When you see other people having weight loss surgery, from the outside it's as though they disappeared for a bit and then the next time you see them, bam! Whole new person.
I remember a friend of my mum's had it when we were kids and the next time we saw her it was if someone had popped her like a balloon - she was less than half her old size and it blew my mind.
An old friend also had it done a few years back and, when photos started popping up of her new look on Facebook, I literally did not recognise her.
When you see that and hear all the trash talk about it being "the easy way out", you kind of start to believe that you can go in for surgery, have a week off to recover and then go and live your best life happily ever after.
What no one tells you is that post-surgery life is just a roller coaster of highs and lows that you're stuck on for at least a year, trying not to spew.
Until now, I've had updates. I've been learning new things, noticing new changes, graduating to new levels of food consumption, recovering slowly but surely.
From here on out though it's a neverending game of: "What can we eat today that doesn't make us feel like trash?"
Essentially, it's finding a new normal.
And so this, dear readers (hi Mum!), is where I leave you because frankly, I'm sure you don't want to hear about my daily diet and bowel habits much longer and besides, this column - I hope - has served its purpose.
My hope for this column was that it might offer some insight not just for people who are thinking about getting weight loss surgery but for people who never will. For people to understand the fat people in their lives a bit more, to support their loved ones going through these changes, to recognise that this is as much the easy way out as giving a prisoner a key while the guards are still watching.
I hope it's filled the gap between seeing your fat friend and then seeing them skinny a couple of months down the line; to give you an idea of what they've been through and why. I hope it's shed a light on the fatphobia around and within you and helped you address it. And most of all I hope, if you're a fellow fat person, it's helped you in literally any way.
Whether that's to embrace the word "fat", to combat fatphobia, to undergo WLS, to make you realise WLS isn't for you, to make you realise you're fine the way you are, to just make you feel seen and understood and a little less alone - anything.
Just because I'm losing weight does not mean I think everyone should be thin. Whether I come out of this a size 8 or 18 isn't the point, I just want to come out with what I call "strong Lizzo energy" - feeling confident, queenly, comfortable, fearless and good as hell.
No more worrying about fitting in seats, being kicked off planes, exceeding weight limits or moving through crowded spaces. Just, you know … living.
So if you see me around Auckland sitting on a flimsy-looking chair or using the armrests in a theatre instead of trying to hug myself smaller, feel free to come give me a high-five because that'll mean I've reached my goal weight: freedom.
Until then, I leave you with the wise words of our queen, Her Majesty Michelle Obama, who said: "We're used to hearing about fitness in terms of inches and dress sizes. We may know better, but we're up against near-constant reminders and pressures to look good ...
The truth is, being [healthy] isn't about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline - and we can't afford to think that way. Instead, we need to start focusing on what matters; on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves."
Next week: Steve Braunias