I haven’t written in a long, long time. Not via blog, not personally, not at all. I’m writing today because I’m trying to get back into the habit — to exercise the muscle, if you will. Apologies if it’s boring. (What else should I be? All apologies.)
For a long time, I was making good money writing many articles a week for a native advertising company that eventually “went in a different direction” and slowly eliminated its stable of freelance writers.
There were originally 40+ of us I’d estimate, then they got rid of all but around 20-ish. Then there were the top 10. And finally, 3 of us remained; two excellent male writers and little old me. I’m pretty sure they only kept me on to write the fitness and beauty articles. I assume that because I have low self-esteem and never give myself enough credit. (It’s a living.)
I think I stopped writing because the slow disappearance of that job coincided with my mom’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis, which kicked our entire family in the ass. I got out of the writing habit, and oh yeah, depending on fate–that fickle bitch–I might have been losing my mother. My sisters and I dealt with the stress and worry in similar ways. I became completely discombobulated emotionally and physically. My shrink kicked up my daily Xanax dose to help control the added anxiety.
Because I was getting ready to fly to Phoenix to help my mom, and my son was about to be out of school for the summer, I quit my gym to save money. Once my mom’s chemotherapy and radiation were done, and my son was back in school, I rejoined the gym, but the reading and Netflix-binging for escape combined with lack of regular exercise had led to weight gain. One of my sisters and I discussed how we’d let our diets go to crap during our mom’s cancer ordeal, and had both been stress-eating. So that didn’t help either, because I do not have the metabolism to handle stress-eating anymore. Bad idea jeans, middle-aged lady.
I knew I’d gained a few pounds, but a few days ago, I had my yearly girl parts wellness exam, and the doctor’s scale revealed a number to me unlike any number I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t 666, but we’ll call it the Number of the Beast anyhow, because that number can go straight to hell. Seriously. I’m 5’9″ so it’s never a “cute” number, but ho-leeeeeee shit… that’s the most I’ve ever weighed. I died a little inside when I saw it.
I weigh HOW MUCH? Shit. Kill me. Kill me now.
Because of my height, pre-pregnancy, I never had a weight gain I couldn’t handle. If I’d “wintered well” and gained a few pounds, I’d reduce meal portions, get more exercise, and be back to my fighting weight before the end of spring, no big deal. Then I had a gigantic baby, 2 abdominal surgeries (Core strength? What’s that?), and the typical metabolism drop that occurs in one’s mid-30s… all within a few years. I don’t even know what to do with this new body. It feels like someone dropped the former me into a chubby stranger, wished me “Good luck with that,” and disappeared.
So I sat in the little room on the exam table, with my pants off, and a “so the doctor and I don’t have to make eye contact while he stares into the depths of my vagina” pink paper shield draped across my lap, while I stared out the window in shock. I’ve had body issues my whole life, and even when I weighed 115 and didn’t get my period for a year because I didn’t have enough body fat, I still thought I needed to lose weight. (Body dysmorphic disorder? Yes, please. I’ll have that with a side of over-exercising and anorexia, thankyouverymuch.) Seeing the highest number of my life completely did my head in. I was freaking the fuck out.
And something snapped inside me. I’m not a whiner, I’m a fixer. I mean, I throw a fit and complain and vent like anyone else, but I don’t live there… I start looking for solutions. I asked myself, “So you hate this. What are you going to DO about it?”
High protein/low carb is the only dietary change that’s ever helped me lose weight, so I decided to have a high-protein shake for breakfast and lunch, a light dinner with protein and vegetables for fiber, and to workout a minimum of 1 hour per day. And no more alcohol, period. I only drink red wine anymore, but still… that’s empty liquid calories I don’t need.
This will be my new regimen, and it’s going to work, damn it. I ain’t goin’ out like this. I don’t feel good like this, and I’m tired of hating my body.
I also talked to my doctor about getting off birth control pills because they make me immediately gain 15 pounds without any lifestyle changes. My hormones suck. I only take them to prevent ovarian cysts, so we set up a sonogram for 2 months from now to see if my remaining ovary (I’ve had an abdominal hysterectomy/left oophorectomy) forms cysts while I get off the pills. Fingers crossed I stay cyst-free, lose weight, and can remain off the birth control pills.
And I’m going to weigh myself every morning for accountability. I lost a pound yesterday, according to this morning’s scale reading. Today I’ve had only liquid protein drinks, did 30 minutes on the cardio bike and 30 minutes of weight machines at the gym, then came home and did 30 minutes on the treadmill. I am determined to fix this.
So that’s my latest news that’s not really news if you know me. I still hate my body. I’m still anxious a lot of the time. But I’m trying to get myself to a healthier, happier place. I’m trying to focus on the good and remain grateful and all that hippie stuff that we mock but is actually truly helpful.
And my cat is snoring as she sleeps next to me in her window bed while I type, which is pretty adorable. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
I hope all is adorable and happy in your world, friends.