Weighty considerations

TL;DR I’ve lost a lot of weight, I plan to lose plenty more, and the whole thing is lousy with analogies for the day job.

…about a whale ball worth

In the last 16 weeks I’ve lost 28 kilos, a.k.a. 62 of your US pounds, or very nearly (for those who came of age in the same country and decade as me) 4 and a half stone.

Whoohoo! Yey me!

Yep. Big style. Made the decision, paid for a surgical launchpad, then totally changed my shopping, cooking, eating, drinking and moving routines, both physically and psychologically.

Not for the faint hearted. Not for those simply seeking renewed youth and beauty. Not for those who think weight loss surgery is a travelator that carries you to thindom on a comfy armchair within reach of your favourite foods and bevvies.

This is a whole new me container to get my head round, in some ways lacking aesthetics of the old model, but wellness mentally? Jumping back onto my GP’s radar as someone worth diagnosing? Walking into a room and not having to help strangers get past my weight to the valuable stuff I’m trying to contribute? Fan-bloody-tastic. 

Should I have had to lose the weight to gain that stuff…hmmmmmm…contentious. Uh, nope, but that’s the current reality.

I’ve always, since very early childhood, carried more weight than my BMI said I should despite county hockey and blackbelt judo, but I got from there to here via 2 to 3 extra annual pounds (more in years with pregnancies, work restructures, deaths and related mental health fallout). Those extra few survived the regular 20 to 30 pound rebounding purges. A tipping point was reached when I turned into a relative hermit, thanks to a couple of really impactful incidents. Not willing to run the gauntlet of public transport and crowded rooms it escalated the gain and cemented a vicious cycle that raised all kinds of really nasty health spectres. Things that broke this camel’s back because I have small people and a big grumpy bald person that I want to be around for as long as possible.

I do have some good genes that I’m constantly thankful for. I didn’t have many of the common obesity co-morbidities – type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnoea, to name a few – things that many wave goodbye to after a post surgical month or three, but not constantly carrying around 3 quarters of my youngest daughter, a sea otter, an elephant’s heart, or a small baby rhino, has made a fair old difference. I’m sure I’ll say the same again with knobs on in 10 or so months when I’ve cumulatively dropped a large lady chimpanzee, a blue whale testicle, or 10-12 cats.

Speaking of sea otters, this popped up on my timeline shortly after publishing. Now having serious, serious second thoughts about having dropped one of these cos AWWWW and OUTFITS WITH POCKETS.

So, regaining a grip, this is a post serving 2ish purposes:

1) Con season pre-work. I’m trying to mitigate for a portion of well meaning reactions likely to result from face to face meetings, because renewed confidence hasn’t changed my horror at being singled out, especially to discuss my physical appearance. 

2) I have to clear my ideas head. I can’t leave a good analogy alone. It’s not my fault, they bug me until I write them down.

2 and a bit) I have to write something. As a result of events leading up to my weight loss, I left this poor blog and the kind folk who follow it far too alone (there are about 50 drafts languishing behind the scenes as some indication of my historical headspace) and, while I think about it:

2 and a bit more) Some unexpected head effects are probably worth sharing as its just been mental health week.

Reading the room

So this is the first analogy that bit me on my considerably downsized ass: EVERYONE has advice and a war story. Weight control is something that everyone can relate to and the sharing is entirely human. Relaying personal experience is the foundation of our aeons old verbal education tradition. But, as so very very many forget, it is absolutely essential to listen too.

You’d expect a dented skull for interrupting the greatest warrior to explain where they were going wrong with their spear work and you’ll probably find yourself in harms way at cons if you don’t default to assuming everyone is a startup CEO and at the top of their security and privacy game (nearly said ‘or’ rather than ‘and’. Seems my inner cynic is no less weighty) and back to our lede, it’s likely not helpful to hear someone has lost a shedload of weight then interject with an unasked for treatise on why carbs are the nutritional antichrist and why they should chug your favourite gut microbes. Better to undersell your superior knowledge, then pleasantly surprise all concerned when invited to contribute.

Good friends in the trade know me well enough to moderate that. It’s another related point. I have an extensive network of people who’s judgement I really trust. Folk I know well enough to call…well…all kinds of things, and, occasionally, when it’s deserved, they do the same to me. Surround yourself with people like that before you begin to try and influence anything. They are the source of your requirements. If you don’t leverage local knowledge to thread meaningful context (the kind that pings personal priorities), right through your comms, you are going to fail. If you pitch stuff for privacy pre-school in a room full of any kind of specialists…yeah…no.

It’s a testament to the fantastic core of our security and privacy trade that the vast majority of people never made me feel less welcome or valued because of my weight. A smaller majority translate that judgement-free default position to the way they communicate our specialisms to the wider world.

Nothing I said is rocket science or anything unfamiliar, but in so many of my personal and professional worlds it’s still a largely unmade change.  

And that, for now, is enough of an indulgent self-outing. Looking forward to catching up with a bunch of the usual suspects soon. But if I don’t make it out this time it’s probably because I have bigger better family adventures on my long list of things to do 🙂 

Image Copyright : Alberto Loyo 



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