The Aftermath: I Lost Pounds And My Confidence Following Weight Loss Surgery

June 7, 2019  |  
Maui Bigelow of PHAT Girl Fresh

Source: P Dillon Photography / P Dillon

If you’ve been following my articles on MadameNoire, you know I had a gastric bypass last year. Many people frown upon having weight loss surgery, especially in the plus size and body positive communities. A lot of people consider the procedure cheating, a quick fix, or taking the easy way out, but I knew I was doing what was best for me. However, after having surgery and making lifestyle adjustments, I’ve lost some of the fire I once possessed. To be honest, I’m not confident about being “fly AF in this fat ass body” (like I used to say) now that I’m more than 100 lbs lighter.

From my first visit with the bariatric doctor to my time with the counselor and every conversation with my friends and family, I’ve expressed my concerns and fears regarding surgery. I have been fat most of my life. Yeah my relationship with food and my weight gain began as a defense mechanism to keep grown men from continuing to victimize me, but once I was freed from that, I didn’t hate my body. Not only did I learn my strength in this body, I also make a cute little coin based on my work as a plus-size influencer. So yeah, the thought of stepping out of my comfort zone and into an unfamiliar place was scary, horrifying actually; however, I knew that it was what was best for my health. So now here I am seven months post-op, in much better health, more than 100 pounds lighter, but still feeling heavy AF because this weight loss is happening faster than I can process it.

Now I know I’ve told you many times that I have been confident in my skin most of my life and that has been my truth, until now. Of course I had moments of insecurity growing up, but thanks to the amazing women who raised me and were also plus size, I never saw myself as flawed or ugly. In school kids would make jokes and were mean, some of their efforts landed, but most times I was like Daisy Duck in the rain — it rolled off my back. Honestly, even when I didn’t love myself, it wasn’t due to my size.

Now I’ve transitioned from weighing 379 lbs and wearing a size 28 to weighing 250 lbs and wearing a size 20. And while I have worn a 20 before, this time it’s different. At least once a week, I look in the mirror and say, “I don’t know this chick” because I honestly don’t. I have no connection with this smaller Maui; she doesn’t wow me the way big Maui did. I don’t feel as strong or capable. I found my strength as fat Maui, I learned self-love while being fat Maui, and now, although I’m still plus size, the loss of this weight feels like the loss of me. Walking into my closet and not being able to fit many of my staple pieces is weird. I’m by no means skinny, nor will I ever be if I can help it, but the change bothers me because I don’t know this chick that’s continuing to melt in my mirror. For the first time in my 41 years of existence, I’m struggling with being confident in my skin. I know that my beauty and my looks aren’t related, but I miss my fat rosy cheeks and I know they’re never coming back.

I was once one of those people who thought weight loss surgery was the easy way out, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. Weight loss surgery is just a tool. It takes a change in learned behavior and commitment to something new to be successful, and success looks different for each person. For me, success is being cancer and fibroid-free with a triple dose of confidence. It’s taking some time to figure out that last part, but I know eventually I’ll get there.

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