I have always thought of myself as a fat kid. Always.
As an athlete, I was never the fast girl whose job it is to get on base and run. My job was to hit the ball really far so that that fast girls who were on base in front of me could score. I wasn’t super-fat. I know that, but I was definitely aware of the fact that I was not an outfielder or a short stop. I could play those positions competently, without making errors, but I didn’t have the range to play them if there were other tiny girls on the team. When I’m honest about it, I really just think of myself as on the edge of fat. I always out-ran the skinny girls over distances greater than or equal to a quarter of a mile, which meant something, but I still wanted to be agile and quick.
I went to the doctor a few months ago, which is actually a big deal. I hate going to the doctor. I hadn’t been in something like 7 years, because they seem to always shame me about something. Last time, the shaming had to do with my unwillingness to submit to invasive exams and tests aimed at identifying problems I almost certainly (like less than 1% chance) didn’t have. This time, the shaming was about my weight.
During the visit, my NP told me I was morbidly obese. Then she reached over and grabbed the extra flab on my tummy. Then she told me I was probably infertile and that she wanted to run a bunch of tests on my hormones along with doing normal lab work. She also wanted me to lose 60 lbs. by logging all of my calories and eating almost no carbohydrates, aka Atkins.
I went home and did some BMI research, and, realistically, I was something like 75 lbs short of morbidly obese. To put this into perspective, an adult male Golden Retriever might weigh 75 lbs. That’s the upper range of their weight. So now, picture Katie, running a marathon (which I did about 6 months prior to my doctor’s appointment) with a large, male Golden Retriever strapped to her stomach. That’s how absurd this whole thing was.
I decided to do an assessment of my weight for myself. If we start with a mild respect for the BMI, which I really don’t have, I was about 10lbs into the obese range. I’ll admit that I’m overweight. That’s what I mean when I say that I’m on the edge of fat kid… I have both a figurative and literal soft spot for caramel lattes, microwaved cheese crisps made with aged, sharp, and expensive cheddar, and good gelato. I know that. I also know that I can hold plank pose longer than even makes sense and I can run for more than an hour without too much trouble. Regardless, BMI said I was obese, so I decided I should probably lose weight – not 60 lbs, but maybe 20.
Then there was the hormone thing to deal with. NP felt pretty confident that I had a serious hormonal imbalance and needed to be put on the pill. When the labs came back, they showed that I’m really pretty healthy. I had a Vitamin D deficit and low HDL (the low HDL is very likely a genetic thing passed on by my father). Most of my other numbers were on the healthier side of normal. I had two hormones that were slightly out-of-whack, but those two are highly dependent upon what time of the month it is, so we’d need to test them a few more times to know what’s actually going on with them, and I really felt like the amount of out-of-whack they were exhibiting was negligible.
Basically, my Nurse Practitioner made it seem like I was on death’s doorstep when I’m really very healthy. She scared the hell out of me and completely shamed me… needlessly. She didn’t listen to anything I told her. I told her that I’m a really active individual. I’m a runner and a yogini (yogi?). I’d recently become a Vegetarian. I didn’t feel any aches or pains. I felt I’d had too much wine in 2015, so I hadn’t had any for several months. I didn’t have any noticeable symptoms of anything. What she heard was, “I’m in denial and I’m ashamed of my actual behaviors so I’m minimizing them to you.” I told her there was no way in hell I was going to download an app to count calories because I hate technology and would rather jump out of a moving vehicle than count all of my calories. She heard, “I’m lazy and intend to gain 5 lbs a year until I become completely bed-bound at the age of 55, needing a hoyer lift to transfer my morbidly obese body from bed to recliner.”
And the horrible thing about all of this is that I’m probably not going back to the doctor for another 7 years. I may try to talk myself into seeing someone else. Or I may just continue what I’m doing and harbor hatred and disrespect for PCPs, even though I know they don’t all suck.
Sidenote: the result of my own research is that I decided to lose 20 lbs. I’ve currently lost 13 (in about 11 weeks). If I gain back 3 of those lbs, I will again be obese, but, for now, I’m simply overweight.
How did I lose 13 lbs, you ask? I did not log any of my calories anywhere. I did not limit my carbohydrates to Atkins level of intake. I did continue drinking a caramel latte every morning. I did completely give up gelato, substitute cauliflower for rice, stop eating snacks, stop eating at 7:00 pm most nights, and add about an hour (maybe an hour-and-a-half) of workouts to my week. I did watch every documentary that exists about food and diet. I did limit myself to eating two meals a week that were prepared or cooked by someone other than me – this includes Chipotle and the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. I did spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food and what I was going to cook. I did read a ton of cook books and check out every Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, and Billy Blanks workout DVD the library has.
That’s what works for me, because in he 31 years I’ve known myself, I’ve figured out that I am not okay with giving up my morning caramel latte. I’d rather spend the entire day fasting from all solid foods than give up my latte. I am okay with working out all the time. I’m also okay with cooking all of my meals myself. I am not okay with phone apps.
I just wish healthcare professionals brought a sense of creative problem solving and diversified care to the table. It’s almost as if they believe I am the same as every other person who has a high BMI. It’s as if they don’t understand how much I feel like life is not worth living without a good latte… as if they don’t understand that there is an uncountable number of variables that impact a person’s body weight… as if they believe there is only one way to skin a cat.