Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I haven't been to my regular physician in four years, since 2009 (not long after my dad had been hospitalized, and I realized I needed to keep an eye on my health/visit my doctor - yeah, that didn't last long). And it's not because I've been busy, because I've had my health insurance change like 4 times, because I've been unemployed, or because I don't care for my physician anymore - although all of those are excuses I could have easily used to defend my choice for not seeing a doctor.
I am afraid of the doctor telling me I'm fat.
I'm afraid of walking in there, having the nurse record my weight, my sitting in a sterile room in my underthings with only a billowy hospital gown giving me any decency and listening to the doctor say, "You know, you really should try to lose weight."
Ever since I was a child, I've been the Chunky Girl. The Pudgy Girl. The one who was never within her weight range. And especially once I hit puberty, I got to hear constantly that I was fat and needed to lose weight.
"Why don't you try to hop on that bike and ride around more?"
"You know, the more you weigh, the more susceptible you are to diabetes..."
"You are too young to be having high blood pressure. If you lose weight..."
"A healthy range is between..."
The fear many have about going to the dentist, being under the bright lights and having a drill in their grill, is the fear I have to the doctor. I am sitting, exposed, as the doctor scalpels into me, telling me that I'm fat because I don't fall within narrowly defined BMI ranges.
Now, many of those times, my weight WAS a problem. The last time I went to the doctor, I believe I was about 240 pounds. (My scales always seem to differ from doctor's scales by AT LEAST 10 - 15 pounds - WRONG!) But I was fairly regularly going to the gym (probably around 5X a week). And I was attempting to get back on Weight Watchers. But my doctor didn't care - instead, she spent a good 15 minutes talking about how I needed to lose weight and how she didn't want to see me get diabetes or something like that.
You would think I shouldn't be nervous, as I'm a "tiny" 165 pounds (a weight I haven't been since...childhood???). That is BARELY out of the BMI range for my height (the cutoff is 155).
But recently, my workplace offered a Health Report. I took the report, feeling all giddy and happy, until I got to the results:
"YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT. YOUR IDEAL WEIGHT IS 155. YOU NEED TO LOSE 10 POUNDS TO BE WITHIN YOUR BMI."
Talk about a freaking downer! This stupid report didn't know where I came from - that I lost a FREAKING PERSON to get down to 165! It didn't know that I went from having sleep apnea and probably high blood pressure/pre-diabetes to where I am today.
When I told my sister this, she, being the super amazing supportive sister that she is, told me that very thing: that I can't take the dumb computer report too seriously. That I *HAVE* come a long ways and that I am WAY healthier than I was.
Fact is, I am afraid going to this new doctor (because there is no way I am going back to my old "Let's spend 15 minutes talking about how fat you are and how you should miraculously get rid of that weight" doctor) is going to be like taking that report. I'm going to go in, see I'm 175 pounds (because, again, doctor's scales and all that wrought), be pleased - only to have the doctor come in and go, "Uh, yeah, you're fat - lose some weight, Chubster."
(OK, so I doubt the doctor would actually say that - but it was moderately amusing.)
This is why I haven't made an appointment in four years. But if I am going to embrace a new healthy lifestyle, I need to get over this fear. I need to start cultivating a relationship with my doctor - to find a doctor that I can trust and rely on. And that is why I made an appointment. My hands might have shook as I was on the phone, scheduling the appointment, but I didn't waver or hang up or just forget about it like I normally would.
But one thing is certain: when I go to see this doctor, before she ever says a word about my weight, I'm going to tell her this:
"Before you mention anything about my weight, I need to tell you this: I used to weight over 268 pounds. Since November of last year, I have lost over 100 pounds. I went from having sleep apnea and being too tired to cook or exercise, to sleeping amazing at night and exercising 40 mins 3X a week. And I have about 20 more pounds to go before I am done. So while I know I am technically "overweight" according to my BMI, I am aware of it and am working to change it."
It might not do anything - but at least it will make me feel good :)