The background: my mom’s side of the family (or most of them–long story) meets once a month for a family dinner. We take turns choosing the restaurant and then have this big contest where we vote for the Best and Worst restaurant pick. There are prizes, we engage in lobbying, and it’s serious bid’ness. We take this very seriously, but all in the name of fun (if that makes sense).

The anxiety: last night was my first time attending a Burke Family Dinner (BFD as we love to call them) or seeing any of those family members since my sister’s wedding in December. They all know I had surgery, but of course I worried about being pelted with questions (especially the dreaded HOW MUCH HAVE YOU LOST? which I LOATHE), being watched while I eat, being “sized up”, and generally disappointing everyone since I’m still, you know, rather ample.

The outcome: I realized, once again, for the millionth time, that family (at least this part) is SAFE. Nobody asked how much weight I’d lost, but everyone said I looked great. One person hollered down the table (we always have about 20 people) to see what I was ordering (chicken lettuce wraps), but I didn’t feel like I was under observation. Some time near dessert, my Uncle Lee came and crouched down next to me just to see how I was doing. We talked about my motorcycle and Lee’s plans to open a business. This isn’t a talkative uncle… for him to come check on me means something. Then, outside after dinner, Aunt Ellen came over with tears in her eyes and said, “I just want you to know you’re my hero. If I were younger I’d do it too.” I kinda laughed and she asked how much it hurt, how bad the recovery way, etc. I explained that I feel amazing, I’ve had no complications, and it was EASY after the first few days. Then my Uncle George came and chatted me up, asked how I was feeling, and just got all choked up and hugged me. He’s such a softie!

In the end, I know I’ve got my family’s support. This is the side of the family I talk about when I say “I see family members who’ve struggled with their weight for years, and it never ends.” They’re dealing with health consequences, and they’re fighting so hard.

I watched everybody eat their dinners, and I saw my mom pick white rice over brown rice at the last second. I saw people drinking full-sugar sodas and then getting refill after refill after refill. I saw appetizers followed by entrees followed by dessert. I saw something I used to struggle with.

I know my problems aren’t solved 6 weeks out of surgery. I may be right back in that boat in a year’s time. I still want to eat when I smell food whether I’m hungry or not. I’m not perfect, and I never will be.

But I am winning this fight. I feel enormous pressure to succeed since so many people are watching. But strangely, it doesn’t give me a fear of failure. Instead, I’m just that much more determined.

It’s not just my fight, it’s my family’s fight. And I’m going to win it.


3 Responses

  1. And you’re doing a great job!! It’s always going to be a struggle, BUT the thing that I’m finding out… through you, Lacy and Kim as much as anyone else… we are inspirational to many out there.

    So while you watched some unhealthy eating habits this time around… it’s only a matter of time before some or all of them start working out or doing things differently because of your inspiration.

    Even my own husband has been inspired by my working out and has started doing it himself… not because I nagged, but because he was proud of what I was doing and wanted to get in on it too. 🙂

  2. Awww, sweet girl. This post gave me smiles and little baby tears. I am so glad you have found support with the people whom it matters most to be supported by.

    Wow…such a positive experience. Isn’t it great to feel encapsulated by love like that?

    And Meghan, I know what you mean. I try not to be judgemental, but it’s human and truly impossible to not observe the eating habits of those around you when your own have changed so drastically.

    Today at lunch, we had a catered in birthday meal for the people in our office with March birthdays. On the menu? sloppy joes, chips, sugary cole slaw, and chocolate cake. Before this, I wouldn’t have hesitated for a second gobbling it all up. But I passed on it, and gnawed on some chicken, a dollop of 7 layer mexican dip, and some sour cream on top. My portion sizes are insanely smaller, and my choices are so different.

    I wouldn’t trade the sacrifices for how I feel now. *hugs*

  3. Awww! I loved this post! It gave me warm fuzzies! I only wish my family were as supportive. Some are, some aren’t. Some won’t even comment on the fact that I plan to have surgery. But it doesn’t matter. I have the people I need most in my corner; some family, some great friends and on the internets, and God.

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