Goals, BMIs, Surgeries

When people have bariatric surgery, often they’re asked what their goal weight is. I have resisted coming up with a number for two reasons. First, because this isn’t about weight, it’s about my mobility. Second, because I’ve discovered how variable the results can be, and I don’t want to feel like a failure if I don’t meet some goal that my body just won’t achieve.

That said, I actually do need to think about weight because of this nasty never-was-supposed-to-be-a-measure-of-health number known as the BMI, or Body Mass Index. This is important to me because I will absolutely be having plastic surgery to deal with the sagging skin resulting from large weight loss . I’m not talking about a little pooch; I’m talking many FEET of skin, mostly around my belly, mons area, sides/back, and upper arms. Some surgeons won’t do plastic surgery unless your BMI is below a certain level, usually around 30. For someone who is about 5’5″ tall like me, that’s 180 pounds.

I do not think I will get to 180 pounds. My surgeon thought I would get below 200. I would be thrilled with that. But I might not be able to find a surgeon who would operate on me. This is enough of a problem that there is at FaceBook group (probably many of them) dedicated to plus-size women wanting plastic surgery, where we share info about procedures and what surgeons will do them. There are women on that list who are my size (currently at 224 pounds) and larger who have had great results from plastic surgery. My current BMI is just over 34; It was over 52 when I started this journey.

In addition to getting to a low BMI, some surgeons won’t operate after weight loss surgery until you’ve been at a stable weight for 3, 6, or even 12 months. I guess this is to make sure you won’t need more surgery later. I’m just impatient to have surgery because right now my belly is keeping me in larger sizes than the rest of me needs, and my mons area is keeping me from being able to cross my legs or ride a bicycle, something I used to love to do and want to do again. Plus my insurance may cover some of the surgery, but they also have hoops you have to go through to determine “medical necessity”. I’m not sure I’ll qualify; you need to have things like rashes, which I’ve learned how to avoid over the years, so I don’t really have them.

My other impatience has nothing to do with weight loss: I have a hernia around my belly button area that I’ve had for 20 years, but it was mostly dormant. But in the last few months I’ve had painful attacks. I’ve gotten through them, but if they continue I will need to have it repaired. However the most efficient thing to do is to have it repaired when I’m having plastic surgery on my belly anyway.

Anyway, this is all very complex, and distracting. but it’s on my mind so I figured I’d write about it.

Scale Victory

I’ve posted about a lot of non-scale victories (NSVs), but today is a scale-related victory. I am now at the same weight I was when I graduated college, almost 39 years ago. And I’m officially down 90 pounds since the start of my journey.


As an adult I went from being fat to being super fat. The difference in visibility is that while I was fat, people noticed, but it wasn’t crazy. When I became super fat, I started getting stared at, first by children, then by adults. Generally the adults looked at me with disgust, or at least disdain, in their faces. I was constantly aware of being super fat, putting up barriers to the negative emotions hurled at me and trying to brush off the stares (and occasional comments) as if they meant nothing, even though each one hurt.

I am no longer super fat, although I am still fat. I really notice the difference in how I am perceived in the world. I don’t get stared at in that in the same way. I don’t get those negatives. I am mostly just ignored. It’s such a relief to blend in. I don’t really, because I’m still fat, but the almost 90 lbs I’ve lost have made a world of difference in my stress level.

I just wish this society wasn’t so fat-hating. I wish it didn’t make so much of a difference.

The next time you notice a fat person, especially a fat woman, please smile in recognition that they are likely struggling.