Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So How Much Have You Lost?

Since beginning my commitment to Health at Every Size about a year ago, I've gone through a noticeable transformation. As my overall health has improved, my body has shrunken some along the way. Also, as my energy level continues to rise, my overall demeanor has improved. I’ve always been able to force a smile or fake my way through cheerfulness long enough to make water cooler small talk before returning to the dark recesses of my innermost thoughts (think Eeyore, but with lots more cussing), but now that I’m fueling my body with healthy foods a good 80% of the time and exercising regularly, I’m having more moments of genuine cheerfulness. (Don’t worry, I still have routine bouts of crippling depression/anxiety and will always be fluent in Sarcasm. I’m still me, gosh darn it!)
That whole first paragraph is feebly attempting to say that I am changing, and people are noticing. The attention mostly comes in the form of, “Wow!! You look great!! How much have you lost?”
Now, as a lifelong fatty I’ve always bristled a little at that question. While it is intended as a compliment, the underlying message comes across as, “OH THANK GOD YOU’RE GETTING LESS FAT! I shall mark your progress on the chart I secretly keep of you!! Now what are the numbers?” My inner voice, the one that sounds like Joan Rivers, usually likes to add some comments for extra flavor. “See? Everyone notices how fat you are. They’ll notice when you never reach your goal. And they’ll notice when you gain everything back. Face it, Sweetie. You’re just not ever going to be good enough - and everyone knows it.”
Stupid inner voice. I'd smack a bitch if she weren't encased within my own head. Self-induced concussions are never a good thing.
Anyhoo, my quest for better health includes better emotional health (mind-body wellness, yadda yadda yadda). So I have made the decision to greet the positive attention in the spirit in which it is offered. People generally mean well, and they want to be all encouragy and whatnot, so I make an effort to appreciate the supportive intentions of my adoring public. The only thing is, I don’t have a satisfactory answer for them when they ask me how much I’ve lost. The exchange usually goes something like this:
Well-Meaning Citizen (WMC): Wow!! You look great!! How much have you lost?
Me: Thank you so much! I honestly don’t know.
WMC: <looks confused>
Me: <big ol’ friendly smile>
WMC: *blink blink*
Me: <big ol’ friendly smile>
WMC: Oh, you mean you don’t know how much you’ve lost this week? When’s your weigh-in?
Me: No, I mean I don’t really know how much I’ve lost at all. I haven’t been on the scale since some time in February.
WMC: <looks confused>
Me: <big ol’ friendly smile>
WMC: Aren’t you dying to know???
Me: Nope. I hate the scale. The numbers never make me happy, only anxious, sad, and confused. I don’t want to risk going into “screw it” mode. As long as I feel energetic and strong, I know I’m on the right track.
WMC: Ohhhh, I’ve never thought about it like that before!
And so one more WMC is educated on just a small piece of Health at Every Size. (And tonight, Pinky, we will try to take over the world!!)
The truth is, I only get on the scale when people make me. I go for blood work and routine checkups a few times a year. Years of avoiding exercise and consuming fat-laden comfort foods that are infused with high fructose corn syrup (which is in just about everything that is cheap and convenient, by the way), combined with my ancestors’ medical profiles and high doses of extreme life stress, have led to my developing (oh no!! don’t say it!! you’ll scare the children…  and confirm stereotypes!!) The Diabeetus. And high blood pressure. And by not taking The Diabeetus and high blood pressure seriously enough at first, I developed (shit, I hate confessions) kidney disease.
Le Sigh
Oh, Sassyfats!!! You naughty, naughty girl!! You are what’s wrong with America today!! Your fat ass is driving up the cost of health care!! It’s also making me want to shield my eyes!!! You need to looooooose weigggggght!!
Geezy peezy, People! Chill out. AS I WAS SAYING, the same behaviors and genetics that made me sick also made me as fat as I was. When I first started half-assedly taking better care of myself about five years ago, my blood sugar and blood pressure stabilized. I lost 30lbs right away and have kept it off ever since. For those of you not well-versed in obesity statistics, that lil’ piece of information right there qualifies me as an official weight loss success story. Unfortunately, I’m still too fat for anyone to be all joyous about it.

That is SO! NOT! FAIR!!
Ok, half-assedly taking care of myself led to borderline acceptable lab results and the loss of maybe one chin. But, wait! There’s more! When I got some decidedly unhappy lab results about a year ago and subsequently discovered Health at Every Size, I started WHOLE-assedly taking care of myself. In doing so, I got dramatic results:
  • The Diabeetus: Daily blood sugar readings are excellent, A1C is in the normal range, and I’ve cut my insulin needs by about 40%.
  • Blood Pressure: Readings are consistently in the normal range.
  • Kidney Disease: Has been totally reversed. No sign of it in my lab work, but I still see the nephrologist every 6 months just to be sure.
  • Weight: I dunno. Two months ago my doctor’s scale said I’d lost about 12 lbs since Christmas. Around the same time my trainer’s body composition scale said I’d lost fat and gained muscle, but I don’t really remember the numbers. 
Healthy behaviors lead to healthier bodies. In my case, since my body was carrying more weight than it really wanted to, the healthier behavior has also led to weight loss. Honestly, I kinda like it. But I'm not aiming for some number on the scale to feel successful. As long as I feel energetic and strong – and continue to get good lab results – I know I’m on the right track. Shouldn’t that be what really matters?  

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