It's Not about the Mirror
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
On MLK Day, I ended up with a fever - shivering and feeling that horrible start to a sore throat. It's damn near been a month since that day, and still, I wake up congested and absolutely dead tired, even though I've slept well. I'm not sure if I need to go BACK to the doctor's (would be the third time for whatever the hell I got), but that's not the story I want to get into today.
Ever since I've started this journey, I could count on one hand how many times I'd been sick. Last year, I was sick I think twice; the year before (2018) maybe the same. But previously, I recall being sick way more - so much so that my mom would worry and fret.
As I'm sick now, I think to myself, "Good gracious, if I'm sick and this bad at my current state, how much worse would I have been back in 2012 or even 2017?" I try to think of myself, at nearly 270 pounds or 235 pounds battling whatever it is that has afflicted me, and I wonder how much worse it would have been.
When we talk about weight, unfortunately, I feel the topic is almost always about societal norms. I don't look like Jennifer Lopez, therefore, I am gross and need to lose weight. The magazines show Beyonce or Jennifer Lawrence or Helen Mirren or Julia Roberts, and these women are positively gorgeous - while I am a flabby bean bag, slopped on my couch eating Oreos while watching Ellen DeGeneris (I remember the joke, back when Oprah still had her show, about watching Oprah discuss health issues and eating Oreos).
What we ought to be discussing in regards to weight instead is health. At 270 or 235 pounds, I was absolutely not healthy. I had acne, I had sleep apnea, my blood pressure was high, I was most likely pre-diabetic (I will never know, as I was ashamed of going to a doctor), I was more inclined to illness, my knees hurt, my back hurt, I threw up more often, my periods were more painful and lasted longer, I was winded after a single flight of stairs, I wasn't active in the slightest - the list of things that were worse when I was heavier is a mile long, and I didn't even get into the more superficial reason (it was harder to find clothes, I had trouble bending over).
As obesity rates rise and the current threat of a pandemic over the coronavirus creeps upon us, we have to start thinking longer term. Of course, we shouldn't shame anyone for having a larger body - no amount of shaming ever made me more inclined or willing or able to lose weight (and in fact, kept me from going to the doctor's and getting much needed care for many, many years). That said, we can't be under the delusion that some of us are just big and there will be Zero repercussions for the added 50, 75, 100, 150, 200+ pounds we are carrying.
In addition, the articles I've read about being heavy suggest that people who have been heavier for more of their lives (ahem, me) will have a harder go at it. Unfortunately, my body has spent more time obese than normal or overweight. It will want to stay at a higher weight AND I've probably already lost years of my life from living in a heavier body and stressing out my internal organs. I can see the stress of my body in the many stretch marks on my arms, my breasts, my stomach, my legs - although I can't see my internal organs, I know they also bear the signs of years of abuse.
I guess my point in today's post is a call to Do This For Your Health. This is a tough journey, because we have temptations all around us, from fast food on every corner, to friends and family who don't share our own concerns (either because they don't care themselves or they have never had to worry about weight). Society is content to sell us both packages - here's the food and here's the diet program/drugs also! Conveniently, all you have to do is fork over your money, and bam, they'll sell anything to you!
But we are important. We deserve good health. We deserve to treat our bodies with respect and dignity and love - and that sometimes comes in the form, not of giving ourselves cake and cookies and donuts and ice cream, but in avoiding cake and cookies and donuts and ice cream and instead providing nutritious meals and fun ways to move. This is the only body we have...and I plan on staying in mine for awhile. :)