise the funds to start my own business, the fundraiser runs through the end of 2012 and hasn’t done very well at all, but our efforts in doing that did get me my first Sponsor, Northwest Fitness who are donating as much of the Fitness Equipment as they can to my business. Jeff, our contact at Northwest Fitness has been amazing and told us he is pretty sure he can get me everything I need at little or no cost to us.

These were huge goals to take on accomplishing in a year. But I did it. And as I did it, my dream changed. Suddenly I didn’t JUST want to be a Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Motivation Specialist … I mean I do, but I want to do it on even a bigger scale! Suddenly as I got closer and closer to my goal weight, the passion, desire and drive to pursue this just started burning even brighter in me. Before I knew it I was getting more into my blog, social media writing letters to people like Chris Powell and when I actually got a response from him it just made my dream even bigger. (Read: A Letter to Chris Powell)

I started thinking about the things I had dreamed about being when I was a kid. For a while I wanted to be an Actress, then a Talk Show Host, then a Journalist, then a writer. Suddenly I realized that I still dreamed about a lot of those things. The chances of them ever happening and me actually getting noticed enough to do something like that is really slim though.

And suddenly another opportunity presented itself…. I found out about CBS and a new reality show called The Job – CBS describes the show on their website:

From reality show masters Michael Davies (“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” “Watch What Happens Live”) and Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice”) comes a new reality series, THE JOB, where every week talented candidates are chosen from across the country for a chance to win their dream job at one of America’s most prestigious companies.

Host Lisa Ling guides participants through several rounds of challenges as they compete for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to land the job of their dreams.

So I decided to apply and ask them to give me a shot to win my dream job. I told them my dream job is to have my own Weight Loss Show like Chris Powell … I told them I want to be an Icon in the Weight Loss community.

CBS is the only big network to NOT have a Weight Loss oriented Show and I think it’s time to change that!

But I’m one of those people who enters contests and never wins; that writes letters that never get answered. I always believed before that it was because I was big, big people tend to become invisible to the world as ironic as that is.  For those of you that were overweight as kids you might recall the horror of standing there while teams were picked for some sports game in PE. If you were anything like me you probably wanted to crawl under the nearest rock. All you could think was please don’t pick me last. You just wanted someone to like you, to be your friend, to want you on their team. “Please Pick Me” reverberated through your head. That’s how I feel right now! I don’t want to be overlooked, picked last or end up sitting this one out because of uneven teams! So I am on a mission to make sure that I get noticed here and that I’ve made sure CBS and the Casting Team of The Job has seen me and knows how bad I want this!

Mission #PleasePickMe: Yup that’s right, I’m not that scared “Fat Girl” anymore that is afraid to get noticed or scream to loud and make a spectacle of herself. In fact, I will gladly make a spectacle of myself over and over if it means that I can pursue my dreams of building a new career in a field I love and helping people who I feel especially connected to.  So every day I will be Tweeting using #PleasePickMe trying to get CBS and The Job Casters to pick me for their show and I really hope you will join me. Not just in my mission to get noticed, but in yours as well. Use #PleasePickMe to help you meet your goals and get noticed too. Is this me trying to start a Trend? Is that what this is called? I don’t even know, what I do know is that this is my dream right now, this is something I have to chase, and I’d really appreciate your help. So if you’re feeling like helping that ex-fat girl get noticed, tweet with me, re-tweet for me, and share your own dreams and goals with me using #PleasePickMe

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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