My running group has a practice of taking our weight and measurements once a month. We record these numbers as a way to measure our physical progress, and to decide if our training is working. On November 1, 2011, I stepped on the scale and saw the number 129. I remember being ecstatic. I had finally broken thru the plateau of 133 (I had been there for months) and was a smidge below my goal weight of 130. Moreover, I knew that I was the fittest and healthiest that I had ever been, as I had reached the number thru balanced workouts (running/strength/stretching) and healthy eating.
December came, and the scale was up a few pounds. I chalked it up to overindulgence at Thanksgiving and kept going. The scale kept creeping up. On January 4, 2012, my company launched a “Biggest Loser Contestant”. I decide to play along as a way to lose what I thought was a few extra pounds from the holidays. Imagine my shock (and shame) when I stepped on the scale and saw 144 – a 15 pound gain in two months.
I spent a few days moping, thinking “Did my eating get that out of control over the holidays?”. Then I got mad – mad at myself, mad at the scale, just mad. Finally, I channeled my anger into a laser-like focus. I told my running group that the intensity of our workouts was about to increase – and they did. I gave up my diet sodas and the occasional splurge meal – but the scale remained the same.
February, March, and April all came and went with no changes.
May came and I became to experience horrific stomach issues. I will spare you all the gory details. But at one point, I was so bloated, my father-in-law asked if I was pregnant. Frustrated with my body, I went to see my doctor. When I expressed my concern over the weight gain and my inability to lose it, she was dismissive. “You are in the healthy weight range for your height, so don’t worry about it.”
And given that I was diagnosed with serious stomach issues and depression, I tried not to. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not right. I knew my body, I had spent years learning what made it respond, and suddenly it wasn’t. I wanted to scream “SOMETHING IS BROKEN. LISTEN TO ME. FIX THIS.”
Instead, I kept silent.
And the scale, kept climbing.
As my 30 birthday loomed, I felt myself getting more depressed. I had wanted to celebrate this milestone birthday as “fit” – but instead I turned 30 feeling “fluffy” and “uncomfortable in my own skin”. As August came and went, FitBloggin loomed ahead of me. I found myself trying to find excuses not to go. Why should I go to a health and fitness bloggers conference – I was not the picture of health and fitness. My friends and family encouraged me to see another doctor – and to keep seeing doctors until someone listened. They too had seen the changes to my body – and agreed that something was not right.
So at the beginning of September, I saw my new doctor. For nearly an hour, he sat and listened to my struggle (by this point my weight had reached 153). We discussed my eating habits, my activity, my depression. I wanted to cry tears of relief when he said “Kim, you are healthy. But as your doctor, I don’t just take care of your health. I ensure your quality of life. This weight gain is impacting your quality of life. Let’s fix it.”
We came up with a game plan. I would spend 1 month taking an appetite suppressant – just to make sure that I was not overestimating the amounts that I eat, I would keep my workouts the same, and then we would follow-up. My doctor’s theory is that the scale is not going to change much if at all. Then we will have the proof we need to justify further testing to my insurance company (aww..the joys of modern medicine and health insurance).
I went to Fitbloggin feeling a bit better – as if there is a light at the end of the weight loss tunnel. However, as I sat thru amazing session after session, and interacted with inspiring people – I realized that the weight may not come off. And I had to ask myself, can I be happy where I am right now?
The answer is yes! I treat my body with respect more than I have ever done, I can run longer, lift more, and do things that I couldn’t do at 18 years old or when I weighed 129 pounds. So what’s that have to do with letting go?
Lots. First, I let go of all of my “skinny” clothes – clothes that fit when I weight 129 but have just hung in my closest for months – almost taunting me. They have been bagged up to be given to a friend who needs them. My closet is now full of clothes that fit the me I am now, and that make me feel good about myself. Second, I am letting go of weight related goals, and setting goals that focus more on overall fitness (I’ll be sharing those next week). And lastly, I am DONE feeling bad about my weight.
Maybe my doctor figures out the problem, fixes it, and the weight falls off. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, it will no longer impact how I view my worth. And I have my Fitbloggin Family to thank for that!
Have you ever struggled with an unexplained weight gain? Ever felt frustrated with a doctor because they didn’t take your concerns seriously?