Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(22)Stranger Here by Jen Larsen

Stranger Here 

Publication Date: February 19, 2013
Pages: 256


Weight loss surgery is a huge (no pun intended) decision and an even bigger commitment.  I am not going to lie, during my moments of extreme frustration I have even thought of doing it myself. Millions of people have done it with great success, but there are some people who have not had long term success. 

Like all fat people (myself included) Author Jen Larsen thought that her life would be perfect if she were skinny. She went through with the weight loss surgery and had the duodenal switch and basically got a portion of her digestive system removed.  Her "starting weight" was 318 lbs, which is certainly big, that is no lie, but I question what did she do prior to her decision to try and lose weight.  Her research prior to the initial consultation was to read message boards.  All of the pre-surgery consultations, including psychologist, were set up in her favor by the very people who were supposed to be objective.  Despite her fears, despite her concerns, despite losing the twenty pounds the doctor recommended, despite her lack of thorough investigation Jen goes through with the surgery.  

In Stranger Here, Jen tells us her  story before and after the surgery.  She thought if she were skinny her dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend, Andy, would magically get better. She thought she would find the perfect job if she were skinny.  She didn't think that she would shit herself on her way to an interview because of her weight loss surgery and she didn't really give much thought to the fact that after the surgery her dietary habits will need to change beyond the first month of protein shakes.  She was very honest in what happened to her body after she gives into the cravings for fried chicken and it isn't pretty.  If anyone thinks that Jen Larsen is the kind of woman to glamorize weight loss surgery, you are sadly mistaken.  BUT I will say that I was a bit appalled at how easy it was for her to get approved.  By that, I mean (from what was said in the book) it appears that she did not put forth a lot of effort to lose weight on her own.  To me that is scary, there should be some sort of documentation proving effort to lose weight before allowing someone to go under the knife to permanently alter their body, but that is just my opinion. 

Bottom line, being fat is not easy.  I know this firsthand, but then again, losing weight is even harder, again, something I know firsthand.  I finished this book on the day I took 12,280 steps and did a total of one hour 34 minutes of exercise in an effort to lose weight.  Do I want to be skinny like Jen, more than anything, but I KNOW I can do it the "old fashioned way" and I am going to do it one pound at a time no matter how long it takes me.  BUT I can appreciate why Jen had the weight loss surgery and I think her story is an important one to share, as Jen proved, the surgery can be easy to get, but it is not the "easy way out" that a lot of people believe it to be.   Anyone who struggles with their weight or has contemplated WLS needs to read Stranger Here and tell me what you think!

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