Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Weight ramblings

Posted on: April 17, 2016

I was just reading Seaneen’s latest post about her struggles with her weight, her eating disorder and the attitudes of medical professionals, and it’s got me thinking and inspired me to write about my own experiences.

To be clear, I wouldn’t describe myself as having an eating disorder. I’d say I have a slightly unhealthy relationship with food, but I could say that about practically everyone I know, to some extent.

I am big. Not too big to leave the house, but big. I can fit through doors, no problem. There’s room to sit next to me on the bus, but it might be a bit of a squeeze. I can buy clothes on the high street, just about. Put me in a room with 5 people chosen at random, and most of the time I’ll be the first or second heaviest.

There are a lot of contributing factors to me being the size I am. I try to eat healthily. It’s pretty disheartening, really – I eat more fruit and veg and less junk food than pretty much everyone I know. No fizzy drinks, very occasional sweets, and I can count my yearly takeaways on the fingers of one hand.

Maybe there’s a genetic element – my parents are both overweight. And maybe the reasons for their weight problems have impacted me, too. My mother’s a faddy eater, a yo-yo dieter whose various health problems cause her to vomit regularly, who complains about the vomiting but celebrates the associated weight loss like it was a deliberate achievement. And my father likes his food, and – especially when we were children – used food as treats for me and my brother when we were going through a particularly hard time with our mother. My brother eats nothing but junk food but is blessed with a metabolism that keeps him lanky, whereas sometimes I feel like just thinking about food makes me bigger.

My exercise level will certainly be a factor – I have a sedentary job (and everyone brings in cakes on their birthdays, and contributes to the Biscuit Box, and occasionally brings in doughnuts for the team as a treat…I try to abstain but I find myself giving in sometimes) and when I get home and on my days off I’m often so exhausted it’s like I can feel it in my bones. I walk where I can but it’s nowhere near enough, and there’s no other exercise I can think of doing that doesn’t make me feel a bit panicky at the thought of people seeing and judging me.

I know that I need to lose weight. I feel so awkward and ungainly, like I ruin everyone’s photos, like everyone is staring at me, like if someone had to describe me to a stranger, the word “fat” would inevitably be used. The problem is that knowing this and feeling like this doesn’t actually do anything.

I’ve been skipping meals here and there but I can’t do it too regularly or I start to get light-headed and lose my concentration (which I desperately need at work). I’ve lost a few pounds doing this, but it’s very slow going and so very easily undone. I feel like I don’t really have either the willpower or the energy to make a significant difference to my weight.

My doctor is…not particularly helpful. I went to see him about a fairly minor condition that was not in any way connected to my weight. He spent approximately 5 minutes diagnosing the condition and prescribing a course of treatment, followed by approximately 20 minutes weighing me, asking me why I’ve gained weight, suggesting exercise as the answer to all my problems and warning me of the risk of diabetes. And I wanted to say, you are not helping. I don’t feel encouraged, or supported, or empowered. You’re making me feel suicidal. But I am a doormat, too polite for my own good, so I sat there nodding, pretending I wasn’t visualising walking straight out of the surgery and into the path of an oncoming bus so that I would never have to think about this conversation again.

And the problem is, these conversations give me such excruciating anxiety about seeing a doctor about anything. Luckily I am rarely ill, but on the rare occasion where I am, I put off going to the doctor for as long as possible because I don’t feel strong enough to listen to the lecture again. I know he has a job to do, and he probably has targets to hit or something, but I dread it. I walk out of every appointment determined to eat myself to death, or starve myself to death, anything that will make it stop.

Any time I see my doctor, I spend the appointment in a state of half-panic, hearing my heartbeat so loud in my ears, fiddling and mumbling and not able to express myself properly. Then they take my blood pressure and of course it’s high, what would you expect? (The last time anyone at the surgery did my blood pressure was immediately before my smear test. It was slightly higher than normal and there was no acknowledgement that the situation might have any impact on it, just more talk of eat more healthily and how much do you exercise?).

Then they usually send me for blood tests to check if I’m diabetic yet. I’m not. My blood sugar is always at the lower end of normal, or a little below that. I guess it’s just a natural variation. I can tell that my doctor doesn’t believe it’s a true reflection. Last time he tried to send me for a test, he very pointedly stressed that I didn’t need to fast beforehand. I’ve never fasted before a blood sugar test, but there seemed very little point in telling him that. I just didn’t go for the test. I thought, fuck it.

I’ve never had a medical condition connected to my weight. Maybe I’ve been lucky. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. But right now, the following things are much more likely to kill me than my weight is:

  • I might kill myself. Mood-wise I’m not too bad lately, but like I said, every doctor’s appointment leaves me feeling suicidal, so if I ever have to go more regularly, it’s certainly a possibility.
  • I might die of some illness I develop in the future but which I never see a doctor about because I’m too anxious to go.
  • I might die of some illness I develop in the future, which I see a doctor about but which they miss because they’re too busy focusing on my weight to consider there might be anything else wrong with me.

I eat healthily but I still gain weight. My doctor talks about it every time I see him, my mother makes snide comments about my size, and I feel ungainly and weak and pathetic. I skip a couple of lunches and people at work start asking me if I’ve lost weight and telling me I look good, and I feel guilty, like I’m cheating. The focus is always on weight loss, without any consideration of actual health and well-being.

I’m sorry. This post feels horrifically self-indulgent. I know that my problems are of my own making. There’s a high chance this will get deleted when the guilt and shame kick in.


1 Response to "Weight ramblings"

I struggle with food too. More eating disordery, but not quite there due to lack of consistency (it comes & goes).

I’m sure you’re beautiful.

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My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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