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  • Writer's pictureSarah McDonald

Are you there Internet? It's me, Sarah.

*Content Warning: this post includes post-surgical images including photos of surgical drains.

Hey Stranger!

Good afternoon! Or maybe it's good morning or good evening for you. As I write this, it's Saturday just after 2pm on a sunny but chilly (feels like -18°C). There's not a cloud in the sky and no wind, which makes for perfect walking weather, even with the extreme cold, as long as you have the right clothing. I've now added a heated vest to my winter walking wardrobe thanks to the perfect Christmas gift from Taylor💍.

It's been a while since I last published a post and I have some updates I can't wait to share. I want to start by talking a bit about why it's been so long since I've updated this blog. The reason is simple: I just haven't had the extra energy or creativity to put my thoughts together in a cohesive post that I was proud to publish. I've started and stopped so many times over the last eight months and I was never able to concentrate long enough to get it to the point of sending it out into the world.

Here in Ontario, Canada we are still very much living in the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two years we've been in and out of varying degrees of lockdown situations more times than I can count. Each time adds additional stressors in so many different aspects of our lives. We are nearing the end of our latest round of lockdowns and we are all hopeful that we are heading for more "normal" and stable times.

Since I last updated this blog, I have been fully vaccinated and boosted (if you're keeping a tally that's three separate shots) with the Moderna vaccine (thank you Dolly Parton). My world keeps shifting, and my habits alongside it. For example, I always did my grocery shopping in person, but now Instacart has become my best friend. My job has also transitioned permanently to a work-from-home hybrid, meaning I'm at home three days a week and spend the other two days in the office. Meanwhile, the outside world seems like it's in constant upheaval, and that can be really tough to manage internally. Watching the strain this pandemic has had on our healthcare and education systems through the lens of some of my very good friends who are dealing with things firsthand has been heartbreaking.

I wrote about my thoughts on the pandemic and the resulting exhaustion it has caused back in April. In a lot of ways, I still feel like we are in that space. I re-read that post today and I still identify with a lot of the same emotions from almost a year ago. On the other hand, as a society we've also come a long way in learning more about the virus, including ways we can protect both ourselves and our community to move towards our new normal. Even though it can feel like we're in the same place still, the scientific progress we've made makes me feel hopeful.

So here we are. It’s a brand new year and I’m back on the blog. If there’s one thing that’s true of all I’ve written so far: change is in the air. I do feel positive about that. I’ve experienced a lot of change myself … so let’s get caught up!

So what have I been up to over the last few months?

1. I had plastic surgery!

In December 2020, I decided to go for a surgical consultation to have the loose skin on my abdomen removed (aka a tummy tuck). This was the result of losing 150 pounds.

Eight months later, on August 18, 2021, I had 4 pounds of excess skin removed from my abdomen through a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty procedure performed at a cosmetic surgery clinic. This is an experience that I can't wait to write about more fully, and I’ll soon dedicate a future blog post to all of the ups and downs of that experience.

What I will say now is loose skin is a very real and taboo part of losing weight. A lot of people are familiar with what an overweight body looks like (not to say that it's a socially accepted body but it's relatively normalized in our culture). But, a body that has lost a lot of weight is not so normalized and can feel very alienating to live in. Having elective surgery is also a big and scary decision to make. I can't wait to write more about this experience in depth but I can tell you right now that I do not regret my decision to have this procedure for one second.

2. I did a podcast!

Last fall I was contacted by a friend of mine who works with Gillian McMichael, host of The Full Circle Podcast. Last season, Gillian featured stories of transformation, and invited me to share my story of dramatic weight loss. I was so honored to be invited as a listener of podcasts for years (I like to think I was in the early wave of podcasts), I'd only ever dreamed of being a guest one day!

I was also extremely nervous and experiencing a full-on bout of imposter syndrome. The other guests on this season included a professional career coach; an author and anti-bullying advocate; the first openly transgender person who served in the British Air Forces; a professional dancer who discusses being in a same sex relationship for the first time in her life; and me.

'One of these things is not like the other' kept repeating in my head over and over. But I did it! I talked myself through it by thinking, “what’s the worst thing that could happen? If it's terrible, they won't use it and no one will ever hear about it” and that's because I didn't tell anyone I was doing it.

Guess what? It didn't suck.

It actually turned out really well and I was proud to share it with my friends and family. I've had a number of people reach out to me after listening because there was something that resonated with them. On the podcast I talk about my own journey with my body and body image, building healthy habits, size inclusivity, and mental health. If you want to listen to the full episode you can find it here:

3. I got out of bed each day, worked, treated my body well and tried to be a good partner and friend.

These aren't always touted as big accomplishments, but they should be.

Getting up every day and doing the things we need to can be hard, but during a pandemic it's also incredibly monotonous because there's nothing to break up the days. Waking up, making the bed, eating a healthy breakfast, cleaning the cat litter, remembering to clean and also fold the laundry (I'm not always great at the latter), moving my body every day, checking in with our loved ones and myself, celebrating others, texting people back... these are pretty simple tasks, but it's easy to let one slip and suddenly these tiny tasks build up like an avalanche.

Maybe we can all learn to just celebrate when the avalanche doesn't take us down, but rather we turn our snowfall into a ski slope and just have a little fun catching up instead of burying ourselves under the weight of it.

I have to mention that during this time I also had the BEST weekend away with my girlfriends in Toronto celebrating my 34th birthday along with one of my dearest friends who was celebrating her 40th (shout out to Dr. Morton). I can't wait till we can celebrate the next milestone!

It's not goodbye, it's see you soon!

I am choosing to go into the rest of 2022 hopeful because there are so many exciting things to look forward to and celebrate!

Next weekend I will be going wedding dress shopping for the first time and I have my fingers crossed that I will come away with the dress of my dreams after one shop (wishful thinking?).

I'm also excited to see where this blog goes in 2022. There are so many ideas and post topics that I want to explore this year and I hope you follow along with me!

If you’ve done something over the last few months that you’re proud of (big, small or somewhere in between) let me know in the comments below! If you have any suggestions for future blog posts I would love to read them.



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