Thursday, March 21, 2013

Adventures in Bullshit

I just got back from a very disturbing visit with my doctor. As most of you know, I consider myself body positive and do not regard weight as a measurement of health. Regardless, it is a daily battle to remind myself of this and having a medical professional shove your weight in your face is disheartening to say the least.

The Exposition: As many of you also know, I used to weight 252 pounds. At that point in my life I was eating shitty foods and was, for all intents and purposes, sedentary. I was not healthy. At my lowest weight, I was 191 pounds at 19 years old. I was moving all the time - dancing 3+ hours a day at school, going to the gym 3-4 times per week, and then waiting tables - and eating primarily low fat foods. I think my body was just so shocked to be moving that the unhealthy pounds ran away. After I left Greenfield Community College, I wasn't dancing or waiting tables, so away went some built in movement. I gained a few pounds back. After I left Smith College, I didn't have a gym membership for a while. I would go out walking and tried my hand (or my legs) at running, but didn't particularly enjoy it, and I did some pilates. And then I got a desk job. I gained some more weight back.

At my last yearly physical, the doctor's scale read 206 pounds. I was completely devastated because I swore to myself that I wasn't going to break 200 again, pending some medical phenomenon or pregnancy.

The Heart of the Story: When I hopped on the doctor's scale today, it said I weight 211 pounds, which is contrary to my scale, which is contrary to my other scale -- so, really, Mr. Clinton, it depends on what your definition of is is -- but regardless, I had gained five pounds since my last visit. Admittedly, I vegged out this winter. I had a lot of job-related stress and access/proximity to sugary, fatty foods. This, however, is the most amount of weight I have gained in a while. Of course, when I stepped on the scale, I actually thought I had clocked in at 212 last physical, so I was sort of having a little inner joke about if I lose a pound a year how many years it will take me to get down to my BMI "ideal" weight. 86 years, if you're wondering.

Anyway, my doctor and I exchanged our pleasantries, had a healthy chortle over the physical examination charts China sent my way in regards to obtaining a visa, and then I mentioned that I don't sleep. So, we discussed possible causes, medications I'd tried, what happens when I don't sleep, all those things. And then I mentioned that I had hoped my detox/whole foods diet would help, which it didn't. So we talked about that a little, and then he asked me about what I do for exercise and what I do for work, to basically determine that I don't spend all day parked on my rear end.

The next bit is kind of blurry, but it went a little like, "I'd be more concerned about my weight if I didn't get regular exercise and eat natural foods," and it resulted in my doctor saying - not asking, saying - "I'm assuming you don't think 211 is a healthy weight for you," and then continuing on to say that exercise doesn't matter unless you're eating well and that it doesn't matter that I'm eating natural foods unless I cut out carbs.

The Problem Here: Too many to count. And I guess I can rationalize all the diet-fad no-carbohydrate be skinny or die jargon because we've been so trained to read everything as such but it's the feeling of total personal invalidation that I have such a hard time with. When I told my doctor I gave up eating foods with chemicals in it, I was expecting more of a reaction than, "It doesn't matter if you're still eating carbs." I wasn't expecting balloons or anything, but a little validation would have felt good. Because I spent the whole walk home - and currently am - wallowing in that feeling of invalidation, which logically and rationally I can get past, but lays emotionally in the clenched fists of my inner fat child who was bullied in the cafeteria and at the bus stop and on the bus and told that she wasn't pretty enough because of the rolls on her stomach and the junk in her trunk and the flab on her arms. And that feeling has moved itself into a woman who stares in the mirror and criticizes each roll of fat, every inch of loose skin, while simultaneously trying to debunk the myth that weight corresponds with health and that only thin can be pretty.

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