Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No More Weighting

Let me start by saying I know how difficult this topic can be.  I know there are many psychological hot buttons involved here.  I know many of us are struggling, many struggling more than me.  Please know that when I am saying something negative and judgmental here it isn't about you.  It has nothing to do with how I perceive you.  It's all about me and how I feel about myself.  I hope that makes sense.  Now here we go.


"Are you freaking kidding me?!"  That's what I thought when I looked at the scale.  I had my annual physical a few days ago.  We all know what that dreaded first assessment is going to be.  "Can I get you to step up here?" the 20-something, size 2 nurse asks me.  She was sweet and kind and just doing her job, but I really want to turn to her and say, "Do I look like someone who wants to step on a scale?"

But I did, because we do.  And I felt like I'd been punched in the gut.

And to follow that up, when my blood test results came back they showed quite a spike in my cholesterol levels.

And I'm not okay with that.

I'm not sure whether it was the weight or the cholesterol, but now I want to do something about it.  Really do something.

So here it is.  - deep breath - 

I weighed in at 216 pounds.  I am 5'4".  I'm just going to let that sit there for a minute while it sinks in.  While I get comfortable with owning my self.  216 pounds.

I'm not comfortable with it.  Not at all.

I've seen lots of people, mostly women, blog about weight loss and openly share their weight.  I swore I would never do that.  Funny thing.  Now that the decision is made to move in a healthier direction, I can say it.

For years I've told myself I wasn't sensitive about my weight.  I knew I was getting heavier, but I was still able to do most of the things I could before, so how bad could it be?  My skin never felt flabby.  (Yeah, it never does.  It grows with the enlarging mass growing under it.  Duh.)  There was always someone larger than me.  That helped, although it shouldn't have.  It really had nothing to do with me.

But it did bother me.  I'd say it was about being healthy, not about how I looked.  Bull!  What a lie.  One of those self-deception things that helped me get through a situation I felt powerless against.

It was bothering me before I went to the doctor.  I addressed it with him as part of my physical.  "I used to have no appetite and could easily go 24 hours without eating (not healthy).  But now I'm hungry all the time.  I'm more physically active than I've been in a long time, but I'm still gaining weight.  Could it be menopause?"  (I had a full hysterectomy last year.  So even though I'm only 45, I'm in full-blown menopause.)

He told me two of the medications I am currently taking cause weight gain.  Wonderful. :(  Actually, I liked when he said that because it gave me a bit of deniability.  "I would totally be losing weight if I weren't on these meds.  It's the meds' fault."  And that's probably partly true.  But not entirely by a long shot.

I'm getting off one of the meds, for other reasons, and cutting the other one by half.  Finger crossed this helps.  And with my new thyroid medication and the Lamictal I have more energy that I have in years.  (Not a lot, but enough to feel like a tired human instead of a rock.)

This is it.  This is the time.  It's only going to get harder if I wait.  And I'm sick of hiding from friends and from pictures.

There are people I used to work with that I avoid seeing, even though I like them and would love to see them again, because I don't want them to see how much weight I've gained.  And I've hidden from pictures for years now.  There are way fewer pictures of me for posterity than there should be.

Because I'm embarrassed.  There.  I said it.  I'm embarrassed about how I look.  I want to say I'm not.  I want to not care about what others think of me.  But I am.  And I do.

A basic history:
  * Other than being shorter than most people, I was never really petite.
  * In high school (which was the first time I remember even knowing what I weighed) I weighed 140 pounds and wore size 8 jeans.  I was not skinny by high school standards.  There were so many girls around me who were just tiny.  Thin little things.  I was absolutely not that.  I knew I wasn't that but wanted to be.  I developed substantial hips at 14.  I have thoroughbred thighs that run in my family.  I was not tiny.  But when I look back at those photos now I realize how small I really was.  Go figure.
  * I only gained 20-25 pounds with each baby (5).  With my first, I lost the weight quickly and even dropped some extra.  I was very active.  I dropped to 130 pounds and a size 6.  That was the happiest I'd ever been about my weight and how I looked.
  * After each following baby, I kept about ten pounds.
  * In the spring of 2001, when I weighed about 180 pounds and my baby was almost three, the world feel out from under my feet.  By June I was in bed.  All the time.  For the next year and a half.  I was able to function just enough to keep my children alive.  I would lie on the couch and watch videos with them or watch them play.  I would talk my oldest daughter (10) through getting them food.  At night I had a tiny amount of energy and would put together sandwich bags of food for the next day.  Cheese slices.  Carrots.  Crackers.  My attempt at taking care of my kids.  Because that was seriously all I could do.  I couldn't move.  I was so tired it made me cry.  And giving up all the things I did, all the volunteering at their schools and coaching of their teams and taking them to the park - all gone.  I never got a definitive answer about what was wrong, it just gradually got better.  But I've never felt well again since.  I go through times when I can function better than others.  And I go through times when I'm flat in bed.
  * I have no idea how much I weighed in between that time and the next time.  We didn't own a scale.  We still don't.
  * In 2010 I wrote "A Weighty Issue," a blog post about being unhappy with my weight but not ready to really do anything about it.  It really shook me today when I looked back at that and realized it took five years for me to be ready.  I honestly don't remember what I weighed then except that I'd probably just broken 200 pounds.  I'd sworn to myself I'd never let myself hit 200, but I did.  And it devastated me for a few days.  But I shook it off, blamed it on still not feeling well, and moved on.  Seriously, if you can barely get out of bed, how could you be expected to exercise?
  * In 2012 I went to my psychiatrist for the first time.  She asked what I weighed.  I said about 200 pounds, which was hard enough to say.  But it wasn't even true.  Because I had just recently had a physical and the scale said 206.  Stupid scale.  But I wrote some of that off as premenstrual water retention.  You know what I mean; right, ladies?
  * And now, three years later, I weigh 216 pounds and wear size 16 jeans.  Like I said, I had a hysterectomy.  So the excuse of premenstrual water retention is off the table.  I am finally able to move enough to clean my house and function almost like a real human being.  And I know how to do it.  I really have no excuses anymore.  (Well, I still have some flat in bed moments.  But I could work out on the other days.  Which I don't.)

So here's my action plan.  Eat better.  Move.  That's it.  It's more defined in my head, but that's the gist of it.

I don't intend for my blog to suddenly become a weight loss blog.  I may or may not report as things progress (because they will progress, dang it!).  And I don't have a before shot of my body.  Honestly, my fat body hasn't been what's bothered me most or kept me from being in pictures.

It's my fat face.

You can hide your body behind other people, but if you hide your face there's really no reason to be in a photo.  And I've got a big head - like 7 3/8 big.  So when I'm in a photo with other people, my head dwarfs theirs.  I look like Andre the giant.  That was even true before I got so fat.  (Luckily, my husband's head is even bigger than mine.  Thanks, honey.)

But I'm ready to own it.  I'm ready to move on.  And in order to move on, I have to acknowledge where I came from.  So here are some of those photos.  (Sorry I don't have better photos.  Not only do I hide from the camera, but I also haven't digitized many.)

My wedding day - 1990, 25 years ago.  This is the oldest digital photo I had of myself that you could see my face in.  This was two years after I graduated.  I think my face looks pretty good here.
Five kids later - probably early 1999, 16 years ago.  I'm not thrilled with my look here.  My hair is pulled up in my "softball/cleaning" ponytail; not super flattering.  But there's no double chin yet.
I'm guessing this is about five or so years later - let's say 1994, 11 years ago.  See how I'm throwing my head back.  At this point I'd started to notice a double chin in photos and was trying to avoid that.
2009 - 6 years ago.  My daughters are super cute, but that's about the only thing I like about this photo.  See how I'm hiding behind them?  Still trying to tip my head up and back a little?  See those flabby arms?  See that double chin?  Yeah, not cool.  But I got in the photo.  For that, I'm proud of myself.
2011 - 5 years ago.  By this time I'd decided I needed to start being in some of the photos.  I'd also learned that being cheesy in a photo made it less bothersome when I didn't look great.  Okay, I look kind of like a drowned rat here because of the rain, but also notice how round my face has gotten.
2012 - 4 years ago.  This is a photo I both love and hate.  It's a picture of me teaching at church, which is something I absolutely love to do.  It was a wonderful time in my life and I'm glad I have a record of it.  But, seriously, can you believe how fat my face is?  How fat I am?  Oh, my heck!  I about cried when I saw it.
2013 - 2 years ago.  Hiding behind someone again.  Tilting my head away and back a bit to try to hide that double chin.  Failing miserably - Ugh.  That double chin.
2014 - last year.  I'm kind of proud of myself for just letting the shot happen.  I'm not hiding or tilting my head back.  I've come a long way toward acceptance of my true body size by this time.  But, oh, how huge my head is.
2015 - last week.  This is me now.  I voluntarily took a photo of my face and put it on facebook.  I own it.  This is me.  I'm a fat girl.
I'm ready to move forward.  No, I don't want your help.  Yes, I'd love your support.


Unknown said...

Go you. If the worst thing that can be said about either of us is that we're fat I think we'll be okay falling at Jesus feet. But I'm getting moving now too - finally at a place where everything I do to try to help myself doesn't create another pain or health problem. It's time! I'll holler encouragement across the street!

Lisa said...

Ahhh! This is amazing. I am part of a small group of women on Facebook and we are all on a journey. Different ones. But all involving getting moving/eating better. Id love to add you.

Thanks for sharing this with us. your posts always inspire me to write my own, usually on the same topic. So much love for you sister!

Breaking The Momma Mold said...

Let me just start off by saying that your new Facebook picture does not by any means define you as a 'fat girl!' I see a gorgeous human being! Congrats on starting your journey to amazing things! You are so strong to take this leap. Good luck. You wont need it.

Breaking The Momma Mold said...

Let me just start by saying your new Facebook photo is gorgeous! Congrats on the begining of a new journey, an amazing adventure, good days, bad days all of which your apparent strength will guide you through! Your amazing for even taking the first steps to decide to make a change. Go girl! You got this. I so look forward to hearing more about your acheivements.

Mrs.AOK said...

I love your new picture! Your hair is awesome, but that smile! That smile looks like the smile of a determined woman who is about to own life and all the obstacles that may be set in her path. You've got this, mama! Don't get yourself down, stay positive.

Susan said...

The honestly of your emotions brought tears to my eyes. I see a beautiful person in your photos - and in your writing. Wishing you success in your goals, health and energy, and the confidence to be in more photos. I'm glad I found this post today.
Visiting from SITS Sharefest.

Natalie said...

Love your writing...have a little one here but can't wait to read more at nap time! I think you are creating a beautiful life and the weight will work itself out. I would think a hysterectomy would cause quite a few changes that will stabilize soon- a year post-op is not a long time at all!

Natalie said...

I have been able to read a bit. How is your mom?
Also, wanted to doc just put me hydrocortisone pills to help with my energy.

Anonymous said...

im on instagram (sammykay86) and I posted a self acceptance photo a few weeks ago. It was a long journey to get there. <3