I hated myself, literally. I was fortunate to be married to a man who kept telling me that I was beautiful, but unless you feel that beauty inside yourself, it does not compute. I worked from home at a desk job, so the more miserable I became about my appearance, the easier it was to sit and eat and to get fatter. It was a vicious cycle.
For most of my life I was a thin and confident woman. At age 56, I was not only overweight, but I was also aging rapidly. The medical conditions multiplied as my weight gain accelerated. My final weight, before the makeover, was 268 pounds. I had, by that time, developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, aching knees, breathing problems and a "fatty" liver. Something had to be done.
I considered my options. Losing weight on my own was not working. My weight fluctuated up and down, depending on how depressed I was on any given day. It truly was not something I could do without some help. I opted for the Lap-Band.
Surgery seemed drastic, but with laparoscopic surgery, the scars are tiny, and the recovery is faster. The Lap-Band is placed at the top of the stomach, creating a little "pouch" that cannot hold very much food. The band can be "refilled" easily through a small port beneath the skin, if it gets too loose. It was the right decision for me.
Eventually the weight began to fall off my body. I remember the day I realized all of my clothes were too big for me. For the past 10 years, I'd shopped at thrift stores because I felt there was "no need to buy nice clothes to put on my fat body." This time, I ventured out into one of my favorite dress stores, Peebles. The first shirt that I purchased that day was two sizes smaller than usual, and the thrill of that simple fact spurred me on. With each size I dropped, I was more eager to shop.
Within a few months of the surgery, I walked a little prouder, I smiled more, and I liked being around people again. However, the real test was yet to come. Would I allow my photo to be taken? I did, and I was happy to see a thinner version of myself staring back.
It encouraged me so much that the next step was a beauty makeover at a Merle Norman studio. I'd stopped wearing makeup when I started gaining weight, though it had always been something I'd enjoyed. Now my makeup is rather natural. I wear a shimmery eyeshadow, made by L.A. colors, called Radient. For mascara, I use Revlon's Lash Fantasy. I also wear Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind Cream Foundation, in porcelain ivory. Finally, I add a little color to my lips via Cover Girl's Almost Nude. If we are going out, I'll wear a darker shade of lipstick.
I got a sporty new haircut, with stylish layers. I also treated myself to an all-day spa adventure with a facial and a massage and lots of pampering. Why do we feel we are not worthy of those little pleasures when we are overweight?
That night my husband and I went out for our 12th anniversary. I stopped by his job after the makeover, and was pleased to hear his co-workers say, "Rodger, there is a beautiful lady up here to see you," and "WOW! That cannot be the same lady I met before." Some thought that I looked younger.
So far I've lost 50 pounds. I have a long way to go. The difference now is that I see success in sight. My health issues are all nearly gone and I take only one medication now instead of seven. The most significant change is the fact that I feel better about myself as a woman, and as a person. The "new me" has adjusted a mental attitude that sorely needed a makeover, too.
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