Ann Putnam had gastric band surgery at 16, (basically as soon as she was able to) and two further rounds of corrective surgery on the excess skin left after the ensuing weight loss.
Navel Gazing is the story of her life as fat kid, to thinner woman and a testament to the fact that you can take the fat off the girl, but not the girl away from her body issues.
Anyone who grew up carrying more weight than their friends will recognise the early lesson that fat girls shouldn’t eat
“I started refusing offers of cookies at other people’s houses, and taking smaller pieces of cake at birthday parties, only to overindulge when given the chance to do so in private.”
and understand the differences of her teenage experience.
“I wonder what it’s like to be so unafraid. To try things on, just like that”
But, as only a minority choose the surgical response, her exploration of her changing shape and appearance will be uncharted waters to many readers. How ironic then that most of us will resonate with her continuing feelings about her post-surgical, adult body.
“I’m fucked up. I spend far too much time and energy worrying about my body. Obsessing over it. And changing my body hasn’t changed that- if anything it’s made it worse.”
This book is written with honestly and humour, I recommend it to anyone who has struggled or is struggling with weight related body issues – you’ll feel you’ve made a friend.