It’s 5:23 p.m., and I’ve already completed making dinner, teaching my kids, and grocery shopping; and, am only mildly tired. This is quite a new experience for me. Especially considering I have my period, and I’m usually wiped out to the point of utter exhaustion. Like can’t even be awake right now. But today I’m not. And there’s a reason why. And no, it’s not coffee.
Weight struggles have always been a part of my life. I was once a very tiny person. When I was a child, I was short and very thin. I used to revel in sucking in my stomach to reveal ribs jutting out like those you see on exaggerated cartoons of people on dessert islands. In a family of mostly larger people, I was a bit of an anomaly. But, alas, I did not stay this way.
Sometime around puberty, I suddenly began putting on noticeable weight. I wasn’t exactly unhealthy, but anyone who paid attention could see that I was definitely filling out. “It’s just baby weight,” I’d be told by my parents. Of course I didn’t assume otherwise. But as my “baby” years waned, and my weight did not, I started to feel self-conscious about it.
By 7th grade, one of my childhood best friends and I had mastered the art of sucking our stomachs in to appear to be as thin as the pretty, popular girls. I remember getting a quickie physical in order to sign up for a YMCA-type camp (That I ultimately didn’t go to), and hearing that I was 107 lbs. I was 12. I was blown away. How in the hell had I tipped past 100 lbs. already? I was horrified.
And that is just one of many examples over my almost 34 years of my struggles with my weight and body image. Not that I always felt badly about myself. I’ve had plenty of moments in my life when I’ve looked in the mirror and was happy to be me. And plenty of other times when others have affected me in a positive way–not to put too much impact on how others’ perceptions of oneself should influence one’s view of oneself. Like my early teenagehood boyfriend telling me I was too pretty to need makeup, and he liked my face just as it was. Or complete strangers telling me I had the most beautiful eyes they’d ever seen. Or I had a booty other women would die for. All of these things are great and all, but I almost feel like they were told to me at my peak of physical attractiveness.
Now I am still a 5’2” woman, but have certainly flown by that initially horrid 107 lbs. mark. And I’m working toward accepting who I am and not fixating on what other women look like. I’m trying so hard to be brave about it all. So…big breath here…I can say that as of this morning, my scale told me that I am 171 lbs. Did I mention that my scale is an asshole?
Anyone who knows anything about human health knows that this puts me on the wrong side of the obese line. And I’m sure my BMI would indicate I’m going to die any moment. But I can say that my blood pressure is excellent, my blood sugar is well within normal, and my cholesterol is just fine. So, all in all, despite being quite overweight, I’m mostly healthy.
Except I do have a shit-ton (yes, that’s an actual scientific measurement) of hormonal problems. What it all amounts to is that I’m basically 34 and going through early menopause. I have what’s now called premature ovarian failure, which is what they call pre-menopause for women my age. I suppose they think that menopause sounds so awful we’d rather be told our ovaries are failures.
What so many people my age don’t know, however, is that it’s not simply just that my ovaries are unable to produce a well-developed egg, thus rendering me sterile. Hormones are so much a part of the human body systems that an imbalance in them causes all sorts of issues. For example:
Adult-onset acne; headaches; fatigue; sensitivity to cold; hot flashes and night sweats; mood disorders; poor muscle mass; osteoporosis; and weight gain and/or inability to lose weight (amongst other things). Oh, joy.
Which makes so much damn sense now that I know what my problem is. I only wish I knew it sooner. Like when it likely began. Like 5 years ago when Ollie was born. Maybe then I could have done something about it before I got to this level of discomfort.
You see, besides being 20 lbs. heavier than before I was pregnant with Ollie, I have also had to deal with a slew of other issues. Some of which are listed already for you above. What tipped me off, though, was my irregular periods. Those led to other symptoms down the line. But considering my thyroid is ok, I had to assume my wacky cycles had something to do with my female hormones.
And for so long (before I knew what was what), I did nothing but berate myself for not being strong enough or determined enough to lose weight. I could work my ass off and practically starve myself and lose just a few pounds. I could work out like normal people, and eat nothing but healthy, nutritious food, and still, the scale would barely budge. It seemed like nothing I did made any damn difference, which was really hard to swallow.
Because it wasn’t just that I felt I was unattractive. It was more than that. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt bloated and distorted. And I worried like hell for my health. And the longer this went on, the worse I felt. Too tired to even try to care anymore. And terrified that this would never end.
Until recently. I finally learned how to better advocate for myself to a doctor, and got blood tests done that finally gave me the answer to why I’ve struggled for so long. And now that I do know exactly what’s going on with my body chemistry, I’m starting to do something about it.
Though my ob/gyn wanted me to take oral progesterone pills, I stopped after a week when they had made me a virtual insomniac. Instead, I’m taking a combo herbal supplement of natural ingredients that have research-backed proof of success with fixing hormonal imbalances, and a bioidentical progesterone cream. And it has been working wonders. So, please, do me a favor: If you don’t believe in this type of therapy, feel free to keep your thoughts to yourself. I’m not at all a person who is afraid of modern medical care, but I am educated enough to know it has severe limitations and blindspots. And, you know what, it’s working.
So here I am, only about 2 weeks into my new therapy, having already dropped 3 lbs. and having a bunch more energy. I’m no longer perpetually ready to pass out and simultaneously cranky as fuck. My appetite has leveled out, and I no longer crave mass amounts of sugar. I no longer have to constantly fight with myself because I feel healthier.
And really, that’s the point. To be healthier. To feel good. I’m used to being chubby. I’ve come to terms with it. My husband is a wonderful man who constantly tells me I’m not only beautiful, but sexy and desirable. I feel very lucky to have him. Because even when I look at myself and see nothing but flaws, he sees nothing but beauty.
So, hopefully over the next few months, I will continue to feel good, gain more energy, and lose the excess weight that my body doesn’t need.
Thanks for letting me get this weight off my chest…..Hahaha, I’m so corny. 🙂
I’ve put the photo below to help document my journey. I want to be honest and brave, and stick to the mission of this blog, but damn is it hard sometimes. So, yeah, I changed it from color to black and white. We can keep the color of my stretch marks something only I know. 🙂