Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

The Queen of Denial

As you might imagine, since my last post, I’ve been in a pretty bad place.

I’ve spiraled into a fairly deep funk, and frankly, up until now, I just haven’t been motivated enough to claw my way out of it. I’ve felt like one of those characters from the old Saturday morning cartoons who’s being followed/shadowed by a single, lone storm cloud, while the rest of the world lives in complete and perfect sunshine.

Ok. Perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic.

But I do know this: caring about yourself is hard when it feels like all your efforts have been for naught… and that is exactly how I’ve felt. It’s been one year since I decided to turn my life around, and while I have lost 70lbs in that time, recently it’s felt as though my health has, in many ways, declined. And that’s been a particularly hard pill to swallow because finding my way to a healthier, (rather than simply skinnier, cuter or more socially acceptable), place has always been my *primary* goal in all of this. I realize, of course, that thinking that all my obesity related health problems would simply disappear if I lost weight was, well… simplistic and naive. However, I guess I didn’t really expect them to get worse either. And that’s kind of the kicker. Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt cheated, scammed, tricked, bamboozled, etc… as though I’d invested all my money into something that turned out not to exist. It’s been like The Emperor’s New Clothes, only I’m the stark naked fool.

Of course, I’m not really naked, am I? Or perhaps the better analogy is to say that I’ve been naked for a long, long time. I just haven’t faced it until now.

Like many overweight people, I’ve spent a long time denying that I had a problem. Sure, I looked in the mirror each morning, but I found ways to focus on things other than my weight. Facing the fact that I was killing myself and thereby admitting that I needed to actually *do something* about it was just too daunting, so… for the most part, I flat refused to think about it all. And as a result I completely ignored my body and all of its various cries for help. I did this for years and years. But what’s more, even after I “faced the fat,” as it were, I only really faced the health issues that were an immediate problem. I focused on the high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, because my doctor made it impossible not to. The other things? Well… I continued to ignore them.

I guess what they say about old habits dying hard is really true.

And, really, when I think about it, that’s probably a big part of why I’ve been so scarce these last few weeks. Something unexpected happened to me when I wrote my last post. When I allowed myself to purge all of the things that were plaguing me, I did more than just “get them off my chest.” I also put them in a place where I couldn’t ignore them anymore. It’s the old, “you can’t unring a bell” thing again. Once they were out there, I had to face them, and that has been hard. Each time I signed into wordpress or tried to read all of the gentle and wise comments that so many of you left me, I found myself panicking. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing all the damage I’ve done to myself, over and over again. Even now, I’m struggling with reading over that post or all of the love that people left for me in the comments. (Seriously, Fat Bridesmaid said she would shave her head for me. If that ain’t love, I don’t know what is).

In the meantime, I haven’t spent the last few weeks with my head completely buried in the sand.

First, I decided to go ahead and take the hormones that were prescribed by the doctor. She indicated to me that I might not have a period the first month that I took them, but I did… and she said that was a good sign. Two more months to go, then we’ll see what happens.

Secondly, I made an appointment with a dermatologist. This was really for my own peace of mind more than anything else, and in the end, I was glad I went. Apparently tricholosists, like the one Jenny saw when she had a similar problem, are few and far between in this country, (the nearest one to me being over 1,000 miles away), so I did some research online and settled for the dermatologist. The bottom line of what he told me was this: a) my hair is thinning and it is not my imagination. This acknowledgment of the problem was important to me. Though I hadn’t told anyone (who could actually see my hair) but my husband about the problem, and his steadfast assertion that he didn’t notice any difference made me feel, at various junctures, like I was going crazy. As strange as it may sound, knowing that I hadn’t completely lost my mind made me feel a bit better. Then he told me b) that my hair follicles were *not* dead or damaged in any way and that they were entirely capable of growing new hair. *whew* He also said c) that there’s a difference between thinning hair and going bald. Going bald means that your hair falls out and doesn’t grow back. Hair thinning, on the other hand, is when your hair falls out more quickly than it grows back. The latter is what is happening to me.

Then we went over my medical history. I showed him all of the previous blood work I’d had, including the recent hormone panel and thyroid check. We talked about the history of alopecia in my family (there is none) and about my recent weight loss. And in the end, he said that he treats a lot of people who lose their hair during periods of extreme weight loss or gain. He said that when your body gains or loses a great deal of its mass that sometimes it shuts down or slows what it considers to be less than “essential” functions in order to focus on other, more pressing, issues. He said that hair production is frequently one of these functions and that he felt strongly that this is what was happening to me. Needless to say, this made me feel a lot better. He also prescribed something for me… a topical solution, (similar to rogaine, I guess) that he said he’d experienced a great deal of success with, (but that doesn’t require endless use and that doesn’t cause you to lose all the hair you grow once you stop using it). I haven’t filled the prescription yet and, to be honest, I’m not sure I will. Just having it, though, is comforting.

So… that’s where I am right now.

I’m not sure I’m completely ready to “get back on the horse again,” but I’m no longer slumped over in a pool of my own tears anymore either. I could say that I’m somewhere in between, but I think, really, I’m a lot closer to feeling “whole” again.

I think one of the mistakes that most people, myself included, who are trying to lose weight make is to constantly try to quantify our success. Sure, we celebrate the occasional None Scale Victory, but for the most part, we hinge everything on numbers. Whether it’s the scale, the tape measure, the never ending calorie ticker or the size on the backs of our jeans, numbers become the sword upon which we live and die. And that’s unhealthy, for a lot of reasons.

Yes. Losing weight is a numbers game. There is math(s) involved and you can’t take the pounds off without occasionally breaking out the calculator, believe me, I know that. But what I also know is that it’s not the analytical part of my brain that enabled me to put this weight on. It wasn’t bad accounting that landed me at 300+ pounds. Like it or not, there’s something in my personality that makes me susceptible to this problem. You can call it emotional eating or whatever, but what I’m coming to realize is that being fat is really just a symptom, and as with any disease, treating *just* the symptoms is a recipe for disaster.

So… now, I find myself in a strange place: somewhere along what seems to be a never ending path… not close enough to the end to see it yet, but too far from the beginning to turn back. It’s been a year since I headed down this road and in that time, I’ve lost some weight. But I still have a long, long way to go. The difference, this time, however, is that for the first time ever, I recognize that, that “long way” encompasses so much more than just the pounds that I have yet to shed. And since they don’t make a ticker to help me measure that kind of progress I can only go by how I feel inside. To that end, I’d be lying if I said I felt good about my progress over the last month. I don’t feel good about all the steps backward I’ve taken while reeling from this. But I do feel pretty good about the steps forward I’ve managed to tick off, and at I know that least one of those steps is a pretty big one.

That said, I’m back. Or, perhaps I should say, I’m on the way back. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to leave a bit of themselves here for me to find. I can’t tell you how much of a lifeline all of your comments have been to me. I’m so very grateful. Thank you.

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August 6, 2008 - Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. I’m so glad that your on your way back!! I think this journey of losing weight is one of the hardest things i’ve ever done. Maybe because it is a lifetime commitment. Maybe because there are so many ups and downs while doing it.
    I’m glad that you sought help for the health things that were bothering you. It’s a good idea to get a professional opinion.
    Here’s to a good week ;) “hugs”

    Comment by suzanne | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. I’m very glad to see that you are in a better place now. :)

    Comment by AndrewE | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. I think you’ve just taken a huge step in the right direction by facing the challenges head on. We welcome you back with open arms and glad you’re on the way back.

    Comment by Big Girl | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. I am glad you updated us. I was a bit worried myself. I hope you continue to feel better.

    Comment by Irene | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. It is so good to hear from you. I can’t wait to keep up with your life :)

    Comment by pantrypuff | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  6. Glad to see you back and to see that you’ve been taking care of the stuff you’ve put off, and that you’re in a much better frame of mind now.

    Comment by G.G. | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  7. Yes, you’re right, we’re changing more than the dimensions of our bodies. Six months into my diet I have realised a) I still have some very bad eating habits I need to deal with, one way or another and b) there are somethings I’ve learned or realised that I will never unknow.

    Whether we lose or gain pounds, the knowledge and insight we’ve gained along the way is invaluable and permanent. We might choose to ignore our new-found good sense once a while along the way but we are still improved by knowing more about what makes us tick.

    I’m glad you’re back.

    Comment by Paola | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  8. I’m so glad that you’ve come back, and like the others said, relieved to hear that you’re in a better place now.

    I think one of the mistakes that most people, myself included, who are trying to lose weight make is to constantly try to quantify our success. Sure, we celebrate the occasional Non Scale Victory, but for the most part, we hinge everything on numbers. Whether it’s the scale, the tape measure, the never ending calorie ticker or the size on the backs of our jeans, numbers become the sword upon which we live and die. And that’s unhealthy, for a lot of reasons.

    And that, is genius. Even I, who has moved away from weight loss in an endeavour to be healthier (yeah, you read that right) still try to quantify my success by numbers – only now, they’re kilometres run, minute taken to run a certain distance, number of kilograms I can lift in a set of bicep curls.

    Comment by Marshmallow | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  9. I’m glad you’re back :)

    And, applause for getting treatment. Also, I think that the dermatologist’s opinion on the reasons behind your hair thinning are actually quite encouraging – at least he feels it will grow back.

    Comment by Christine | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  10. Have been thinking about you and hoping you were okay.

    Comment by latebloomerlog | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  11. What a fantastic and honest post. Good for you for getting to a better place – and continuing the journey.

    Comment by Poonie | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  12. *happy dance* She’s back! She’s back! yay!

    So very glad to read that you are feeling a little better. Losing weight is the easy part, isn’t it? It really is jut math. It’s all the other stuff, the process of acquiring self-knowledge and self-acceptance, that is the hardest part and yet (I believe), the most necessary part of the journey. Taking off our own blinders to ourselves is extremely SCARY — but the payoffs are MAGNIFICENT!

    So glad to see you again!! *hugs*

    (And don’t ever disappear like that again, young lady! You had me scared to death! *waggles finger*)

    Comment by BikiniMe | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  13. So relieved you’re back safe and sound, tried not to go into panic mode this time :) As we painfully peel of our fat suits it involves dealing issues and health problems we didn’t know were there, or had denied. I’m sure when you emerge you’ll not just slim you’ll tossing back your glossy, thick and shiny hair. Yes, please be reassured that what grows back will surely be healthier and stronger than the what you’ve lost. It’s all part of your metamorphasis. *more hugs*

    Comment by Jenny | August 7, 2008 | Reply

  14. Paola said what I was thinking, so I’ll let it be. :)

    We’re continually learning. Glad to hear things are moving ahead, even when it’s through a muddy valley.

    Comment by Joe Average | August 11, 2008 | Reply

  15. It’s not how fat a person is, it’s how well that fat is put together.

    Comment by Clem Kadiddlehopper | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  16. It’s get healthy lose weight not lose weight get healthy.

    Comment by Gordon | August 1, 2011 | Reply


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