Okay, I’m going to talk about weight loss stuff. If you find that kind of talk triggering our you just couldn’t give less of a shit, please skip this. I just feel like I have to be open about this stuff because it helps my peace if mind.
You probably already know I’m in the midst of an ongoing fitness/weight loss/help me I don’t want to get type 2 diabetes project. The summary is I used to weigh 275 lbs, now I weigh around 192. Which is actually less than I weighed when I started power lifting in high school. So I think the project has been a resounding success, but I’ve tried to keep it rolling since this isn’t the sort of thing you just stop doing.
For about the last year, my weight has basically stayed steady, though I’ve had some nice strength gains since I started weightlifting again. I did all my weight loss with calorie counting, which has worked well for me. I generally eat 1400-1700 calories per day, which is appropriate to my weight and activity level…if I want to keep losing weight.
Which I haven’t been.
So a bit ago I got frustrated and decided to try cutting my intake further to see if I could get my weight to start dropping again. A nutritionist I talked to a couple years ago had recommended trying that. I went down to 1000-1300 calories per day. Which peeled another ten pounds off of me before I got stuck again. And then I started having dizzy spells, stopped gaining muscle strength, and lost a giant whack out of my aerobic endurance.
Plus that was just a fucking miserable amount of food to be restricted to, to be honest. I looked at it and thought I can’t maintain this, I don’t want to, I feel terrible, what’s the point if you feel terrible?
Which comes back to something I’ve always said about losing weight…you have to be able to sustain whatever changes you make in your life. This shit isn’t something you just do for a couple of months and then decide it’s good enough. You have to even out at a place where you’re happy and can do it long term. Life is short. Eat the fucking cake.
So I went back to my old intake. As one might expect, I regained the last ten pounds with almost frightening speed. But now I’m back to gaining strength and I can once more run/ride for an hour or more and not feel like total shit, so I count that as worth it.
Yet all the calculations I did kept telling me hey, at 1400-1700 you should be losing weight. So I went ahead and made an appointment with a new doctor who specializes in weight management. Because why not, what’s the worst that could happen? A doctor could tell me I’m fat and need to eat less and make me feel like shit. Been there, done that.
Long lead up on this story I know. But I feel like I hit the jackpot.
This new doctor asked me about my physical activity and what I normally eat. She asked me about my family history, if I had thyroid problems, etc. And this is what just blew me away when all was said and done. She told me:
“We’re going to try a few things, like analyzing your BMR and body fat. But I need you to be at peace with where you are since you are already healthy. Genetics are a big part of this, and I need you to have a realistic goal and be okay with it.”
If you’ve never been the fat kid, then you have no idea how it felt to hear that. It was like a fucking choir of angels singing from heaven. (And she loved my joke that, well, that sucks, but in the pre-modern world I would have been set.)
Because this is the shit you get, even from doctors a lot of the time, this idea that you should be able to hit a certain weight on the scale that correlates nicely with your height, and if you haven’t it’s because you aren’t trying hard enough. Entire fucking industries are built on this lie that if you don’t look like a film star, it is your own fault, and it’s entirely within your power to change that…if you just buy into their product.
Well, that’s not the way it works. And just hearing a doctor tell me for once that she wanted me to be realistic and be okay with myself almost made me cry. That never happens. You tell yourself constantly that you’re are okay the way you are, that this is just how you’re put together. But having someone else confirm it for you feels like pure magic being injected into your heart.
I wish I could bottle this woman and send her to every chubby kid (and grownup with an inner chubby kid) in the world. Sometimes there isn’t anything you can do, and you have to be okay with that. You have to be happy with you.
Now the hard part is, as always, going to be hearing her beautiful voice over the constant background drone that says I just don’t want it enough.
Yeah, well you know, when I was a kid I wanted to be a unicorn too.