Sick Is The New Healthy
Apparently sick is the new healthy for me.
So far 2012 has been an incredible improvement for me physically compared to the five previous years. Or, more correctly, it has been a huge improvement in the area of reducing pain. I still have what I’d like to call “hormonal issues” related to memory, fatigue, etc. but they are better by half, and straight up physical pain is about 20% of what it was a few years ago. Amazing.
And yet there are several indications that I am actually less healthy.
The first is that I now have a weight problem. In the past I had a cultural problem, I now have a weight problem. Five years ago I gained 20lbs in one year. It was not good since I had been at a healthy weight and it happened because I went from being fairly active to barely moving due to pain. But the weight was not much of a health problem in itself since I was simply at the very highest range of a healthy weight. I went from 6s being really loose to 8s being snug. I was the only one who really cared.
This time is different. I just went from being just barely a sortof “healthy” weight to solidly overweight. Physically, it is not healthy. Socially, I’ve crossed the line from a sort of neutral, not especially attractive/no one really notices my size, to a place where cultural judgments of sloth come in.
This summer I saw a pregnant friend and freaked out a little internally that maybe she had preeclampsia… because her face looked just like mine.
Then there is the whole fertility cycle thing. The main reason that I have been able to stay off the pill since February is that I simply have not had to live with the same hormonal fluctuations and pain that come with normal fertility for me. Part of it was most likely due to significantly increasing my running, but part of it is unexplained. I’m just not healthy.
About a month ago, on the same day that I learned that I had gained 20lbs in 9 months (a nice healthy pregnancy gain, right?) I also got the results from all the typical complete physical blood tests. Everything was perfect. That matched up nicely with p+7 results which the nurse proclaimed to be fabulous (apparently what I read as low average they read as excellent?). So I’m healthy?
I am also confident that it is really only 19.75lbs of fat gained because I have (very slight) muscle definition on my arms for the first time in my life. If I account for the burden of carrying all this excess weight around, then I am also the most fit that I have ever been in terms of running.
I know why I gained weight, so losing it should be easy. I gained weight because I am eating about 2000 calories a day now, compared to around 1,400/day a year ago.
The problem is that I like feeling better more than I dislike being overweight. Not that eating less would actually allow me to lose weight, but it might prevent me from gaining another 10lbs by the end of the year.
So the solution is clearly to go blind and then forget all knowledge of fertility awareness. Then I won’t have to deal with a few of the reminders that sick is the new healthy.
In the meantime I live in this really odd place of enjoying feeling better and trying to do everything I can to be healthier, while at the same time periodically freaking out because I can’t seem to grasp the fact that I really am this overweight.
- HHS Mandate And The Doctor Who Wouldn’t Give Me The Pill
- Moderate Romney and Abortion
We tend to be a lot harder on ourselves, I think, than we perceive society would be.
I’m at a place where size 8s are snug, right now. I miss loose size 6s…but, in all actuality, there’s really only about 5 lbs. of fat sitting around my waist that I truly despise…and I’m about 10 runs, 6 Zumba classes, and a few nights of skipping dinner away from my normal.
We are so much more than what we weigh. Mindy Kaling says, “Being called fat is not like being called stupid or unfunny.” A good personality is a much better asset than a svelte figure. Every time.
I just want to give you a hug. I wish I could talk all this away but I don’t know enough physical data about you to say so. I will say that in the pictures I have seen of you, you were absolutely tiny, and while I don’t know how 20 pounds looks, I definitely think your body could hold some more weight without being “fat.” Please stay healthy, Rae!
Rae, is it possible that you were underweight before? I am a size 14 right now (after having kids), and I was a size 10 when I got married. The smallest I have ever been (at an unhealthy overdieting point in my teens) was a size 8. Me at a size 6 would be scary looking, my body is just curvy, and I feel really good at about a size 12. You may not be used to being a size 8, but it sounds like your body is doing really well with it. Perhaps it is a healthy weight gain? Maybe you aren’t sick and overweight, maybe you just need a new wardrobe. 1400 calories isn’t very much, if you are physically active at all (such as your increase in running) you probably need more than that. Don’t let the cultural bias and pressure for women to be tiny inflence how you feel about your weight.
I could write a book on weight and going up and down and feeling healthy vs. feeling unhealthy. I also refuse to step on a scale or buy clothing bigger than what I own right now (I saw a number about a year ago that made me so disappointed in myself at the same time I was buying a size I swore I’d never buy).
So, I started running and eating healthier. No counting calories, no not eating something I wanted (except gluten, but that’s for other reasons), and no obsessing over the scale – in fact, I very very rarely weigh myself. I eat pretty healthy and the not so healthy stuff I keep in moderation.
I have lost about 20 pounds (I only know this b/c I have to go to the doctor), but my clothes fit like I’ve lost way more than that – in fact, my clothes fit better (and the smaller size) long before I saw the # on the scale go down. It’s because I was building muscle while burning fat. I see it in my legs that jiggle less when I run, my arms don’t have arm flaps, etc.
I say all this to echo some of the others in encouraging you to not get hung up on the scale (scales are evil IMHO) or clothing size for that matter. I’m a loose 12, might fit into a 10 now, but I honestly don’t care anymore. I feel better. I have energy. I am stronger. I may never be a size 6 (never have been before in fact) and I’ve learned to be OK with that.
My last 2 cents is, if you must worry about a number, have you ever had your BMI checked (by a professional :))? That # is a bigger indicator of health than weight.
You are beautiful dear friend – and health is waaaaaay more important than a # on a scale or on your tag (I had a friend who cut all the tags out of her clothes :)). Be kind to yourself, you deserve it and are worth it!
What Rebecca said.
Do what you need to do to be healthy, and don’t worry about the scale. Eat what you need to and exercise how you need to. If you are feeling better and your bloodwork is good, and your doctors are saying that you are healthier, and you are more fit than you have ever been, then your doing the right thing.
I don’t know, but I think there may be something to the idea that you were underweight/undereating before. You do look tiny in your pictures. If this is true, if the weight gain seems unusual, then it may be a fluctuation that will level itself out.
My heart goes out to you. I know you are going through a lot with your health issues. But if it makes you feel any better, by blogging about them in the way that you do, you really have helped a lot of people. Health problems, faith, and fertility, aren’t things that are talked about very often, and I appreciate that you have shared your story.
I just don’t know what to say. I understand that you are saying that you FEEL really much better even though you aren’t WELL. Maybe it is true that wellness comes in all different ways, but I don’t know if that is a comfort to you.
I am continually astonished at the physical sufferings that you endure, and I know there are social ones that come along with them, too, which may even be more painful for all I know.
This is your reality, and yet it is also your reality that you are very much loved and cherished, and especially so by Josh. I hope that knowledge gives you some measure of peace, as you seem (from your other recent post) to be aware that not everyone is given that gift.
You may be surprised to hear that this post has offered me a lot of hope. Our physiques may be quite different but you and I–and everyone else–each have our distinct sufferings to endure, yokes tailor-made for our sanctification. This post has reminded me to thank God for mine, however pointless or heavy they may seem. Because they don’t always feel easy or light, do they.
I mean that though everyone is not given the gift of being or feeling loved and cherished, they are still given other gifts appropriate to their situation. I don’t mean to make you feel guilty that you have something that someone else may not, that’s not what I intended. Because others–everyone–is a recipient of grace and gift, wrapped up beautifully and uniquely for them.
What you wrote has reminded me to be grateful for what I have, and also grateful for what I do not–neither of which is accidental.