I felt as though 500 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders.
Unless you have no pulse at all, you are carrying stress within you, even as you read this. We all do. It’s part of modern life. It comes from a feeling of being overwhelmed, and thinking that you can’t cope with a situation.
According to Wikipedia, that font of all human knowledge, stress can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, ulcers, and mental illnesses such as depression. So needless to say, stress is bad for you.
What I find particularly scary is how easily I fool myself into thinking I’ve gotten used to a certain level of anxiety. It’s as if I am coping simply because I’ve come to expect that I will have to wade through some crap, and that’s just the cost of doing business.
That doesn’t mean the stress, with all its toxic side effects, has disappeared. It just means that I’ve resigned myself to it. That’s problematic, because it also means that I’m no longer trying to do anything to relieve that stress. I’ve concluded that there’s no solution, so I just bathe in it, regardless of the pollution this brings into my world. After a while, I seem to forget it’s happening.
But every once in a while, some fortuitous thing occurs that removes a stressor from my life. That happened just this month. And the change within me has been profound. I started off by feeling slightly sick from the sheer release. Then I felt as though 500 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. Freedom! Sweet relief.
And then there was the inevitable shock that I had been carrying that weight for so long without even realizing it. (Actually, I knew of about 50 pounds of it, but not the full 500.) It makes me wonder what other burdens I’m carrying. No wonder I’m so tired much of the time.
I think I need to work on being more aware of what my body is trying to tell me. I need to address issues whenever possible, even though I hate confrontation. I need to stop walking around with my head in the clouds and take better care of me.
In the meantime, I’m going to go do a happy dance to celebrate my newfound freedom. Woot!
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I’ve been set up for failure my whole life.
Someone who loves me very much once gave me a step counter and a scale. She told me she was worried about my weight. She was afraid I was killing myself.
I burst into tears. I told her that I use my fat as a shield to hide behind, because I didn’t want anyone to get close. I told her I eat when I’m angry, and at the time I had quite a bit to be angry about. I told her I was profoundly depressed. I was also lonely, and food was the only comfort I had.
And then she left me with the scale and the step counter. Apparently I was supposed to snap out of it, and that ought to be easy.
The first thing I did was throw away the f***ing scale. Because numbers don’t mean a thing. They’re a measurement of success or failure that’s tipped toward failure. I won’t do it. I won’t beat myself up like that. I measure my weight gain or loss by the fit of my clothing.
But I did improve my diet and I did use the step counter, obsessively, for about 6 months. I was up to 10,000 steps a day. I was walking so much that I actually hurt myself. And I didn’t lose an ounce. Not one ounce.
Which made me feel even worse about myself. All that work, and nothing. What is wrong with me?
Since then, I’ve pretty much stayed the same size. I’ve been nagged by doctors and humiliated by teenagers and shunned on dating sites. I’ve been horrified by my own photographs and I’ve avoided looking in mirrors.
This has become my status quo.
And then I read an article entitled Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong. Now I see this issue in an entirely different light. Now I’m pissed off.
Here are some of the points the article made:
Doctors and researchers have known for 60 years that all diets don’t work. Diets. Don’t. Work.
They have also known that “losing just 3 percent of your body weight results in a 17 percent slowdown of your metabolism—a body-wide starvation response that blasts you with hunger hormones and drops your internal temperature until you rise back to your highest weight. Keeping weight off means fighting your body’s energy-regulation system and battling hunger all day, every day, for the rest of your life.”
According to the American Journal of Public Health, the chances of a woman classified as obese achieving a “normal” weight is 0.008%.
Weight and health are not synonymous. You can be overweight and metabolically healthy, in that you can show no sign of high blood pressure, insulin resistance, or cholesterol issues.
This article goes on to say that doctors are trained to basically try to humiliate people into weight loss, even though it’s been proven time and time again that that doesn’t work. It talks about the many ways society discriminates as well. It discusses how weight issues are not simply about poor lifestyle choices. In other words, telling people to step away from the ho-hos is not productive. Not even a little bit.
I’ve been set up for failure my entire life. And it’s not my fault. It has done nothing but make me feel bad about myself. I’m sick and tired of it. From now on I plan to stop looking at fat and start looking at health.
What I took away from the article is, yes, I need to avoid sugar. I need to exercise. I need to make healthier choices. I need to take care of me. And at the same time, I need to stop obsessing about my body.
The next time a doctor tries to shame me into weight loss, I’m going to suggest that a good start would be for them do their part to figure out ways to get me off prescription meds that have a weight gain side effect, m’kay? Until they do that, they need to shut up.
And the next time someone who has never had a weight issue in her entire life hands me a scale, I’ll tell her that even though she means well, and culturally it seems like this tough love thing is acceptable, she needs to mind her own business. Unless she wants to help me take on the underlying esteem issues, she’s of no use to me on the weight front.
From now on, I’m going to focus on taking good care of me, by eating good, healthy food and staying active, and let my body decide how that will ultimately look, because God knows it’s going to do that anyway. I’m going to work really hard at not listening to the opinions of other people. I’m going to stop measuring myself by other people’s yard sticks. I’ll take my health seriously, but I’ll never voluntarily step on a scale again.
And guess what? I’m never going to be a size three. You know it. I know it. If you’ve got a problem with that, then step away from the fat person. As someone in that article said, “I’m here. I’m a sphere. Get used to it.”
No picture. Not this time. Stop focusing on how things look.
I went shopping for a bathing suit the other day, and to my horror I discovered that I’ve finally reached a size where all suits come with little skirts. Even I have to admit that it looks better that way, but it’s official: society no longer wishes to gaze upon my thighs. Ah well. It was a good run.
That reminded me of the time I was in a mall and noticed that Victoria’s Secret was having a sale. None of their underwear on the display case was my size. So I asked the skinny little teen-aged clerk if they had any. She got this amused look on her face and said, yes we do. We just keep it hidden in this drawer right here.
I purchased what I had come for, and being the non-confrontational type, I left. But I wish I had walked up to the clerk and said, as if talking to a puppy, “You’re sooooo cute! You actually think you’ll be that size all your life! I was your size at your age. The difference is, I’m a nice person, so I’m still liked. What will you do when you have no body AND no personality? Poor thing.”
I do derive a great deal of comfort from the fact that the aging process will bite that girl in the butt sooner or later. It’s the great equalizer. Karma in the form of cellulite.
[Image credit: bewonderfour.com]