Thursday, December 30, 2010

Urg, losing weight - it's not simple

I had a doctor's appointment recently, which ended with the lecture many of us probably hear from our doctors on a fairly regular basis.  You know, the "you really need to start exercising regularly" lecture.  In my case, my doctor is also able to throw in the "you want to live a long life for your kids, they need you to be healthy" aspect of this particular lecture.

I like this particular doctor.  I've been seeing her for over a decade, and even though I only see her once a year, there is some level of "meeting of the minds" with her.  Also, as a doctor she is only doing what she is logically supposed to do, and she does it not only because of that but also because I sense she does genuinely care about the overall health of her patients.  So I took all of that into account that day.


But I still left the office building feeling pretty cra**y.  I'm tired of this lecture.  The issues/concepts/processes of losing weight and taking better care of myself are so convoluted and complex!  I know they probably are for everyone out there.  In addition, no matter how much my doctor might care about the overall health of her patients, she still only sees me one time a year, which means she doesn't know anything about ME, my daily life, the emotional/mental tangles which make up my daily existence.  I could probably grab only one detail out of her entire monologue (and it was that - there was no conversation about the state of my life) that might be doable in my current circumstances.  And I truly did not need her to comment that I especially needed to take care of myself because I have a special-needs child who will need me for a long time to come, because I can take care of her better than anyone else......REALLY???  No kidding.  Wow, I have never thought about that, doctor.  No, I don't lay awake at night, or have momentary episodes of blind panic some days, gripped with wrenching fear about who would take care of K and S should something happen to my husband or me.  Thanks for that reminder, doctor, especially coming from you, who has NO concept of what special-needs-parenting is like and whose children are grown and who, as a doctor, probably had a nanny raising her children for most of their young lives anyway.  Thanks for that. 

I think that physicians in general, in their effort to look after the general health of their patients, sometimes forget that people don't live in a vacuum.  They can't reasonably drop everything and spend every waking moment tending to the state of their health, even if their health is in a truly terrible phase.  Humans have so much going on in their daily round - work, grocery shopping, laundy, keeping up with relationships, housekeeping, carkeeping, the paperwork of life - we all know it is so easy to make poor eating choices and to also let the days slip by, one after the other, without any kind of exercise.  Heck, I would have to think back a couple days at least to figure out when I last ate a fresh vegetable or fruit!!  And exercise for usually just doesn't even hit my radar on a daily basis.  Even so, do I know it is extremely important to keep myself healthy, not only for my childrens' sake, but also so that when they someday are more independent and don't need me as much, I have the health and energy to do some of the things I have been putting off? Of course I know this. 

But there is another strange little quirk in my head, which is an aspect of losing weight I find hard to deal with.  Losing weight is so.....public!  It is so obvious to people that you're losing weight, and it's a good thing so of course they want to compliment you on your efforts.  There's nothing wrong with this at all, and it would be weird if I did lose weight and nobody noticed!  I guess it's a quirky thing for me only because I'm much more of a private person than I think I am, and so I'm not always comfortable with compliments/comments on my physical appearance.  And of course if people notice that you've lost weight, they are going to notice also if you gain it back, so it creates a kind of social additional layer of mental/emotional stress in the whole process.  So I've been trying to resolve this quirk somehow.  Losing weight is more about lifestyle changes than just losing weight, so I think if I lose weight very slowly, it won't be such a shock to those around me.  I have to do it slowly anyway, because any time I've ever thrown myself into exercising/losing weight I've done it too fast and hurt myself!  I'm too old for that!!  There's so much other stuff going on in my life, that to add exercising into the daily mix, it has to be a slow and steady thing, small increments, anyway.

Which kind of leads me to the topic of New Year's Resolutions...which is another post!

Later y'all,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ha! I totally relate to your comment about weight loss being public, Jen. Occasionally, I'll wear a particular outfit or two to work, and I'll be met with that supposed-to-be-a-compliment-but-really-an-insult comment: "Have you lost some weight?" Um, no, and I wasn't trying, but good to know that you think I should be!

Everybody has a vice or a coping mechanism. I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I can't afford to take extravagant vacations (and I'm pretty sure you don't do any of those things to excess, either, Jen) forgive me for eating a Ho-Ho or six at the end of a day with the kids! You do what you have to do to keep your sanity (and, frankly, to enjoy life...Ho-Hos are tasty!), and forget other people's judgments of your physical appearance and their assumptions about your level of health or happiness.

The irony is that one of the thinnest people I know also has terrible eating habits: She lives on Diet Coke and chocolate. I know that one unhealthy lifestyle does not excuse another...Still, I doubt her doctor had "The Talk" about getting healthier for her kids. Food for thought. (But choose that food carefully, Jen. Make sure it's an apple for thought, not a chocolate cake for thought. You have to think healthy for your kids, after all.)

That is all.