In the last three months I have lost over 50 pounds. I did this the hard way: through surgery. If you are wondering how this could possibly be considered the hard way, then I suggest you have never tried to get an insurance company cover non-emergent surgery. This is actually one of the times where Israel and America have relatively equivalent approaches to health care.
I know what I’m talking about. Before making Aliyah, I spent four years working for Blue Cross and Blue Shield as a Customer Service Representative. The job consists of creative ways of making members wait to use their benefits, with the hope that they’ll either give up, die, or lose their coverage before the company has to shell out for the procedure.
At first I didn’t feel that my life had changed much. I chose a procedure called a sleeve gastrectomy, which is less invasive than the more well-known gastric bypass. Instead of a complicated reroute of my tubing, my stomach is now 90 percent smaller than it was before I went under the knife. I could eat pretty much what I did before, although obviously doing so puts me at risk of gaining back weight. With gastric bypass, many individuals actually become ill if they eat something high in sugar or fat. I’m on the honor system. No one will know but me and my scale.
It only hit me recently that I am, in essence, a different person. To be honest, while I do occasionally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or window and think “who the heck is that sexy chick?”, the change has been brought home more by how people relate to me on dating sites like OK Cupid, or yes, even Tinder. This is where I would like to point out that Tinder is not only for booty calls, and that some couples even met using the service. Or so I’ve heard, from a friend of a friend.
Once I had lost about 30 pounds, I updated my picture. This led to a flurry of activity. Potential partners who had ignored me before now began to message me. The funny part is that they started talking to me about food. Several guys told me in private chats how much they enjoyed cooking, and even sent me beautiful Instagrams of lunches and dinners.
Eventually I would feel compelled to point out that any effort to impress me through food was largely wasted, because I can eat half a cup of food at a time, and most of that should be protein. This was met with excitement. But after clarifying that I meant actual animal flesh or soy protein, the men would almost always say that I looked perfect as I was, and that they liked big women. Given that they had never contacted me when I was actually fat, I had some doubts.
Now, I try to let chubby chasers down easy. I’m not always going to look the way I do now, I tell them. The guys reassure me that how I look isn’t really important. And then they bring out the lunch photo albums. I wonder how thin I would need to be for a man not to try tempting me with food, like a hunter baiting a deer. Until then, I am stuck in the wonderful world of the just fat enough.