A New Journey


Nov 23, 2011 by

1 Step

Thanksgiving, what to post for Thanksgiving?  It’s a holiday that I have a love/hate relationship with.  You see, I love to eat.  I love all the wonderful food prepared for the traditional feast.  Root veggies, roasted to perfection, homemade breads and pies, all sorts of yummy treats to delight the pallet.  I love to cook and share what I prepare with friends and family.  But I’m now in what they call the morbidly obese category.  Thanksgiving is coming and I’m in the process of preparing for a major life change, bariatric surgery.  This scares the b-Jesus out of me.

They say each journey begins with just one step.  With some trepidation I’m going to take the step to gain back my life through bariatric surgery.  It has taken me years to reach this point.  I hesitated for practical and impractical reasons.  Until a year ago, I did not have health insurance.  The prospect of going further into debt was just too overwhelming.  On top of that, I kept (and still keep) feeling that I’ve somehow failed by not being able to successfully loose and keep weight off myself.

I’ve tried it all, Weight Watchers (many times), Optifast, Nutrisystems, Jenny Craig, counting calories, the grapefruit diet, the eat all you want of one food diet – a great idea, but I chose to eat only whipped cream, I lost weight but got really sick.  I’ve been on South Beach, Atkins, and the Zone System but each time I’d lose weight, I would gain it back again.

Besides being an artist, I consider myself a scientist and the pragmatic scientist in me said, “Deb, it’s an energy equation….take in less fuel (food) and expend more energy (exercise) and the weight will come off.  This may be true in the strictest sense of mathematics, but in reality there are temptations, plateaus, and LIFE that get in the way of maintaining a single-minded focus on diet and exercise, at least for me.  And again there is the niggling feeling of failure of not being able to do it “on my own.”

I’ve always been physically active.  I climbed mountains, kayaked rivers and oceans, hiked, camped, biked and played tennis.  I used to swim close to a mile every day, weekends were spent hiking along the Appalachian Trail or going on long bike rides, and winter was the best, with snow shoeing and cross-country or downhill skiing.  I was heavy, but I was physically fit.

Then life got in the way.  For four years I took care of my mother as she wrestled with Louise Bodies Disease.  As easily as you develop a habit you lose that momentum.  Mom’s passing posed a host of additional issues and it’s taken me these past 4 years to “get on the bus!”

It’s so easy to put things off for another day.  Support is so vital to success and writing about this journey will help me push aside the feelings of failure holding me down for so long.  atsGf gives me a strong community of women to turn to for support and encouragement.

So this is step one, letting people know what I’m doing and owning my journey.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my trip toward transformation.  As for Thanksgiving, I’m going to focus on the Raven’s game and use a smaller plate.  I’ll probably still “fall off the wagon,” but I can always go out for a walk.

New tradition:  Thanksgiving will actually be about giving thanks and not about eating!  Now that’s a novel thought.

About the Author

Debra Pearlman Has Written 23 Articles For Us!

I own my production company, Peal Productions LLC. I now make my living as a documentary filmmaker who specializes in natural history and wildlife. I get to travel and experience amazing things, but I also know how hard it is to be a woman of a certain age, trying to make a living. I expanded my production company to include work in digital media, social media, and website design. This combines my photography/graphic arts/environmental science degrees and keeps me employed.
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  1. Go for it, Debra! You deserve a body that matches your inner beauty and strength! Looking forward to seeing “less” of you (literally!) the next time you come to upstate NY, and I’ll follow your journey!
    – SerenaK

  2. How delightfully frank. I am completely supportive of your life’s journey, Debra — wherever it takes you. I hope this portion of it is as easy as can be expected — understanding, of course, that it isn’t something to be taken lightly (if you’ll pardon the pun). Good luck!

  3. Eileen Lussier

    I totally commend you for what you are about to do — the bariatric surgery. My nephew had that done and so did another friend of mine. However, my nephew has packed pounds back on due to his not complying with the “rules” that he must follow for the rest of his life. Therefore, he has gained back some weight and had some medical problems due to his non-compliance. Post surgery and the rest of your life will have limitations insofar as food, but I think you are ready to do this. Thank you for sharing your plans for this surgery, and please know that I am ALWAYS here for you. Call or email me anytime — and I do mean this! You have my full support. Love ya, Eileen

    • Debra Pearlman

      Thanks Eileen. You’ve been a great support and inspiration to me

      • Eileen Lussier

        Please know, Debra, that I will always give you support in this and other challenges you may ever face. That’s what friends do for each other. We don’t judge; we don’t wonder why things may be harder for you than for others; we don’t make light of your struggles and we don’t look at these struggles as weaknesses (they are STRUGGLES); we are your cheerleaders; we are your shoulders when you need an extra pair. In a nutshell, friends are here for you to rely on and turn to, so bring it on… Let us all know when the Big Day (surgery) will be. You will be in my thoughts and, as always, I wish you well, I wish you success, and I wish you happiness. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Eileen

        • Debra Pearlman


          You’ve been there for me through HS, my mom’s illness and now this. I could not ask for a better friend. Thanks for your support. Surgery won’t be until sometime in April, but I’ll keep you posted.
          xoxo, Debra


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