March 2015 I had Gastric Bypass surgery. In the last 7 months I have lost almost 100 lbs and I have seen my body change in ways that amaze me. Of course, I knew going in that I would lose weight, that I would need to take vitamins and calcium for the rest of my life and that my relationship with food would need an overhaul. What I did not realize was how much my face would change. It feels like I don’t know the woman staring at me from the mirror.
The path that lead me to having the surgery was not started because of my looks. There is a misconception that every person that is overweight is miserable, lazy and must hate how they look. Let me clarify, I felt pretty when I was fat and I feel pretty not as fat! For me, looks were not even on the list for having the surgery. I needed to stop my weight from creeping up because I want to be as healthy as possible, I want to be able to move without pain, and it would help my preexisting conditions. My value has never hinged on how I look, I am more than something so tenuous.
As the months passed after the surgery and the weight started to come off the changes to my face became more obvious. My cheeks became smaller, there are valleys and edges where in the past there was only roundness and softness. My eyes seem larger and larger to me, they are starting to look like Japanese anime eyes and when I smile all I see is teeth!
Please do not get me wrong, I do not think that it is a bad change, it is just different. I always felt that my face reflected an integral part of my personality, I have always seen myself as the happy girl. I am always smiling, cracking jokes and my non-threating, not traditionally pretty, cherubic face reflected that. I am still the happy girl that I have always been but the angles and edges that I see do not reflect that as easily. I am afraid that I am developing resting bitch face! Oh NO!
I know that inside I am still the same person, I am still happy and strong. I still see the world from the same eyes that I always have but the person in the mirror is not familiar to me…yet. Will I change as I lose more weight and as time passes? Probably. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. I believe that change, while scary, is good and necessary. We cannot stay stagnant and every situation that forces us to look at ourselves, our situations, and our surroundings in a new way forces us to grow, which is the point.
I welcome this new face and remember my old face fondly. I loved my smile, my cheeks, my eyes before and as this face becomes more familiar I will love it too. This face represents the change that I needed to better my health and myself, in time it will be familiar. In time it will not see it as cartoonish and I will see myself again.
Let me know of any changes that surprised you during this journey in the comments below.