My Deadly Sin
I have a theory. It’s not ironclad nor is it 100% accurate, but in my experience, it holds true most of the time. The theory is this: everyone is a victim to at least one of the deadly sins. Since I’m not traditionally religious, I’m not taking the ramifications of the “sins” literally. In other words, I don’t think you’ll be punished in another realm for your vices, but you might suffer in the here and now.
So, what’s my sin? Greed.
Greed for food has landed me where I am today. Obesity is a dilemma in this country and I am a statistic. Thankfully, because I’m over six feet tall, because I don’t gain weight in my face, to the person passing by, I might just seem a bit heavy. However, if I were of average height and if I gained weight in the all wrong places, it would be obvious that I have a problem.
I’ve often wondered how so many people, who profess to be foodies, are seemingly in such good or decent shape. The old adage “never trust a skinny chef” comes to mind when I see thin bloggers around the globe eating to their hearts content. Anthony Bourdain? How the hell does that man do it? Have the years of cocaine and booze kept him fit? Do you skinny food lovers out there all have freakishly good metabolisms? Are you at the gym 4 hours a day? I wish I had the secret, but I don’t.
I could give you excuses if you want… I’m an asthmatic and my medication has steroids in them. I have an endocrine disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) that messes with my hormones and reproductive system and therefore adds to my weight, but none of that is the honest reason. The real reason is my deadly sin. I love food. I love to cook it, I love to serve it, and I love to eat it. That I can cook almost anything I want and cook it well, is a blessing and curse, really. It means that should a hazelnut chocolate torte not be immediately available at the local bakery or cafe, it is always available in my apartment.
When I first found out about the PCOS it was something of a death sentence for having my own children. At least, it was considered risky. I could possibly, (emphasis on possibly), get pregnant, but the chances of bringing a child to term were very slim. Also, premature birth was a risk along with a slue of other issues for both me and the child. Although deeply upsetting, I decided that I would adopt one day and save both myself and biological child from harm. When I met my husband and things became serious between us, my painful decision reared its head.
My husband urged me to see another gynecologist, get another opinion. So I did. My new doctor called the previous one a dinosaur. The idea that women with PCOS shouldn’t have kids was antiquated. Yes, I could have my own children. I would need to be healthy, take certain medications, and have children before I was 35 or 36, though. I was elated. Previously, I had been convinced that biological children weren’t in my future and suddenly I had visions of a mini-me.
When I turned 31 this past summer, though, it was time to face the fat. I had a four to five year window for kids, I was seriously obese, and the final nail in the coffin was a visit with my gynecologist. Could I get pregnant in the state I was in? I was back to that word, “possibly.” Following the possibly was, “but at the weight you’re at, the likelihood that you’ll bring the child to term is slim to none.”
And there it was. The ugly truth. I had eaten myself to such a weight that I was back at square one. “Possibly” and “miscarriage” swirled in my head. I was not where I wanted to be.
It’s not that I hadn’t tried to lose the weight, I had. I really and truly had. I joined weight watchers a year and a half before. I was more active and I had some legitimate success; success that was nothing to laugh at, actually. But the bottom line was, it wasn’t enough. Nothing I did was enough. Lap-band and weight loss surgery had been mentioned by friends and family before, but I brushed off the suggestions thinking I could do it on my own. But when that 31st birthday came, I knew deep down that I couldn’t. I needed to do something and I needed to do something soon.
I threw myself headlong into research. My husband – who was and continues to be with me every step of the way – came to every talk, lecture, and doctor visit. Once we had all the information we needed, we made a decision. We found the right procedure, the right surgeon, and the right hospital. It was not a decision we took lightly and I went back and forth about it often. But once I realized what the future held with and without the surgery, it was a no-brainer. Having surgery meant the chance at children, a long life of health, the ability to travel comfortably, to buy clothes that I truly loved… learning to tango.
I had my surgery seven weeks ago. I opted for a procedure called a “Sleeve Gastrectomy.” Basically, they removed most of the soft, balloon-like part of my stomach. What’s left is now the size and shape of a banana. I know some people might consider this drastic, possibly even dangerous, and I understand. That being said, this was right for me, for my situation, and for this time in my life. I don’t regret that decision and I doubt I will in the future, either.
I’ll spare you the incredibly boring details of my liquid, then pureed, then soft food diets, and simply say that protein shakes are my mortal enemy now. My food life from now on will have to be different. And, although different, I see no reason for it to be any less tasty. I’m no fan of substitutions. Although you may see a few here and there, for the most part what I’m determined to cook and eat is simply uncompromised delicious food. I’ll be pushing my skills, my ingredients, and re-discovering how to eat for my new life and body. I can only hope you’ll join me in this adventure because this blog is now officially part of my path toward a healthier me.