This is a post I never thought I would be writing. It is not a post I ever wanted to write. However, it is one I feel I need to write. I try to be open and honest on this blog as much as I can be. By holding this back, I feel I am not being completely honest. There are things that are far worst in the world, but for me this is something that has really affected my mental health and overall outlook.
In December I went to the doctor for a routine check-up. Just my normal, yearly physical exam. At the appointment my doctor talked to me about my slightly high blood pressure and asked if I would be interested in weight management services. It was a nice conversation, but there was no conclusive diagnosis or statement of “you need to loose weight.”
Fast forward to the middle of March. I had to go back to the doctor so I could get a prescription filled and while I was there they set me up in their online system. When I got home I logged in and was poking around since I had never seen this patient portal before. I click a section and there it was. A little note that the patient is morbidly obese.
I was taken aback. I just stopped and stared for what felt like forever. I did not know how to wrap my head around it. For the rest of the day it almost felt like I was moving through a fog. This may seem like a bit of an over reaction, but it felt like a lifetime of an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise brought me to this point.
Despite this rollercoaster of a relationship with my weight, I never even thought it possible to enter into the “obese” or “morbidly obese” categories. I had a misconception that those terms only applied to a select few. I didn’t realize how common it is and how easy it is to get to that place.
I have struggled with my weight for much of my life. My weight is something I have been self conscious of since I was in middle school. Through about seventh grade, I had been fairly active. I did gymnastics, wakeboarded and played other random sports each year. Even though my diet was not the healthiest, all of the activity made up for it. But once I stopped doing gymnastics or wakeboarding regularly, the not so great diet started catching up with me.
By the time I got to college, I had already entered a cycle of eating healthy and exercising for a period of time followed by a period of not doing either. As time went on, the periods of leading a healthier lifestyle would get longer, but unfortunately never really stuck.
My cycle continued, but one thing had changed. My longer healthy periods had become long enough that I knew what it felt like to feel healthy and be active. I knew what it felt like to feel good in my own skin. I knew what it felt like to feel confident physically.
Even over the past few years I have had periods of exercising regularly and eating healthier, but it is really not something I have prioritized. I have been so preoccupied with so many wonderful things going on, that my health just took a major backseat. I stopped exercising or prioritizing exercise over other menial things. I chose to consistently eat foods that were not the best for my body.
For about a month after I read that one little line,I kind of felt frozen. I knew I needed to make changes but because of everything that is going on in the world, I hadn’t felt empowered to make them. I knew I needed to make serious changes and had been trying to figure out the best way to go about them.
After a month of thinking. A month of talking to myself negatively. A month of not knowing how to go about a change, I came to a decision. I would take things one day at a time with the goal of making long term healthy changes to my lifestyle. I would set some realistic exercise/activity goals at the beginning of the week, but would ultimately take it one day at a time. Not beating myself up if I don’t make the best choices one day, but also not getting too overeager if I have a particularly good day. Trying to work towards an approachable, but healthy way of eating and regularly exercising.
I have already made a bit of progress since taking this approach, which I am proud of. I know I will make many mistakes along the way and progress won’t happen overnight. In the end, I need to remember that I am doing this for me and not anyone else. I want to be able to live a long, happy and healthy life. I fear if I don’t make these changes, that may not be possible. That is what is on the line.
This post was impossibly hard to write. In fact it took me almost a full two weeks to actually write the full post. I am afraid of the reaction that some people may have and how it could be perceived, but felt the pull to write the post anyways. Maybe someone else is going through something similar. Maybe someone else has been in the same cycle throughout their lives. Maybe this will help someone feel motivated. Until next time, friends… CML