Living A Healthy Life – How Social Media Saved Me
A little over two years ago I began a journey toward a healthier life. I started with bariatric surgery (lap band). There were many challenges after the surgery, some related to my eating habits and some just related to being so out of shape for so long. I struggled with what to eat and how much to eat. At first things went quite smoothly…in less than two months I was down 30 lbs. I got a bit cocky about things, complacent about getting to the gym and slipping into some old habits, like stopping on the way home from work for a “small” bag of chips. I managed to keep the weight off, but was not really committed to making the changes I needed to make.
What made me change my ways? Social Media! Yup, good old Facebook and some really determined folks in the Baltimore bariatric community helped me refocus and get with the program. My trainer told me about a private group on Facebook called Maryland Area WL Support Group. Started by a group from one of the local hospitals, the group gave me two things I was really missing, a support system and friends.
One of the hardest things to deal with when you’ve had a bariatric procedure is how differently you need to eat. It’s not so much what you eat as how you eat that is different. I need to take small bites, chew them really well and take my time eating my meal. I also do not drink when I eat…so no wine with dinner :(. Oh I still have my libations, I just have them before or after eating. The members of the group understand these issues and no one sits there tapping their fingers waiting for me to finish my food. We all eat much more slowly, savoring each and every bite we take.
Beyond the group on FB, I found others to do things with. I participated in a “Couch to 5K Challenge,” started meeting people after work for drinks and weekend hikes. We organized events through the group (social media makes this so easy to do). Everything from apple picking to paint ball to taking a zip line ride were hosted by different members of FB group. Believe it or not, many of us wanted to try zip lining but were afraid to prior to our weight loss. Daily posts on the group site give encouragement, provide an outlet for boasting about victories or bemoaning challenges, and a place to ask for advice and help. Best of all, I have a social life again.
Down 84 pounds since this journey began, I still go to the gym and feel guilty if I skip a day of cardio workout. I’m now thinking about dating and talk about the dating challenges ahead. Do you tell someone you were heavy? What about all that loose skin hanging on your body? To plastic surgery or not to plastic surgery, no question here…I’m gonna get this excess skin removed as soon as I reach my target weight. Best thing about this new group of folks is that we are a group of friends, men and women, who just get it.
Is bariatric surgery for everyone, probably not. Will social media solve all my problems, I’m sure not. But with exercise, diet and a really good group of friends, actual and virtual, I can keep living a healthy life.