Each month I have to go to the doctor for a follow up for a medication that I am on, and each month I have to step on their scale. I dread this moment, even though I use a scale at home. I dread it because for so many years doctors have used my weight as an excuse for any health issue that came along.
I think back to when I was in 8th grade and going to see a specialist about headaches. I got on the scale and weighed 163, and the doctor told me that I needed to lose at least 10 pounds in order to be happier, and gave me some medication for anxiety/depression to help with the headaches.
I didn’t lose weight after this, not right away. I got up to 180 by the end of 9th grade, and was picked on for being chubby. I decided that it was time to do something about it…I basically stopped eating and started riding my bike a couple miles each day. By the end of the summer before 10th grade I was down to 140.
Walking into school, I can remember a guy named Ben coming up to me and telling me how much better I looked. I needed a smaller band uniform, cheer uniform and back to school clothes. It felt good to not be picked on…but I wasn’t healthy. I continued unhealthy habits to maintain my new weight.
I wasn’t happy either…like that doctor said I would be. I was sick all the time. My hair was falling out, I was always sleepy, I even fainted a few times. I missed a lot of school. Now I had my main doctor telling me that if I didn’t gain 10 pounds that he would hospitalize me because what I was doing wasn’t good for my body.
Junior year my parents put me on the hot lunch program (so gross), and my boyfriend made sure that I would eat lunch. I eventually got up to 155 and the doctor was happy with my new weight, but I struggled with the number on the scale, and still didn’t feel good most of the time.
I continued unhealthy patterns until I got to college. My college had great food, so I was happy to eat at least 2 big meals a day. I gained weight super fast once I started eating again, and was still sick all the time. I caught every bug that went around, but doctors could not explain why.
I discovered a cyst in my hand the summer after freshman year of college and the surgeon that I saw asked if I had any other health issues. I told him that I had been sick all the time, and he started running a bunch of tests on me, all summer long. He figured out that I had chronic appendicitis, so I had my appendix removed at the same time as the cyst, before returning to college for sophomore year.
Once I healed from the surgery, I decided that I should start exercising. My friend Jill and I went to the gym on campus a few times a week, and she taught me about the joy of rock climbing. I did not lose any weight, but was feeling much more healthy. I continued to work out at Curves with my Grandma the next summer and got my body fat down to a reasonable level for my age and lost some inches as well.
From Junior year of college until I graduated I camped out around 200-210 pounds, no matter what I was doing food/exercise wise. I spent a lot of time crying about comments family would make about my size, and the way my clothing fit. I will never stop thinking that I “look like a stuffed sausage” in tight clothing, even if I am stick thin.
I was depressed after graduation and got up to 220, before moving to NY for a nanny job. I lost weight when I first moved, and then when I switched nanny jobs in January of 2010 I hired a trainer and worked out like crazy and got down to 195 and a size 10 pants.
I was happy to be in a routine and doing things in a healthy way, but once I was no longer a live in nanny, I couldn’t afford a trainer and fell off the wagon a bit.
I put back on all the weight slowly over the next few years. At the beginning of January in 2013, I decided that it was time to change and start working out/getting healthy again. I got myself a Fitbit and started logging foods. I was losing weight again…but I wasn’t healthy. I totally fell back into old restrictive habits, logging every bite that went into my mouth and trying to burn off every extra calorie. I got back down to 195 from 220 or so…but I was not happy. I was a slave to the scale and calorie logging, so I decided to give it a bit of a break, and of course put some weight back on again. Noticing a trend?
In 2015 I got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and also busted my ankle. I gained a lot of weight from 2016-2018 due to not being able to workout and my autoimmune disease rebelling against me, but I was actually feeling better about my body during this time. I embraced self love and body as I was managing my new diagnosis. Turns out that all those years spent sick were not just my appendix and anorexia induced. Fibromaylgia often has an onset during puberty. I will do another post just about the fibro for you another day.
I still went to the gym while I was on crutches, but when I was cleared to fully work out again I got depressed about my body not allowing me to do what I could do months prior. Of course I had to gain strength back, but and my brain said to give up…and I did. I gained a lot of weight between the ankle injury in the fall of 2015 to January of 2018. I just was so discouraged with health things, and my boyfriend also moved in with me, so some of it was “happy fat” but the scale hit 240 and I had a breakdown. It was Thanksgiving of 2017 and I was a hot mess. I was so sad about clothes not fitting and strongly considered restrictive habits again, but knew that I shouldn’t go there.
I decided to give the whole30 a try and had a good experience with it as part of my food realated recovery more on that here.
Life post whole30 has been a lot different for me, I work out more, I love attending bar method classes, but I still do not love getting on the scale at the doctors office. Even though I have now lost 55 pounds, I still find that my weight is the first topic for discussion, even if I am there for a stomach ache.
It happened just this week. I threw up on Monday so went to get cleared for work on Tuesday and the first thing the PA mentioned was my weight loss “you lost some weight since the last time you were here, good job” and then she asked me why I was there. This is the mentality that put me into the downward spiral in the first place. Yes I have lost 55 pounds this year, and am down 42.5 inches, but what matters is that I am finally healthy mentally as well as getting there physically. The number on the scale, tag, measuring tape means nothing if you are not happy with yourself at the core. I am very thankful that I have finally figured that out and have finally started living, vs being a slave to the numbers. I hope that you find that freedom as well.