It’s not just a scale conversation.

January 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve always struggled with my weight. I don’t have any qualms with saying that.

I think it’s unfortunate that 1/3 of Americans are overweight, yet we have these ridiculous expectations of beauty (thanks, Adobe Photoshop). We eat too much and yet think we need to be really thin. The worst part, though, is that nobody ever wants to talk about it, especially with the people they love. Being healthy is important, and we talk about it, but yet it’s not polite to comment on someone’s weight, even if it’s positive encouragement. For example, before I started actively trying to take responsibility for my health, my mother would talk to me about her concerns in terms of my eating habits, lack of exercise, etc. I would take it so offensively. Why is this the conversation? How can we rectify this?

I was a competitive swimmer in high school. I have never been ‘skinny’ (and I never will be) but I always exercised a lot and ate decently. I was (and looked) healthy. After my last swim season ended, in November 2009, I basically stopped exercising, besides walking my dog once in awhile. When I came home from my first year of college in June 2011 I could kind of tell that I had gained weight, but I didn’t really think about it. Before I left for my sophomore year I went to the doctor, and realized I had effectively gained 40 pounds since the middle of my senior year.

How in the hell had that happened? How did I not notice? Well, it’s obvious, I had barely exercised at school and ate garbage constantly. I had a boyfriend who showered me with affection and never commented on my weight. My mother wasn’t around. I also didn’t want to weigh myself because I was afraid of what the scale might say. I didn’t want to notice.

Since January 2012, I’ve lost 30 of those pounds. I was lucky to have my father to support me as he made a weight loss journey of his own (he’s lost at least 50 and looks amazing, seriously). I learned how to eat well. I trained for a 5K and ran it. I took control of my body.

Once my fall semester started I exercised less. I was able to maintain my weight, but I stopped losing. I was satisfied with this at first, until I went to my doctor in December and got on the scale. She was visibly impressed with my much lower number than the last time I had been in her office and congratulated me, told me to keep doing what I was doing. That was it. It was cool for a few minutes, and then after we moved down the chart I realized it wasn’t enough. I asked her to calculate my BMI. I was still 18 pounds over where I should be for my height. She wouldn’t have told me if I hadn’t asked, probably to spare my feelings.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my doctor. But SHE IS MY DOCTOR. Was she trying to spare my feelings? Maybe she figured that I knew I needed to lose more and didn’t need to tell me. But what if I didn’t? She wouldn’t spare my feelings if I had cancer, or an STD. But because I’m a little chubby she needs to spare my feelings. This is ridiculous. I’m lucky I’m smart and in control of my life. But what if I was genuinely oblivious about health and wellness? What if I had nobody to talk to me, not even my family, and apparently not my doctor? What would happen to me? Would I blimp up to 400 pounds and die at age 45 due to 12 clogged arteries? Why are we not having this conversation!?!

I am not afraid of what I weigh. That does not mean I’m satisfied with it, but I’m not afraid of the number. It’s mine. I can own it. I can make it lower if I want to. I need to lose 18 more pounds to be at the healthiest BMI. I will lose that weight. I just hope that everyone that’s in my situation has the tools, knowledge and support to take on these tasks themselves. This has never been about vanity. I was cute at my smallest, I was cute at my heaviest, and I’m still cute now. My life is at stake here. Maybe not today, maybe not ten years from now, maybe not even twenty. But whatever I die from, I want it to be something that was out of my control – not something I could have changed easily at age 20 by running a few times a week.

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