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How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head

by Jen Larsen

Pub Date: March 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-58005-446-1
Publisher: Seal Press

An arresting memoir about the author's experience with weight-loss surgery.

Larsen initially lied to her mother about the nature of her surgery and didn’t tell her the truth until well after the procedure. She admits that her librarian co-workers “probably knew more than I did” about the risks and potential complications, and she spread the first payment across three credit cards. When a doctor reprimanded her for gaining, rather than losing, weight before the surgery date, Larsen asked, "If I don't lose the weight, can you still operate?" She smoked and drank heavily. After her painful recovery, she "ate whatever I could fit inside me, and suffered for it, and lost weight anyway." In the hands of a lesser writer, all of these facts could lead readers to feel judgment or disgust. Instead, Larsen's honesty and insight make for a searing account of precisely what it feels like to be fat and to have complicated relationships with food, family and friends. We understand exactly why one would look to surgery as a solution to not only excess weight, but also fear, loneliness and unhappiness. Larsen eventually lost the weight, and she also moved on from her dead-end job and her bad relationship. But though her life is measurably better, she still reels from the shock that self-acceptance did not come automatically: "You lose weight without having to develop self-awareness, self-control, a sense of self. In fact, you go ahead and you lose your sense of self.”

Raw vulnerability and rigorous emotional honesty make this weight-loss memoir compelling and memorable.