When I last talked about my weight, I was able to keep it—not where I wanted it, but not gaining any more—by strict diet and exercise.
I now weigh 25 pounds more than my former “freak out” weight, the weight at which I would watch what I ate for a little while and get it under control.
There is no just eating any more. I am hyper aware. No meal or snack is fun any more. Cooking is a misery, since what is cooking but adding fat and sugar to other ingredients? (OK. That’s an exaggeration. With a germ of truth.)
I am sharing this depressing story because if I had read someone else’s similar story, I would have felt less crazy. I would have felt validated.
I was reluctant to visit my doctor on the weight gain, for a number of reasons: One, the accusation of vanity. Two, the accusation that I was out of control eating and not facing it. Three, the shame: I didn’t want to see that number.
Well, finally—hooray! I noticed my eyebrows are falling out. This is a symptom of thyroid problems, and pretty neutral. No one is going to face you down across the table and accuse you of overeating when the symptom is loss of hair. So I went to the doctor.
“Wow. You really HAVE gained weight,” she said. I relaxed. “So, what are the changes in your lifestyle?”
Yeah, I totally came to the doctor because I want to lose weight while embracing my new lifestyle of carbs, fat, sugar, and indolence.
She did an EKG. Normal. And did a hormone test (results to follow) . I was so relieved to get that test, which I thought might have answers. Even if I had to wait a few weeks.
But I left the doctor’s office a little grumpy anyway, because while I didn’t get answers that day, I did get the following:
Blood pressure medication. OK, fair and square. My blood pressure has been “borderline” since my twenties. Which means I have been restricting my salt and exercising vigorously since that time, in order to not take medication. After thirty years of holding it off, I am, like everyone I am related to, on medication. OK. I had a good run.
A mammogram order. With no history of breast cancer in my family, I think mammograms are kinda bullshit. There are also indications that mammograms can cause problems, themselves. But I agreed to do it so as not to look like a noncompliant patient.
An order for a colonoscopy substitute. The colonoscopy—I’m not philosophically opposed. It’s just that it reminds me how alone I am. “Make sure your husband can drive you home.” He’s dead. As are my parents. And my one brother lives too far away for this to be practical. Same with my best friend. So they gave me a stool sample collector. Yippee.
A list of things to do to be more healthy. Which, I kid you not, included “lose that weight to control your blood pressure and increase overall health.” Holy *&^%. Also, I was instructed to restrict my salt. And eat more veg. *(&^.
I went to the doctor looking for help because of my quick and inexplicable weight gain and was sent home with a piece of paper instructing me . . . to lose weight.
Basically, what I feared had happened: I didn’t get answers but I did get accused of making things up, of vanity, and of overeating. Also, I got ordered to do things that had nothing to do with what I was at the doctor for.
When the hormone test results came, there were fifteen or so things that were “functioning” correctly, and “normal.” The accompanying letter told me to call if I had questions “about the test.”
Nothing about my weight. Nothing about, “We didn’t find anything with the test, but please come in and we can discuss your original problem to look for other possibilities.”
Just “Everything is normal. Call if you have questions about the test.”
In the 1970s, a study was done on menstrual cramps. It concluded, after decades of doctors telling women that they were faking, that menstrual cramps were real.
I am still waiting for the study which explains how people without increased food intake or decreased activity quickly gain weight.
In conclusion, I apologize. While I always have thought I was sympathetic to people who were large sized, I usually didn’t believe people who said they hadn’t eaten themselves there. I philosophically believed that every size is ok if that’s what you want to be, while simultaneously discounting people whose bodies betrayed them.
If I could look the way I wanted with diet and exercise, everyone could. Right?
DAMN. I apologize