Saturday, January 24, 2015

But What if They're Right?

This is not a post about losing weight.  This is also not a post about not losing weight.  This is a post about my complicated feelings about the only body I will ever have (I mean, as long as we stay non-existential here).  I will be telling you how much I weigh and how I feel about that.  Disclosing my weight is not an act of bravery, as far as I'm concerned.  Much like my age (39), my weight is merely a number.  It does not represent who I am.  It does not assign value to my life.  It does not increase or decrease my worth as a human being.  It does not tell you what I do in my spare time.  It does not tell you how and what I eat.  It does not tell you whether or not I have a degree.  It does not automatically mean that I am unhealthy or gluttonous or slovenly or lazy or unintelligent.  You may see me but you do not know who I am just by looking at me.
For years, my team of health care professionals have been telling me that [insert medical issue] will be significantly helped and might even go away altogether if I just lose some weight.  My primary care doctor.  My gynecologist.  My endocrinologist.  My psychiatrist.  My therapists.  My physical therapist.  My podiatrist.  My dentist.  Ok, I made that last one up, but you get the picture, right?  I sometimes feel like it wouldn't matter what I was seeking advice for.  "Yes, that hangnail is infected, but if you were able to lose even just 10% of your body weight.....", says Dr. Healthcare.  It makes things more complicated when you throw PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) into the mix.  After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I asked the doctor if PCOS is the result of being fat or if I had gained so much weight because of the PCOS and she, very honestly, told me that they really don't know.  Its the classic case of the chicken or the egg, so to speak.  They know there is a correlation between PCOS and weight but they haven't been able to pin down which causes the other. or how and why they are related for some women and not others.  The studies have shown that, those with PCOS who are also fat, have an extremely difficult time losing weight.  Great, thanks biology!
I've posted before about the fact that I am not so ignorant or in such denial as to think that weighing 321 pounds doesn't have an impact on my health.  I know that the arthritis in my knees would likely not be there at all if my weight hadn't been 250 pounds and more for the last decade and a half.  I can't say, however, that I can clearly see the same A to B direct connection between my fat body and, say, the mass on my adrenal gland or the nodules in my lungs, but hey, I can't prove that they are unrelated either.  So...what if they're right?
I've been submerging myself in the increasing online presence of the Body Love and Fat Acceptance community.  Thinking about actively trying to lose weight, on the advice of my doctors, leaves me feeling like a hypocrite and a trader to my newfound virtual family of fat-positive people.  BUT...when you look at the words that comprise Body Love....Body love your body regardless of the way it looks...what better way to love your body than to take proper care of it?  Is it still hypocrisy now?  Please don't misunderstand me.  I am still 100% behind the basic philosophy behind these progressive movements.  Much like feminism, I believe that everyone has the right to be seen and treated like a human being; with respect and allowing them to maintain dignity and feel joy and happiness...regardless of what they look like.  I also like to believe that, incorporated in these movements, is the inherent right to change your body without it being frowned upon by your peers.  If you celebrate the new color of my hair or the way I look in my outfit of the day, I won't understand if you berate me if my next photo shows that I have lost some weight.
Woven into the cloth of that philosophy is overall acceptance, on a very basic level.  Putting into words that I am contemplating making a change to my lifestyle, with the intention of losing weight, makes me feel like I will lose my new online support system within the FA community.  And that makes me feel sad and guilty.  If and when I make the choice to consciously attempt to shed some pounds, I promise to not write about it here...because that isn't what this blog is for.  I promise not to tout the praises of kale.  I promise not to present you with a list of what I've eaten.  I promise not to rehash the intensity of my workout, while calling you "Beyotches" and accusing you of sitting around on your "fat asses" while I've been sweatin' to the oldies.  I promise not to post the amount of weight I've lost or if I'm struggling to stay on track.  This blog isn't about any of that.  I don't know about you, but I find zero motivation or "love" in social media content like that.  I find it insidious and condescending and incredibly unhelpful.  Much like the new commercials for Weight Watchers....seriously...."If you're happy and you know it have a snack."  Really?
Anyway....I think that, while there is so much historical medical rhetoric that teaches physicians that fat is bad and the root of most (or all) health problems, how can it all be untrue?  You have to ultimately listen to your own body and what it's telling you.  Blood tests and physical exams can tell you biological data about your body, and that is valuable information to have.  There are things that you can't deny, things that have been proven through years of medical studies and research.  Although I find value in science, I also vow to re-learn how to listen to my body.  That is my first step.  I don't know what that step will lead to...I am not making any promises to myself other than to start paying attention.  I will continue to use science as my ally as I read and research all about my body and what keeps it working.  Because....what if they're right?
Would I take their advice more to heart if they looked like this?  Eh, probs not, but I might go see them more often. (Image via)


Be nice, now.