Tuesday, January 7, 2014

She Said What?


The day after my 40th birthday, I had a scheduled annual physical.  You know, what better time to get on the scale after a couple of weeks of Christmas, New Years and birthday celebrations and libations.  Happy Birthday!  Oy.

For the past decade, the scale has NOT been my friend.  Alright, what woman IS friends with her scale?  I hear you moaning and groaning in agreement.  Further, I hear my scale moan when I step on to it.  I am confident that I am NOT one of those women bound by the numbers on the scale.  Seriously.  I am not.  I have no desire to weigh the beautifully perfect and lithe 135 lbs that I was at my absolute most fit self in college.  I recognize that returning to a range of 145-155 would be ideal and a dream come true.  However, I will publicly announce that I get on the scale nearly every…..single…..day.  (Yes, it bellows at me each time with a consistent reliability).

When I finished the third and final batch of chemotherapy, the medical staff informed me that the weight I had gained as a lovely side effect would indeed be more challenging to remove.  I really wish they would have told me it sticks to your bones like freaking wallpaper paste and it is nearly impossible to remove EVER.  (Yes, I have tried to steam it off in the hottest, most rocket fueled showers ever). 

In any event, after questioning my oncologist about the stubborn Michelin tire that remains around my middle, despite regular works outs and low glycemic nutrition, he simply said, “You will be one of those people that this is always a challenge for.”  BOOM.  Knocked my ass to the floor with a dose of harsh reality; but I took that as a literal challenge and dropped about 25 pounds before getting stuck in yet another plateau.

As life will have it, more curveballs came my way and I have come to realize that I am an emotional eater….or rather an emotional over-eater.  Those aforementioned 25 pounds lost, yeah, well, they “snuck” back on as I dealt with the skeletons in my closet……the emotions I *think* I know how to cope with, but rather I find it easier to shove those ugly emotions way down into your deepest core (which creates the Michelin tire affect around your mid-section).  I would not recommend it.

People ask me, with some trepidation, how I can be the size that I am with all the working out and the healthy eating I do.  I have had a doctor tell me it is in my genes; I am genetically pre-disposed to being a giant because of my Welsh/Polish and Russian heritage.  I have had a doctor tell me, “Your parents are fat, therefore, you will be fat.”  Remember, my oncologist even said it was chemo and just the way it was? 

Yesterday, at my physical the new doctor I saw asked if I had any other concerns after announcing my clean bill of health.  I said yes.  After spelling out the reality of my habits, including a refreshed 2014 perspective on clean eating for my training regimen and upcoming races, I asked her if there was anything else I could/should be doing and if there is any truth to the lamest of excuses people have been offering me (“It’s hormones, women at your age have NO metabolism and hormones screw it ALL up!”).  She looked me square in the eye and said, “Can’t you just be happy that you are healthy?”  BOOM.

I was speechless.  Yes, I had nothing to counter her response with.  I was confused.  I did not know how I should process this question/statement this new doctor had just uttered to me.

Am I happy that I am healthy?  You bet your ass I am.  Sorry, but once you have had cancer, a healthy body is the most compelling desire you would ever wish for.  Am I thankful every day that my amazing body continues to function and perform well enough for me to carry out my daily activities AND to work out in multiple types of exercise?  You bet I am.  Do I wake up every morning and count my blessings that my heart is ticking, my lungs are compressing, my blood is surging…….yes, my blood is surging as I think about that statement more and more from this physician.

As fit as I am, regardless of the miles I can run or the monstrous weights I slam around, I am overweight.  As long as I am overweight, my perspective is that I have the ability to be even healthier.  Those extra 20-25 pounds that seem to come off and sneak back on, come on – we all know they are an added burden to my heart, to my lungs, to my bones……..yet, she thinks I simply need a perspective re-alignment.

With that, I am kicking this weighted (pun intended) negativity out the door – these ugly emotions will not be shoved down into the tire for added girth this time.  Once again, the challenge is accepted.  I refuse to ACCEPT the carelessly tossed statement from a medical professional that I should basically give up and be happy with my current state of health.

I will not focus on losing weight this year.  Instead, I will focus on how this powerful body needs optimal fuel to perform and that is by clean eating.  I have switched to a local farm for our meats (www.kalonfarm.com), so that I know my HORMONES are not being affected by hormone-laced meats tainted with antibiotics and more.  During the cold, harsh New England winter when my CSA is not available, we make the trek to Idylwilde Farms in Acton (www.idylewildfarms.com) for fresh, vibrant and full of flavor vegetables and fruits to make it through the Artic Vortex.

I will continue to push my personal limits of strength, endurance and resolve at my local gym with the trainer that motivates me beyond any one before him and with the friends who share blood, sweat and tears by my side through grueling workouts (www.crossfit978.com).   I will run my long runs with my music pumping at hearing damaging levels (hey, I’m already hearing impaired) and enjoy the solidarity of the mental break these routes afford me.  I will run the Boston Marathon a good deal lighter than I am right now, because honestly, I do not wish to carry an extra 25-30 lbs through 26.2 miles.  I will walk into that doctor’s office again in a year and simply say “Boom!” because no one shall set limits for me nor do they tell me to give up or become complacent.

Have you ever been told something silly by a medical professional?  How did you react? 

Have you ever been told to give up on something in your life?  What did you do?

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