“Weight Wounds.”

Dear Journal,

on this day

The ‘On this Day’ memory feature on Facebook always elicits a plethora of feelings whenever I open it.  I’ve had Facebook since about 2007 so I am always faced with over ten years of memories and ten years of people who were part of my life at various points.  As I scroll, some things make me so happy to remember, some things sad, and some things make me cringe! Apparently, back in the day, I also used to partake in some ‘vaugebooking’, but even ten years later I can often remember what a certain quote was about. (Spoiler: probably boy troubles in my younger years. 😉 )

Today a particular post struck me.  I posted it in the morning before school.  The year 2009 — only a few weeks before my high school graduation.  In the morning I posted, “Another day of not feeling like enough.  My jeans are getting too tight again.  My mom said my face is getting rounder. Why is my weight ALWAYS such an issue? Here we go … starve mode … have to look good for graduation!”   The sad thing?  I had nothing to worry about with my weight then.  I was healthy.  I was strong.  I was most definitely not overweight.  This was just the beginning of what would eventually become a lifetime struggle with my weight.  About a year later I would be diagnosed with PCOS and the issues would only keep on coming from then on.

I’m so mad at myself for living in a state of “weight panic” most of my high school years.  Every single day I obsessed about how “fat” I was getting. I tried every fad diet, every fasting technique, and more to try to control my weight.  But, in reality, I know that this only made things worse.  Those tactics probably messed up my metabolism for years to come.  I remember a specific diet that consisted of just eating tuna, broccoli, and grapefruit.  So…much…tuna.  I still can’t look at the stuff to this day.

Additionally, as I consider the comment about my mom saying my face was getting rounder, I’m annoyed.  I love my mother dearly and she’s done so much for me, but I’m not sure she realized how much I struggled with my weight concerns, and she only exemplified them.  My mom is tiny and has never had to pay attention to what she eats and she never gains a pound.  She just doesn’t understand the struggles.  Please, please refrain from pointing out things like weight gain especially when you are talking to impressionable young women. Those comments she always quipped had a lasting impression.  So much so that even nearly 27 year old me always waits for a weight comment from her even though, at this point, I think I’ve gained too much weight and I think she thinks I’m already lost.  (She does still say things like, “That shirt really looks good with your body type.” Usually an over-sized comfort shirt.  Hey, thanks, mom.)  But, that’s so minor now it hardly matters.

I urge you to encourage the young females in your life to nourish their growing bodies and eat healthy.  They are more than what the scale says and they should be happy with who they are. (I KNOW that is harder said than done.  Self acceptance can be hard.) Even if you notice they are adding on a few extra pounds, don’t point it out … maybe sit down and cook a healthy meal together or go for a refreshing walk.  Teach your kids (and the kids around you) how to take care of their bodies and teach them how to love who they are.  Also, refrain from expressing your own negative thoughts about your body in front of them.  I used to occasionally express my displeasure in my body in front of my friend’s seven year old.  She looked at me one day and said, “don’t say that!” That had an impression on me.  Even if in my mind I’m completely disgusted with myself I refrain from that kind of talk in front of her.

If you’re unhappy with who you are, put the steps in place to make a change….a small one or maybe a big one like weight loss surgery.  You deserve to be the best you! I’m glad I saw this post today because I remember how deep my “weight wounds” go.  I am looking forward to my bariatric surgery consult in a couple weeks, but for now, I need to live my life and be happy with who I am.

How do you embrace you you are…faults and all?  How do you present yourself in front of the young people who are watching you?  Feel free to share!

-s

Fat clothes.

Dear Journal, 

It was something actually didn’t think would make a difference to me, but it did.  I wallowed all day so far in self pity because of it.  Today, I bought clothes second-hand from someone obesitywho for most of my life I referenced as fat.  (Now, I know that in today’s world of body positivity that’s a taboo word to use.  But, I’m not talking about calling her fat to her face; it is the voice in my head that recognizes different hair colors, eye colors, and other descriptors.  Let’s face it, we know when someone is a little fluffy.  Would I treat someone different because of that? No.  So you get my point)  Now, I was able to buy these clothes from her because since January she’s lost fifty pounds.  THAT is amazing.  I am so proud of her.  But, for me it put things into perspective a bit.  That person, who for much of my adult life I regarded as fat, was now much smaller than me, and her “fat clothes” were the perfect size for me.

It caused me to reflect on how I got here.  I’m good at playing the victim to my health, and even doctors tell me I have the cards stacked against me.  I’ve been told that even if I ran a marathon a day and ate perfectly balanced meals I still would have a hard time losing weight.  I have a wonderful combination of PCOS, endometriosis, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and an enzyme issue in my stomach.  All of these things led to depression and anxiety.  I’m in the process of working with an amazing team of doctors at Mayo Clinic – Rochester to decide if maybe I have gotten some incorrect diagnosis in the past that got me to this point.  We are looking into autoimmune issues and more.  I finally feel like I am in the best of care to get down to the bottom of whatever I have going on and gain back the remaining years of my 20s and better health for my future.  But, I have a “food problem” and with all this said, I am not innocent in my decline in health and addition of weight.  I love potato chips, and I love chocolate chip cookies. I occasionally binge on them when I’m stressed, having a really bad round with depression, or just because they taste good.

With all that said, I know I need to start making better decisions and I need to be realistic about my problems.  I can’t play the victim. I need to get over my “victim of by body” mindset especially as I look upon having gastric bypass.  My consult for that is coming up at the end of May, and to say I am nervous is an understatement. I also just can’t believe that this is where I am.  I never thought that I would be a candidate for a surgery like this and sitting here weighing out the pros and cons of a life changing surgery like this.  In my mind I go back and forth, back and forth.  It’s such a tough decision to make whether to proceed or not, but I can’t help but thinking it is a good choice to make.  I’ve failed on dozens of normal diets, worked my butt off, and spent thousands on “health trends”. When nothing changes after all of that, and you keep losing and gaining the same ten pounds, it’s easy to feel defeated.  Here’s to hoping this could be a positive change after some tears and pain.

Has anyone overcome binge eating tendencies?  Has anyone personally weighed out the pros and cons of weight loss surgery?  Share your thoughts below. 

-S

 

 

 

“What happened to her? She got so big.”

Dear Journal, 

fear-299679_960_720I’m not completely innocent in my weight gain, but between the effects of PCOS, hypothyroidism, depression, and anxiety, in the last two years I’ve packed on the weight. It’s a vicious cycle — get depressed, eat, gain weight, get anxious about weight gain, and repeat the cycle.

I was never thin, per say, but I was average for the better part of my teenage years and into my early twenties. I went from about 190 pounds in 2015 to 245 at the moment, and in high school I was probably about 170. (I’m 5′ 8″.)  At the current time, I’m working on me.  I’m working with a great staff of doctors on my hormones and exploring the benefits of gastric bypass.  But, in the meantime, I’m not myself.  I feel like my 20s are being robbed from me due to being “fat”.  I know people say you need to be positive about your body at all sizes, but that is much easier said than done.  I never understood the complete mental toll that weight gain can take on a person until it was me.

For example, I hate being social, and I hate social events.  I used to be the opposite of the way I am now.  I loved parties.  I loved people. I loved being an athlete and a cheerleader in high school.  Most of all, I loved Friday and Saturday nights because I could go out, socialize, and dance.  That’s all different now.  My doctors say that what I have now is social anxiety.  The only people I ever want to be around are my husband, my parents, my grandparents, and my best friend.  My husband goes to every social event alone that involve anyone other than those people — work events, military events, cookouts, parties, and more.  He always has to come up with an excuse when people ask why I am never with — she’s not feeling well, she had to work, the list goes on and on.  I guess you can’t say, “she’s feeling too fat to be in public”. I’m thankful he understands, but I’m sad that this is how things are.  As much as I want to go in my heart, I physically feel sick if I think that I will have to be around people who might be judging me about my weight.  Even family — I skip family events and holidays because when I leave I don’t want people saying, “What happened to her … she’s gotten so big.”  I heard someone say this once, and I think that is what put me in the place I am today.  They didn’t mean for me to hear those words, but I did.

This is a daily struggle of mine.  It is taking a toll on my marriage (I mean, people probably think my husband is single because I am never out with him), and it’s making my family resent me.  But, over the next few months when I wait for something back from my doctor’s about my next steps to better health, I refuse to let my social anxiety get the best of me, and I want to share what I am planning to do for a positive life change:

  1. Walk 30 minutes a day. It is good for mental clarity and maybe even a few pounds can be shed.
  2. Stop wallowing in self pity. I have pity parties for myself sometimes, but nothing ever gets better with that.  Time to pull up the big girl underwear and deal with it.
  3. Be accountable. While my health issues definitely contribute to my weight problems, I’m not innocent.  I need to be accountable for the things I do to myself.
  4. Do yoga and drink more water.  It makes your brain work better and makes you feel better. Yoga is said to calm the mind and soul!
  5. Recognize ‘the cycle’. As I mentioned above, I’m the product of the “get depressed, eat, gain weight, get anxious about weight gain, and repeat the cycle”.  If I can recognize when this is occurring, I can stop it and prevent the effects.

What do you do to overcome the issues that prevent you from living your life to the fullest? Share below!