For those of you who have never met me, let me give you some context. I am not a small woman. I mean that in the sense that I am tall (not excessively but definitely above average height) and I am round. While I have chubby arms and chubby thighs, it is my belly that offends people the most. It sticks out and wobbles when I walk. Sometimes it juts out at odd angles depending on how I position my body or what I’m wearing. In some outfits it makes me look like a mother-to-be. I know this because I have had questions about my due date from complete strangers in awkward situations.
I have had medical professionals shame me about my weight. I have had them suggest that a sore throat is somehow a symptom of obesity. There have been nurses who look at me strangely before asking me to remove my shoes when being weighed, as if this will make a sudden and miraculous difference of around 30kg.
In summary, I am fat.
Now I don’t have a problem with being fat as such. It doesn’t offend me to look at my round belly or my saggy arms or my thighs that touch no matter what. I do have a problem with my weight when it restricts me from doing the things I want to do. You see, for the last few years I’ve had massive back problems. At first doctors told me that it was to do with my weight and if I could just lose a bit I would be ok. There was no discussion around this, it stood before me as a very stark and unfriendly fact. The man with the medical degree said it so it must be true.
Then I went to an osteopath who reassured me that it had nothing to do with my weight but if I truly wanted to shed a few pounds, it would probably make my overall health easier. He said this with a smile and then he said something that made me really think.
“It’s ok to be scared that this will never go away. I’m here to tell you that it will.”
There is something incredibly comforting about a medical professional essentially holding your hand (not literally obviously cos that would be a bit weird) and telling you it’s going to be ok. I cried quite a bit in that office.
Knowing that my weight wasn’t the only thing to blame for my back issues did make it better. It made it easier to understand how to take care of my back. Now I know that I need to stretch out my back and hip muscles before and after exercise so I don’t damage them. I also know that I need to keep up with my exercises daily to keep my flexibility going. I understand now that a gym membership will not cure me. Water based exercises or light walks are the best way to help myself.
And I am trying to lose a bit of weight to ease the burden on my back.
Two weeks ago I started back on Weight Watchers. I tried it just before my wedding and did really well but couldn’t afford to keep it up over the wedding period. Now I’m prepared to give it my all.
This time it is not because some doctor told me to get thinner or because I’m fearful my back will cave in if I don’t. This time I am trying to change my lifestyle by incorporating healthy filling foods in a portion controlled manner and marrying that with exercise and my stretches.
Now Weight Watchers isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. You may not be looking to lose weight but merely exercise with an injury and that’s absolutely fine, but be prepared to see blog posts here that reflect both interests.
If you’ve had any injuries blamed on unrelated issues, let me know (if you feel comfortable, or you can send me a private message). I’m so curious to see who else has experienced this kind of response from doctors.