It’s not about a number.

I'm not a shopper. Since I work from home, I rarely get new clothes.

The other day I noticed that New York + Co had a 50% off everything sale and went in. The saleswoman said to me, "You look like you'd rather be anywhere but here." 

I told her that I am not fan of clothes shopping, and she called me "Cute," and "Small." 

Small. Snort.

I laughed, and realized soon why I have so much dismay for clothes shopping. THE FITTING ROOM. THE LIGHTS.

THE VARICOSE VEINS. I have the legs of an 80 year old woman.

It's not about SIZES or the number on my scale, because I am nearly to my lowest weight.  I reached my lowest weight just after one year post op, I hit 149 pounds for one day and regained immediately.  

I am 156 pounds today.  

I still don't like the melted candle puddle of skin that I have — nine years later. Full honesty, I am FINE with it once I am wearing appropriate undergarments and everything is in it's place, but even in a size 8P (I also bought a pair of 6P) – sometimes you feel like a puddle of flesh.

It's not about a number.

Ricki Lake – Bargain shopping for plastic surgery – Addicted To Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery gone awry – to save a buck.  By the way – this isn't just something that happens with cheap plastics – more on THAT later – I promise.  

Excess skin is always fun.

This video about my upper-arm excess skin is from more than three years ago, but it made me laugh out loud this morning with Tristan who is now more than six years old and finds her "baby-self" quite adorable.  I am now nearly nine-years post gastric bypass, and I never had any plastic surgery to reconstruct my skin.  It still looks awful.  Someday, I will!  I know I started the original "Melting Mama" blog to save money to have a tummy tuck back in 2005.  That, um, never happened.  

Body dysmorphia


Body dysmorphia
David B. Sarwer, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as well as Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. He received his B.A. in 1990 from Tulane University, his M.A. in 1992 from Loyola University Chicago and his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1995 from Loyola University Chicago.

Clinically, Dr. Sarwer is the Director of the Stunkard Weight Management Program and is actively involved in the Bariatric Surgery Program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts behavioral/psychological evaluations of patients prior to surgery. He also treats individuals with eating or other psychological concerns after bariatric surgery. Dr. Sarwer provides psychotherapeutic treatment to persons who have body dysmorphic disorder or other appearance concerns –

Dr. Sarwer needs to immerse himself in our WLS community forever thankyouplease, or not, because we have the BODY DYSEVERYTHING –

Man on scale

Because, this? No.

Here are some question and answers via Jean Fain L.I.C.S.W,, M.S. on Huffington Post – they are AMAZING little chunks of AMAZING –  


Body Image Researcher David Sarwer Debunks Hollywood Myths http://huff.to/RHjGnH 

Myth 1: The fatter you are, the worse your body image.

Q. People assume that weight gain and bad body image go hand in hand, and yet, that assumption doesn't reflect the truth. What's the truth about weight gain and body image?

A. There's typically very little relationship between someone's objective appearance and their subjective body image. Individuals who are the most objectively attractive will sometimes have very negative body images, and individuals who are less attractive will sometimes show relatively little body image distress. [That said,] as the American population has gotten heavier, we are perhaps a little more accepting of full-figured body presentations in public. Ten to 15 years ago when we talked about the body image of overweight individuals, the focus was: "Isn't it unfortunate that people who are overweight feel like they need to camouflage their appearance in big, baggy clothing." Now, the discussion has gone 180 degrees in the other direction: "Why are overweight individuals wearing inappropriately form-fitting and revealing clothing?"

Myth 2: Losing weight is the best way to boost body image.

Q. You've written that weight reduction is the most popular form of body image therapy. But is it the best way to boost body image? What do you have to say about that?

A. A number of studies have shown that as individuals lose weight, even very modest amounts of weight, they show improvements in body image. At the same time, a lot of people after weight loss, including the more dramatic weight loss we see with bariatric surgery, still have a good degree of residual body dissatisfaction. There are limitations to how much weight you can physically lose. Perhaps the best way to address this [residual] dissatisfaction is learning how to think and behave differently. 

Myth 3: Gastric bypass surgery cures body image woes.

Q. Clearly, bariatric surgery decreases weight-related health problems, but what about body-image woes? Is it reasonable to expect gastric bypass, among other surgical weight-loss procedures, to boost body image?

A. With all bariatric surgery procedures (gastric bypass, the sleeve, the banding procedure), the average weight loss is somewhere between 25 and 35 percent of an individual's initial body weight. Individuals typically reach those weight losses within the first 18 to 24 months after of surgery. With those weight losses, there are typically significant improvements in things like diabeteshypertension and heart disease within the first year or two after surgery. But before patients reach the largest percentage of weight loss, they report significant improvements in body image. As patients are losing weight within the first three to six months after surgery, they report significant improvements in body image. The caveat: after they've lost weight, some patients complain about the loose, hanging skin. That's probably a big reason why more than 50,000 Americans every year turn to plastic surgery after massive weight loss.

Tummy Tuck Massive Weight Loss
Myth 4: Liposuction, tummy tucks and other shape-altering surgeries transform body image.

Q. The hope is that liposuction, tummy tucks and other shape-altering surgeries will transform body image, but is this hope well-founded? Do these popular procedures actually boost body image, or do they leave people feeling just as bad, if not worse?

A. After cosmetic surgical procedures, patients do experience improvements in body image.[1] The primary catalyst for a cosmetic procedure is dissatisfaction with a part of their appearance — with their nose in the case of rhinoplasty, their love handles in the case of liposuction, or their breasts in the case of breast augmentation. After surgery, the vast majority report improvements in their physical appearance and their body image. In some cases, however, patients may be dissatisfied because of complications or scarring. In other cases, it may be they had unrealistic expectations about what the surgery was going to do. Somewhere between 5 and 15 percent of patients suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. They're preoccupied with a relatively slight defect in their appearance. Those patients typically don't report improvements in their body image after undergoing cosmetic surgery.

Myth 5: Breast implants boost body image.

Q. One of the most surprising things I've learned from your writing is that there's an increased suicide risk among women who get breast implants for cosmetic purposes. I know you're not saying the surgery causes suicide, but what have you concluded about body image and breast implants?

A. Seven studies throughout the world have shown an increased rate of suicide two to three times greater among women who have undergone cosmetic breast augmentation. (These studies were looking at women who get breast implants for cosmetic purposes, not for cancer.) The reasons are not particularly well-articulated, but it's likely that these women have preexisting [mental illness] that is not picked up by the plastic surgeon or not even recognized by the patient herself. One of the strongest predictors of a subsequent suicide is a history of psychiatric hospitalization. These women already have a history of significant mental illness that is returning some time within years after the cosmetic procedure.

Jean Fain is a Harvard Medical School-affiliated psychotherapist specializing in eating issues, and the author of "The Self-Compassion Diet." For more information, see www.jeanfain.com.




I Have The Regain.

I have a case of the regain.   Oh noes.  I have been clear about it, and I do not hide the fact that I have regained weight and I do not hide from the camera.  Evidence: Facebook. That said, I don't make a big deal about the number I see on the scale, because I do not allow the number to define me.  I am very much over allowing a NUMBER tell me WHO I am and HOW I am going to feel on any given day — and I rarely weigh myself.  Several months ago, I was started on a new anti-epilepsy medication that often causes weight gain and it did, and my weight slowly crept up to That Place Where I Freak The Eff Out. Since then, it's come back down to a reasonable place to where I can manage it, and I am within ten pounds of my low-normal-average. But here is the weird thing – it's SO VERY OBVIOUS.


One year ago – I hit a low in the summer July/August of 2011. I had life drama and things went awry for a while.  I might have dropped a bit lower – this photo was taken in early September 2011 - 


This past weekend, at 174 lbs. 


 I actually saw a few pounds higher many weeks ago and NO NO NO NO NO this will NOT HAPPEN and put the kabosh on some bad habits - 

"Hey, let's have one two three pieces of toast with gallons of butter on it?!  WHO DOES THAT?!"    

Obviously, Beth does.  "OMG, say it isn't so!"  It is.  It can be.  I am pushing nine years post op, and three or even four pieces of 35 calorie bread breaks down to nada ounces in your pouch — and really — is nothing.  So.  Hushyomoufabouteatingtoomuch.


Screen Shot 2012-09-25 at 6.22.54 PMI stopped that bullshit.  

Because I am smart enough to know better because I refuse to purchase size 14W, mmkay?  

I know better.  I have demons, they appear in the form of buttery carbs, hence they Do Not Belong In My Area.

I am already down several pounds, but, I am still remaining apathetic about it because the pounds do not define me, I DO.

The reason I mention it at all — the regain — is that someone else asked me how much I had gained since I saw them last!  I was taken aback a bit, considering I thought I was pretty damn upfront about my size, and I did not realize I had been … watched so closely.  

I suppose I expect a certain amount of it — considering that I blog about weight loss surgery, I expect that there is a certain subsection of people waiting for long-termers like me to Fail, Publicly and Like a Trainwreck.  But, I also have complex issues making my long-term-WLS-life more sticky than they might like to read about — which is why I rarely write about MYSELF AT ALL.

Because it scares people.

Screen Shot 2012-09-25 at 6.52.44 PM

I did not really respond to the well-meaning-regain-question-asker with anything other than, "Well, I am taking a lot of neuro meds."  True.  I am up to a couple thousand milligrams of AEDs a day, and in pre-operative testing for brain surgery.

This person said that she noted that I was noticeably bigger than the last time she saw me, and she assumed from a purely medical standpoint (she meant no harm…) that I simply must be taking medication to cause gain, that it was not something I was doing — like — toast eating.  It's the truth, so it really did not bother me since I was already aware, you know?  I live in this body, I know when I can't zip up my OWN PANTS!  

In the big picture — it's still only ten pounds.  Ten apathetic pounds.  

Oh. Yes. She. Did.

Hold the Press Releases, Suz!  

How do you go from not paying your taxes, failure to ship orders since 2011, closing your store, foreclosure, shutting down all communication to… THIS?

the real skinny

Casting for The Real Skinny – TLC


the real skinny
THE REAL SKINNY  Casting Call –
Has your weight-loss journey lead to excess skin?  (Um.  Yes.)

Do you find it affecting your activity, work, and relationships?  (We aren't discussing it.)

If you've experienced extreme weight loss, have consulted and selected a doctor for reconstructive surgery, and would like to be considered for our program, please send us a short description of your experience and the impact it has on your daily life to info@therealskinnycasting.com
Please make sure to include your name, age, city of residence, a before and after photo, and a phone number or email where you can be reached for further questions.
I've asked if the "consulted and selected" a surgeon bit is required, because I imagine many of us do NOT have a surgeon prepared — since plastics are out of reach to begin with.  I'll let you know if I hear anything.


Dr. Lored Borud resigns his medical license

My husband's plastic surgeon (and mother in law… whom has a million photographs of her broken plastics in his book…) has given up his medical license.  I didn't catch this article when it was published in December 2011 — it just popped up as I noticed a bump in Google Searches for his name coming to my blog.  The posts aren't easy to find, it's a long trail of stories.  


Dr. Loren J. Borud, a plastic surgeon, and Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal, cqan internist, resigned their medical licenses today, said the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. Resignation is a disciplinary action.

The board had previously suspended Borud’s license after he allegedly performed two operations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in June 2008 while impaired and appeared to fall asleep during a patient’s liposuction.  One of the patients, Michael K. Hicks of Quincy, eventually sued Borud, saying he suffered pain and complications after liposuction surgery and repair of a scar on his chest.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                        

 Wednesday, December 21, 2011                                                                       


WAKEFIELD: At its meeting today the state Board of Registration in Medicine took disciplinary action against the medical licenses of Loren J. Borud, M.D. and Abdul Cader Asmal, M.D. 

In both cases the Board accepted the resignations of the medical licenses of Dr. Borud and Dr. Asmal.

Resignation is a disciplinary action that permanently removes a physician from practice.

Dr. Borud is a 1990 graduate of Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in Plastic Surgery and Surgery, and has been licensed in Massachusetts since 2000.

 Dr. Asmal is a 1963 graduate of the University of London Faculty of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been licensed in Massachusetts since 1981.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine licenses more than 40,000 physicians, osteopaths and acupuncturists. The Board was created in 1894 to protect the public health and safety by setting standards for the practice of medicine and ensuring that doctors who practice in the Commonwealth are appropriately qualified and competent. The Board investigates complaints, holds hearings and determines sanctions. More information is available at www.mass.gov/massmedboard.





How far would you go for plastic surgery?


How far would you go for plastic surgery?  Would you sell your house and use the profits for plastic surgery? Um.  I'd totally Vanna White a sign, wearing bodyshapers, holding my skin in?  LOL.

Think about it for a minute.  Have you already had your weight loss surgery — and been living in your excess skin a while?  A long while?  Part of the reason I started writing about my journey in the dark ages, was in a meager attempt to earn money towards plastic surgery.  Honest. 

In 2005 I visited a plastic surgeon, and was given an "estimate" for the whole enchilada.  For  breast, arms, full lower body…


I knew that there was no way I would get insurance coverage for parts or all of the procedures.  Fast forward a little while, a bariatric/general surgeon offered to do a basic panniculectomy for me, for a Cash Price of $3000 if I could go ahead and get it scheduled, couldyougoaheadandgetitscheduledplease

No.  I didn't want that, nor did I have the cash set aside to do such a thing.  I knew that I'd be financing my ass.  Literally.  I sort of gave up on the idea for a while, and when I was ready again to start the process, my body said "No."  I actually GOT insurance coverage for a panniculectomy, and was visiting my plastic surgeon pre-operatively in January 2008 and ironically had a grand mal seizure in his office.  I woke up in his hospital's Neurology Unit looking for my tummy tuck and "new boobs."  It didn't exactly get done.

Since then, plastics have been out of the equation, since my brain has been more important.  I do wonder if I will follow through with the procedures someday.  But still, it's the price-tag.

$50,000 give or take.  Even if I break it down into several operations (necessity) I can't afford to finance my ass.  I am basically credit-free.  I live cash-only, and the only credit I have it what goes into my Paypal account, so it's pre-paid money.

Would I sell MY house for plastics?  Um.  Heck, if there were enough equity IN the house to squeeze out an extra $50,000 for lifting, tightening and squeezing the skin I've been in for seven years?  Yes, but the hell if I didn't feel guilt, and I would probably back out, and consider that money better used in fifty other ways.

It's not an option right now, but I would give it thought.  But, if it meant putting my family of six into a mobile home (like in the below article) no.  My skin can wait.   We have bigger things to deal with right now (And having felt what it's like squishing six of us into this apartment, uh, no…) my skin is not THAT big of a deal.  I have lived seven and a half years since weight loss surgery in this body, I'll live.  I'm not that big.  There are thousands of women who have much bigger skin issues to deal with, and I am grateful that I only lost 170 pounds, if that makes sense. 

From HuffPo – Via DailyMail.co.uk. –

Probably not as far as Jayne Fenney. The Daily Mail reports today that a UK woman, dissatisfied with her figure, sold her home to pay for her $47,700 surgery.

Ironically, the procedures were not weight loss procedures — in fact, Fenney had already lost about 150 pounds on her own. But the dramatic drop left her with excess skin and a sagging upper body in need of a serious lift.

A $47,700 lift, it turns out. Fenney signed herself up for a a "full body lift," an armlift, a breast lift and a thigh lift, which added up to nearly $50K.

So Fenney sold her three-bedroom house plus her TV, her dryer and her bed to fund the surgery extravaganza.

She now lives in a mobile home, but told the Daily Mail, "Feeling great is worth ten houses." And her body does look drastically different, as you can see in photos published by the Mail.