Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Weight of Mommy

I may or may not have mentioned this here, but I am a big girl. I have struggled with my weight since I was six. (That is probably an exaggeration. I was not overweight as a child, not until my tween years, at least, but I always remember thinking of myself as fat and I can't remember a time when it wasn't a concern.)

Every year, I go through this phase where I decide I want to lose weight. That this time is going to be different. This time, I'll diet and the weight will come off and I'll be healthy and happy and people will say, "God, you look GREAT," and they'll mean it. Every year, I try. I make myself miserable. I count calories or carbs or points or whatever I decide is going to be thing to count this time. I journal my eating. I give up Coke (which is my major vice). I eschew cake and doughnuts and brownies. I buy tons of produce. I throw out my butter and restock my olive oil.

And then, a few weeks or months later, I cry. I step on the scale, which has not budged and I sob. I wail about why won't it work, what am I doing wrong, it's just not fair. I spend three or four days so depressed I can barely form words.

Finally, I wake up. I realize that I would rather be fat and happy than fat and depressed and since no one's getting any skinnier around these parts, those are my only two options. I throw out the diet cheese and get myself a Coke and decide that I'm fine.

I don't know if I'm fine or not. I've so long ago lost sight of fine, I'm not even sure what it looks like. Some days I'm fine. Some days I like this me. This me who is jolly and bakes a lot. This me who has the round face and the soft body. Some days I can't imagine a different me and I don't really want to. Some days, though, I can. I can imagine what it would be like to look nice when I dress up. To have people look at me and not my weight. To blend into the crowd.

Last week, Brynna told me, very matter of factly, that I was fat. I stepped on the scale after I got her to bed and realized I'd crossed my threshold. Every person who worries about their weight has one. The magic number. The number that draws the line. I'm fine as long as I don't weigh x, they think. I thought. But, I have exceded my threshold by eight pounds. Eight pounds is a lot.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see my endocrinologist. He told me I was cured. I had won. Beaten the disease. I was nonplussed. He asked why. Firstly, I don't believe it. I don't believe that multiple members of my family are struggling with this disease on a lifelong basis and I just up and beat it. By forgetting to take my medication more than I rememberd. I don't believe it. It'll be back. I didn't tell him this, though, because when it comes back, I'm going to a different doctor. What I did tell him, though, was that I still feel bad. I still feel tired all the time and lethargic. I'm still overwhelmed by the feeling that I may just fall asleep. I still have heart flutters. I still feel rundown. He looked at me and earnestly said, "All those things may have as much to do with your weight as your thyroid."

I don't mind doctors addressing my weight. It's a factor in my health. What I do mind is doctors discounting symptoms because they may be attributed to my weight. It angers me.

And, perhaps, what also angers me is that he may be right. And I'm tired. I'm so tired of failing. I'm tired of trying and failing. I can't describe what it feels like to fight and lose the same battle so many times. I can't describe how lonely and useless I feel. I can't tell you how terrible it is to feel utterly devoid of hope that this will ever change.

And I know that the hopelessness makes it worse. I become self-defeating because I'm so used to being defeated. I know that. I know that as long as I am so sure of my impending failure, it will come.

I don't want Brynna to see me as fat. I don't want that to be part of her perception of her mother. I want her to be proud of me. I don't want to be so tired. I don't want to worry so much about how I look. I want to cut my hair short without worrying that it will make my face look too round. I want to wear the clothes that I like. I want to find jeans that fit. I want to own a bathing suit.

I want this time to be different. But I'm crippled by the fear that it won't.

I'm not proofing this because if I go back and read it, I'll never post it. I'll think it's too whiny and I'll be too embarrassed to admit some of this stuff to the universe. I don't know why I'm writing it anyway, except that it's been weighing on me and it needs to be said. Anyway, if I have typo-ed this to hell and back, pardon me. Please, because I just can't reread this. No matter what.


Suze said...

Oh Jessi. You're beautiful. Really, and truly, you are beautiful. I am in no position to offer advice, so I won't, but I hope you can find a place of peace with this, whether is means changing something or accepting yourself.
Sending hugs,

Mrs. Allroro said...

Yeah. And I still regret not telling you how hot you were in high school.

This to me did not sound in the least bit whiny.

My dad told me a story the other day. My mom was telling him about a lady who goes to their church, and how she was embarassed because she didn't have any makeup on or something, and my mom said soemthing like, "When you look like that, who cares if you wear makeup? She's so gorgeous" or something. And my dad said somethign like, "You know how you are always talking about how fat you are? I'd say you two are the same size."

The moral of the story is, I know you hate that number, but you still have to know you're hot.

Four year olds are confused about what is fat. I used to wonder why people (or other muppets) made fun of Miss Piggy (the muppet), because I didn't think she was at all fat. But I thought my mom, who was probably forty pounds lighter than I am now and at a very healthy weight, was fat. My mom was hot.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Oh, honey, I could have written this post. Right now, I weigh more than 100 pounds more than I did in high school. True, my senior year I went crazy and got too thin for my bone structure and build, but still 100 pounds. The really sad thing is that now weigh more than I did when I was 9 months pregnant with Jamie. The other day, Jamie was cuddling with me on the couch and laid his head on my upper arm. "Mom," he said, "I love to lay my head on your arm 'cause it's so nice and squishy." I know he meant it as a compliment, but all I heard was "fat." And it wouldn't be the first time he's said something along those lines. Like you, I want it to change. I need it to change. But I have no energy once I get home. If I even sit down when I get off work, I immediately fall asleep. So I get no exercise, and eat whatever is fast and convenient to fix (or drive through to get) and the weight keeps piling on. So, honey, I hear you.

And I agree with Suze and Annie-lou; you're hot/beautiful. You were then and you are now.

Joni said...

Thank you for having the courage to post this, Jessi. Just like Jenn, I also could have written this post, but I'd never have the courage to post it on my blog. But it's a big deal to know that you're not alone, at least it is for me. So I appreciate your vulnerability.

The biggest key for me in my journey to try to get healthier is having support, having a community. I'm not saying that makes losing weight easier, because it doesn't - it's still hard. But it helps to keep me from getting discouraged. I can honestly say that I'm happier when I'm at least trying to lose weight than I am when I've given up. For me, the community takes the shape of an online message board. For others, it could be weight watchers or just having a buddy to keep you accountable. If you want me to hook you up with my message board, let me know. And if you're interested in a long-distance buddy, let me know about that too!

And I didn't think you were fat in high school. I thought you were beautiful - I remember wishing I could look like you! You're still beautiful, Jessi!

ShellSpann said...

Thyroid issues SUCK. It makes losing weight so much harder (like losing weight is easy EVER?). I take my thyroid meds EVERY single day and it doesn't help. I mean, of course it makes me feel less tired and helps a little bit. But as far as my weight is concerned it is SO difficult to lose it.

*HUGS* Hang in there sweets, it's gotta get better!!!!!!

My daughter always tells me that it doesn't matter what size you are, as long as you have a big heart. I try to remember that everytime I think about my weight. It sounds so silly, but it makes me smile.

Jessi said...

Thanks everyone for the support. I don't know what happens from here, but I'm glad I could get it out on paper. It makes a difference to say those things.

Tears In My Shotglass said...

I know what you mean. The biggest difference is you try while fearing failure, and I give up before I begin. I had a doctor tell me that my child bearing issue could be caused by my weight, so I gave up. Keep your head up. It took serious courage to post this, more than I will probably ever have. If you need anything I am a phone call away.

Steve said...

I'm not much qualified to comment on this as someone who used to suffer from being naturally UNDERweight and once went on a diet to put weight ON! These days my weight is in the right ball park, but mostly because I've been lucky to have a metabolism that's pretty kind to me.

I can tell you that my wife lost about 45 pounds on WeightWatchers last year in the run-up to our wedding, so if you've followed all the rules (which I am sure you have) without success, surely that suggests a medical problem. Sorry to state the obvious.

One other thing. Kids see the person inside. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Brynna loves you however you are for who you are.

Hope you find the right way forward for you and yours.

Cindy S. said...

I've struggled with my weight and eating issues since high's such a difficult thing. I totally get your description of the diet roller coaster because I too have tossed out uneaten produce despite my best intentions. I just wanted to say that I think you are an amazing person and I think you CAN do it. ((hugs)) THanks for being you :)