Okay, this is uncalled for. I mean really. This is something up with which I will not put. I have been wronged, and I am pissed as all get-out.
Just yesterday I went to the doctor for my periodic check on my thyroid, that little gland that has been known to misbehave on occasion (or, okay, my entire life). I wasn’t apprehensive or anything. My thyroid has become accustomed to walking sedately on its Armour-controlling leash, so I wasn’t expecting any health-related surprises. Plus I actually enjoy going to my doctor. She’s smart, she’s nice, she’s mellow. And she saved my life by knowing how to recognize hypothyroidism when she sees it and, you know, actually treating my illness. (The whole sordid, thyroid-run-amok story is here.) Bonus happy-inducing goodies: her office is painted in wonderfully soothing shades of pale green and lavender, she sells great high-quality supplements, and her staff members are all friendly and caring.
Best of all, being weighed is optional. Seriously. My doctor likes to check patients’ weight every once in a while, but not every time we set foot in her office. Bless her.
But I had been on a low-carb diet to control my body’s unpleasant relationship with gluten, lower my blood sugar, and lose some pounds, and I was curious as to how I was doing. So I said sure, I’ll be weighed.
Big mistake. Big. Like my ass, apparently.
I had been tracking my weight-loss progress for several months using my scale at home. It wasn’t the best scale, but it was accurate enough…I thought. According to that home scale, which shall now be known officially as The Liar, I had lost 12 lbs. and then gained back a couple. Then my weight loss stalled. Not great, but not awful. Every little bit counts, of course. It was something. I thought.
And then my doctor’s assistant announced brightly, “181!” (YES that’s me sharing my official weight. If you didn’t think we were friends before now, that little admission right there proves you are my BFF.)
When I came to, crawled to a chair, and reset my ankle, a casualty of my having fallen off the scale platform, I started wailing. “But that’s impossible! My home scale said I was 175!” (Yes, I’ve been so desperate to lose weight that even 175 looked good to me.) Ah, the five stages of grief. I believe that marks the first one—denial. Oh look, and here comes the second—anger. “That is so not fair! I’ve been sticking to my diet!” And now number three—bargaining: “Wait. What’s the date? Maybe I’m retaining water. It’s coming up on my time of the month. Can I come back after Aunt Flo’s gone?”
The fourth stage, depression, stayed with me as I moved to the exam room. Not even the pretty wallpaper border or the amusing novel I’d brought along could shake that. The fifth stage, acceptance, eluded me. In fact, I was having a hell of a time accepting how fat I really am. Even with the calibrated medical scale’s slider weights staring me in the face.
So when my doctor came in and cheerfully pointed out the great thyroid and vitamin D levels on my blood work, all I could do was complain about my weight. I told her how I had followed my usual low-carb diet to the letter (well, mostly—I will cop to having had ice cream a few times during the summer; I can’t lie to my blog-readers who most likely have read my entry about Friendly’s, after all). Goddess love my doctor, she never interrupts and accuses me of obscuring incriminating evidence like a twice-daily Snickers bar habit or anything (oh yes, other doctors have), and she didn’t now. She just looked at me serenely as I rambled on about how, okay, I don’t belong to a gym or anything, but I do do all of the housework and the yardwork—including mowing a ridiculously large lawn with a push mower, weeding incessantly as I seem to grow more weeds than plants, etc., and it’s just not fair…
When I paused for breath, she didn’t miss a beat, just said, “Well, there’s always HCG,” and handed me a pamphlet.
I grabbed it faster than Kate Winslet grabbed that piece of wood in the ice-laden waters of the Atlantic. My eyes bugging out as I stared hungrily at the name of the product, Releana, I muttered like a crazy woman, “Wait…I’ve heard of this. I’ve heard of this! Someone I know was talking about this a few months ago online. She lost a ton of weight. Does this really work? Does it?”
Ah who’m I kidding, asking if it worked. Billy Mays could have risen from the dead like a hyperactive zombie and lied to me through his large, infomercial-ready teeth that it would take 100 lbs. off my frame in a week, litter-train my cat, and paint the new steps on my house, and I’d believe it. I already believed it (except the litter-training part—nothing in this world will ever convince my cat to use a litter box).
My doctor said, “This will work, but the procedure and the eating plan are strict. And, well, it’s kind of expensive.”
In? Hell, I was practically licking the pamphlet. Expensive? That’s what charge cards are for. I was ready to enter the magic world of HCG treatments.
HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotrophin, a hormone that affects metabolism (something my body has no recollection of). A little bit of the liquid under the tongue twice a day (along with aherence to a no-fat, no-sugar diet) allegedly melts off the pounds, and for the most part they stay off when the diet is over with.
Sounds too good to be true? I’ll let you know. Because within minutes of my doctor mentioning the stuff, I was back in the foyer, burning a hole in that credit card in order to take home one of the tiniest bottles I’d ever seen.
Silly? I’ll be the judge of that. But you know, I have to say I didn’t really have a choice. No, nobody was holding a gun to my head and forcing me to take out that second mortgage on my house to pay for the stuff, except…except for my own judgmental self.
I have struggled with my weight all my life. I was normal as a small child, then my thyroid went wackadoodle when I was in elementary school and I became obese. As a teenager I swung the other way and went hyperthyroid and was underweight. Once again my weight was normal when I was a young adult, and then that damned thyroid went insane again when I was in my 30s, culminating in my current vomit-inducing weight of 181 pounds that The Liar had so effectively hidden from me.
Put a tent over it, and my abdomen can be used as a bounce house. My chin is a mere memory. I have collected my inheritance of swinging batwing arms from my dear departed grandmother. (Thanks loads, Grandma. You know, some grandparents leave their grandchildren money, precious jewelry…but noooo…)
Am I the largest of the large? Of course not. Is my health in danger? Not according to my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers. Am I so hideous I must cower in an underground lair and play tunes in a minor key on a massive pipe organ? Not even close. I don’t even make babies cry when I smile at them. And yet…and yet.
I remember when I could fit into clothes that were sized in the single digits. I remember when my thighs didn’t have their own zip code. I remember when I could look in the mirror and like what I see.
But I don’t now. I hate the way I look.
I hate myself.
Yes, I know. Health, family, beautiful son, personality, talent, blessings, blah blah blah. I know.
Doesn’t matter. Because as we have all been so very carefully taught, no woman is worth anything unless she weighs less than a bag of flour. After all, even “plus-size” models are only a size 10.
And I am weak. I admit that. I succumb to the peer pressure in modern media, all the while knowing it’s ridiculous. I should enjoy the fact that my hip circumference is like Christina Hendricks’ (Mad Men), but instead I wish I looked like the stick insects that haunt the Paris runways.
So yeah, I’m pissed as all get-out. And it is something up with which I will not put. And I am even willing to add to my family’s debt load to take care of it.
Now the question is, will I be satisfied once I lose the 25 lbs. my doctor and I set as my goal (a modest one, as, according to the BMI chart, I should lose twice that amount)? Do I truly believe I will finally find happiness in the numbers on a scale, in my promised leaner reflection?
You bet I do. How sad is that?