Asking For Fashion Advice On Social Media

black and white dress comparisonFor years, black has been my signature color.

Black shirts. Black shirts. Black jackets. Black jewelry. Black swimsuits. Black everything. It’s slimming and versatile, and makes it really easy to blend into the background.

As I’ve been losing weight, I’ve been wearing a lot of bolder colors. And experimenting with wardrobe choices. While my mind always defaults to black when putting an outfit together, I’ve been trying to branch out and wear some other things.

Next week I’ll be in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World, and part of the conference involves an evening cruise. I’ve been looking for a cute dress for the event, and finally found one on my lunch yesterday. The dress doesn’t cover my undergarments, so in my mind it requires an undershirt. Of course, a black undershirt came to mind. But then I thought….I always wear black, I should try something different.

twitter poll on outfitThe black is black, white, and turquoise, so I tried on the dress with both a black and white undershirt. I kinda like how the black straps contrasted with the white undershirt, but the black looked better to me.  I took a picture of both, and posted it on Instagram and Twitter to get some opinions.

I asked “Found a new dress for spring. Poll: black undershirt or white undershirt?” And the answers flooded in. Over 45 answers so far, and everyone said black. But it also turned into all sorts of fashion advice: no undershirt, wear a black cardigan, throw a bolero jacket, etc. But what surprised me was how many people got nasty with their comments about the white top. Honestly, I deleted a few of the comments on Instagram because I felt insulted…people made me feel like I had absolutely no fashion sense. I didn’t expect to feel so self-conscious or hurt.

I guess I should have phrased my question better, because I already knew I’d be going with black, but was curious if the white would work as an alternate option. I always keep a cardigan handy when I wear a short-sleeved dress, and had already packed my cute 3/4 sleeve sequined cardigan to wear for the trip. But after years of limited clothing choices in the largest sizes of the plus-size stores, I’ve been excited to be more daring and try some fashion risks. But after this experience, my self-conscious soul has decided “When in doubt, go with black.”

Moral of the story? Only ask for fashion advice on social media if you’re prepared for the snarky comments too.

Please, no more opinions.


To Be Perfectly Honest…

Today will be one of my not so pretty posts. Even though I’m posting a pretty good picture of me.

April has been a really tough month emotionally. My weight loss has slowed considerably. I traveled out of town three weekends out of the month, and never was fully prepared for all the meals that I should have planned and brought along food for. Being unprepared brings temptations. And this month I’ve fallen prey to several temptations.

What have I eaten, you ask? I’m not telling you this so you can criticize me, I’m telling you so I can be honest with myself. I succumbed to pieces of Easter candy. I’ve eaten some full-fat ice cream instead of frozen yogurt. I’ve sipped on soda a few times. I’ve snacked on Cheetos Puffs a few times (even though I know they’re useless crap with no nutritional value). My portions haven’t been monstrous, obviously since I can’t really consume more than 3 ounces at once, but I know I’m off the wagon.

Most gastric bypass patients deal with a condition called “dumping,” where condition where ingested foods bypass the stomach too rapidly and enter the small intestine mostly undigested. This causes nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness and fatigue. It usually happens after eating high fat or high sugar foods. But as far as I can tell, I’ve never dumped. My body hasn’t equipped me with the mechanism to make me violently ill if I eat rubbish. I must be crazy for wishing my body did. I seem  to only get sick eating “healthy stuff” like eggs and chicken.

So yeah….bad food choices. In actuality, I’d say that 98% of what I eat is right on track, and 2% is “bad.” I’ve come up with all sorts of excuses why I’m sabotaging my weight loss like this, especially so early in the game. And the biggest source of anger and frustration is all the damn food advice people give me. It messes with me every time.

I’ve always been a pleaser – I want to make people happy by doing what they others ask me to do. But in the case of food advice as a weight loss surgery patient, it’s infuriating. I’ve been tempted to go back to people whose advice has been a catalyst for something bad happening and say “See what you did to me!!” For instance, a certain person has bugged me over and over to try eating a certain food. I had already had a hard time tolerating it, but I knew they wouldn’t get off my back until I ate it and reported back. So I finally ate it, and I violently threw it up. I ran back into the bathroom multiple times to wretch, and I even started vomiting blood. It wasn’t pretty. And the whole time, I was mad at this person who had so persistently advised me to eat it. Honestly, I know I should have stuck to my guns and ignored the advice. I should have been stronger. But I’m feeling weak and vulnerable these days, and now that I’ve had well over 100 people give me advice, it’s really messed with my head.

Unless you are a doctor or nutritionist – PLEASE do not give me advice on food. The only exceptions to this rule are 1) If you have PERSONALLY been a weight loss surgery patient (not your friend, not your family member) AND/OR 2) if I PERSONALLY ask you for advice. However well meaning you are, it is NOT helpful. I have an extremely limited amount of things that I can eat, and can only eat very limited quantities. I need to expand my palate when MY DOCTOR recommends it, NOT YOU. When I get food advice, it confuses me. I makes me want to start to push the limits of what’s right for me to eat. It makes me want to binge on junk food. Often the advice makes me cry. Sometimes it just makes me not want to eat at all, and fasting is NOT good for me at the stage.

Secretly in my head, I want to tell people who give me food advice, “Is it important enough for you that I eat ____ that it could risk our friendship? Okay then….SHUT UP!”

I think it’s time to go into counseling again. I need to grow a thicker skin.

On the Radio

101.9 the end utah

Ever since they came on the Salt Lake City airwaves in the mid-90’s, 101.9 The End has been my radio station of choice. “Utah’s Rock Alternative” plays most of the music I love, and I’ve always loved the morning show. Jimmy Chunga has predominantly been the head of the morning show, and although he’s opinionated and a little full of himself, it usually makes for an entertaining radio show.

Every morning, Chunga and Tysen have a segment called “What’s Happenin’ Hot Stuff,” which is named off of a scene from the 80’s movie “Sixteen Candles.” Listeners can call in with a funny pseudonym (like ‘Ian the Token Gay’) and talk about what’s going on in their lives. Some will say it’s their birthday, some call to rant about something that’s happening in news or politics, a few call to say how much they love Chunga, and others call in just to be heard on the radio. It’s meant to be a quick call, usually less than 20 seconds each, and usually it’s pretty light and airy,

As I was on my way to St. Mark’s yesterday for my pre-surgery class, I decided to call into the show. Now, I probably TRY to get on the show every month or so, but I always get a busy signal. I was pretty surprised to get through, which kinda made me lose my train of thought. Chunga answered “Good morning! What’s happenin’ hot stuff?” And I said “Hey, this is Nicole the Blogger” (kinda lame, I know, but I couldn’t come up with anything more awesome on the spot).

I told him I was on my way to the hospital for some tests because I was having weight loss surgery next week. He said “Oh cool, are you getting the lap band?” and I answered, “No, I’m actually going for the gastric bypass.” Immediately his tone of voice changed, and he got all snarky on me. He started talking about how he “doesn’t advocate that surgery at all” and how he’s had some friends who have had really bad results and complications. He kept cutting me off, said it was gross that I’d be blogging about it, then hung up on me.

I was a little thrown off because when I tell people that I’m having the surgery, the response is usually pretty positive. Many people who are “against weight loss surgery” are still nice to me about it. Chunga made me feel awful about this very difficult decision I’d come to make, and it’s been a 3 year process to this point. He doesn’t know a thing about me, even though I have been on the radio with him in the past (and he was super nice). With how much he advocates plastic surgery and liposuction, I thought he would be less abrasive about weight loss surgery. I guess I was wrong. He wins a “douche bag award” with me, and apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so because I easily found this Chunga Douche picture of him on a Google image search.

The truth is, many people who have bad results with gastric bypass surgery are ones who weren’t a good candidate in the first place. Or, they didn’t follow the eating plans religiously enough and went back to their old eating habits too quickly. I do have a blogging friend Sue, who had major complications with her surgery. I was scared silly as she went through her hospital drama, which coincidentally went on as I was beginning to gather my medical records in preparation for my own surgery. It hasn’t been an easy road for Sue, but I am super proud of her. It’s definitely given me some things to seriously contemplate as I’ve made the decision for surgery.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is…don’t call into a radio morning show about weight loss surgery unless you’re ready to be publicly berated! If you want to people to mind their own beeswax, don’t get near the hive.

Unsolicited Advice

One of the most difficult things I’ve encountered in the week since I’ve been telling people that I’m having surgery is the overwhelming amount of unsolicited advice. I feel like every sentence starts with “If I were you…” or “Wait, why don’t you try ____ first?” It feels good to know that there are so many well-meaning people who want me to be healthy, but sometimes I wish people would bite their tongue.

Even though I outlined the nitty gritty details of my weight loss struggles in my post about why I’m having gastric bypass surgery, people are suggesting weight loss methods that have already been unsuccessful for me. Yes, I’ve worked with a personal trainer. Yes, I’ve tried that weight loss supplement. Yes, I understand that I’ll have to completely change the way I eat after surgery.

And then, there are all of the people who are involved in multi-level marketing companies with nutritional products. I’m aware that these shakes and supplements are top-quality and will give me great results…but I DON’T want to sign up for an MLM. For instance, I’m really interested to try the MonaVie RVL shakes, but I can’t just pick them up at a retail store. I’ve reached out to people who are involved with MonaVie, and they want me to just sign up. And then they tell me that if I start the “RVLution,” I won’t even need to have surgery. Maybe I would have been interested 2 years ago, but not now. I’m having surgery, and I’m not going to give that opportunity up after all that I’ve been through to get approved. I have had too many unsuccessful weight loss attempts, and I am confident with my decision.

And for those who are still trying to talk me out of going under the knife:

  • I’ve been to surgery classes and am well informed about the procedure that I’m about to undergo. I am fully educated on the risks and benefits.
  • I have the backing of my primary care physician, pulmonologist, endocrinologist, therapist, and other people who have been professionally involved in my health care. And now, my insurance company has determined medical necessity for surgery.
  • My husband, daughter, and other family members are supportive, and understand the risks and life changes that will have to be made. And they’re excited to see me healthy again after all my illnesses over the past few years.
  • Most of all, it’s my decision. Not yours.