This is what the doctor had to say to my e-mail from a few days ago. What a great sign that once I get comfortable talking about who I am and how I struggle, I will find people out there willing to help.
thank you for the email and it is great how much exercise you have been doing. you do not have to be weighed when you come in: please tell my assistant when she brings you back that you spoke to me and I said you do not need to be weighed (hopefully they will not give you a hard time. I will tell my assistant now, but there is a chance someone else will bring you back that day, so please just let them know). please mention again when we are talking that you do not want to discuss your weight and I will not (but instead congratulate you on all of your exercise!). it is great you have the strength to discuss this. keep up the good work. see you soon ee
I sat down with my counselor a few weeks ago struggling with the idea that I really need to get into my doctor’s office for a physical. The last time I was there I was down 15 pounds from the previous visit, but still had higher than desired blood pressure. On top of that, I believe I have actually put some weight on since then. My counselor sort of put me in check by stating the obvious contradiction….I need to get to the office to check on the status of my health, but I won’t go to the office because I am afraid I am not healthy enough. Of course after thinking about this, I realize the absurdity of it all. So, armed with some encouragement from her and a damn good sample of a letter to a doctor from Hanne Blank I was armed with tools to write the following letter:
I have been doing a lot of personal growth work lately…not to sound too Oprahish. I continue to work out 5 – 6 times a week, I completed 2 triathlons last summer, this summer I am registered for two more and perhaps a mini marathon by the years end. However, I am about 4 months overdue on my annual physical. It is baggage that I have been carrying with me for a while now. The reason I have delayed the appointment month after month is my concern that I have not lost enough weight to actually put a dent in my blood pressure levels. In fact, the reason I can’t muster the courage to come into your office is because I am still fat and I don’t want to discuss my weight.
In February I decided I needed to talk to someone about my issues with eating. I have been seeing a counselor at the Family Institute for a few months now who has me questioning a lot about health, weight and food. She has introduced me to a movement called Health at Every Size. It is an approach to health that focuses on intuitive eating and physical activity rather than dieting or weight loss. That said, I need to come in for an appointment, to get a general check up and to get some blood work done for sugars, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. Before I make my appointment though, I wanted to say that I prefer NOT to be weighed when I come into the office. I spent most of my childhood and teenaged years completely focused on my weight. I had to be weighed weekly and was punished when I didn’t lose enough weight in a given timeframe. The whole weigh in experience is traumatic, very depressing and I feel like crap for weeks afterward. If there is a pressing medical reason that I should be weighed, please talk to me about it….
I‘d like to hear what you think about this. You motivated me to quit smoking…now I’d like to have you as partner in my quest for self acceptance, increased physical activity and normalized eating (without dieting).
So, stay tuned for the response from the doctor….
How would you have handled this?
Do you have any resources with lists of doctors who are size friendly??
I’m embarrassed that I didn’t say more than before. Mara D brought up so many good points and questions that really ping my heart. I am humbled. I do know the drills you refer to, I remember being “grounded” as a child if I didn’t lose enough weight by the end of the week. It is a brutal brutal world that complicates clouds.
I am new to HAES, perhaps still in the honeymoon phase, but I am LOVING it. The day I was told I could stop counting calories, getting on the scale and limiting what I was eating has been HUGELY liberating. I struggle with the self acceptance piece, which is the cornerstone of the whole process. Not even sure though, if one can actually feel that way all of the time (perhaps another discussion at another time.) I am a part time resident of the negative spiral.
I have also used the opportunity to respond to comments by saying “I am focusing on getting my health back in order at the moment. I’d prefer not to discuss dieting/weight loss, please.” I find it shocks people a little and they tend to get defensive. The challenge is to get to a place where I can tailor my message enough to not offend them while telling to step the heck off the bus. It isn’t their business what i am doing to my body. This is my body, my life and while I hope to treat it well, it is not their business. It think the place that re-frames the vision of beauty, health and a joyful life sounds wonderful.
In terms of the eating choices, piece, I am not there yet, I am eating what I want and loving it. I do work out nearly every day. I do this simply out of pleasure, but what got me here is a journey outside of HAES. I had to find a passion in sport. Something I really enjoyed….and a group of women I love to do it with. More to come. I love this dialogue.
It is about my struggles with self loathing. It is about the struggle to be better, but never defining better so consistently “failing”.
It is about the revolution of not doubting my own worth based on how much weight I lose.
I started to struggle to come up with phrases that would help me when challenged about my reversal of dieting culture. I often came up speechless when someone would comment on another person’s weight, what they ate and how much of it in a day, how many pants sizes they had dropped. I had to come up with some one liners to lead me through the responses. This became my mantra.
I am not how much I weigh or how much I’ve gained or how much I’ve lost.
I am not what I eat…I’m what I do and what I say.
Changing my shape and size isn’t going to make me happy
Changing the way I feel about my body/myself will.
I respectfully decline to discuss your size, my size, her size or his size in any way.
I will eat what I want, and move on.
I swim, bike, or run every day…being healthy doesn’t mean being thin.
I embrace my body as a part of me.
How do you respond comments about your weight or other’s weight? Why do people think it is acceptable?