I created this blog a while ago, with the idea that I had Deep And Important Thoughts that the world should know. But my intrinsic laziness, combined with the idea that there are already so many bloggers out there who are talking about the same Deep And Important Thoughts, led to me abandoning the idea after a few posts.
(This kind of an introduction isn’t going to make people inclined to read me, I realize. But I believe in giving fair warning, so consider this my own caveat lector.)
I’ve been reading a lot lately about weight, and weight-vs.-health, and fat acceptance, and the whack-ass things that doctors/the government/other talking heads have been saying about being overweight. As in, “Don’t you know being fat will KILL YOU OH MY GOD?!?!?” And, you know, I’m a fat chick who’s tired of being treated like a leper/puppy molester/dimwit just because my body size doesn’t fit into a slot on a chart. So, although the blogosphere already has a cornucopia of excellent fat-acceptance bloggers, well, I feel the egotistical need to add my voice to the chorus.
One of the blogs I am LOVING is Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose. She’s wicked smart and a fantastic writer, and I’d happily read even her grocery list, if she posted it. Her most recent post, “Despite Being Obese, My ‘Chances of Suffering from Obesity are Very Slim’ “, is what moved me to drag this blog out of the mothballs.
Actually, I was motivated *specifically* by one of the comments in that post, in which the commenter talked about a shortsighted doctor who disregarded good cholesterol test results and still advised her to eat better and exercise in order to lose weight, without ever asking her about whether she already did so.
I have a primary-care doctor who I’ve been seeing for 15 years, and he has always told me that he doesn’t care whether my weight fits into a slot on a chart; what he cares about is my actual health, as demonstrated by cholesterol/blood sugar/blood pressure/activity level, etc. He is OUTSTANDING. I don’t know what I’ll do if he ever moves away or retires. He just GETS it, you know?
A few years ago, I was seeing a psychiatrist because my insurance required that I do so if I wanted them to cover my Zoloft. So, 4 times a year, I checked in with the psychiatrist, we concurred that it’s all good, he wrote me a prescription for Zoloft, and I went on my merry way. Then he left the practice, so I got handed off to another shrink in that practice, but I figured that since I would have to see her only 4 times a year, it would be no big deal.
(Obviously, there was a VERY big deal, or else this is a lame-ass post.)
On my second visit to her, literally the only thing that she asked me about my mental health was: “How was your summer?” When I said, “It was good,” she didn’t bother to ask further if it was good in the sense of going on vacation, or falling in love with a lifeguard, or if it was good in the sense of not wanting to jump in a running shower with a plugged-in hairdryer.
She, however, looked in my chart, and followed up on my blood pressure. (I had started taking BP meds about 6 months prior.) I told her that my BP was good, and my primary-care doctor said that if my BP stayed stable, I could go off the meds.
So then she asked, “What are you doing to try to lose weight?”
The sad thing is, that question didn’t seem inappropriate. (Let me emphasize: THAT question didn’t seem inappropriate.) It’s just so commonplace for anyone and everyone to have an opinion on others’ extra weight, that my *mental* health doctor asking me about my weight — a *physical* state of being — didn’t even raise a red flag.
I told her I was exercising and keeping an eye on my diet. She asked, “How’s that going?” I thought she meant how was keeping an eye on my diet going, so I said, “Well, I have a sweet tooth, but it’s not too hard to keep under control.”
She said, “No, I meant how much weight have you lost so far?”
Huh? Okay. I told her 10 pounds, even though I had no idea if it was true.
Then she asked me what I weighed. Finally, this was where I started to wonder how this related to my mental health. But because I had gone along with this line of questions so far, I figured I had to keep going along with it, and I thought that if I was resistant to the idea, she’d label me with some horrible psychological term (she was, after all, my shrink, and I had no idea what her analysis of me might mean in terms of my medical record), so I told her my weight. She asked me how tall I was, and calculated my BMI right then and there, and told me what my BMI *must* be if I wanted to be healthy.
HUH? The HELL?
Then she told me, “Well, try to lose weight on your own for now, and when you see me in 3 months, if you haven’t made good progress I’ll put you on a weight-loss drug.” She got up, and bopped over to her desk, wrote the refill for my Zoloft, and a thought struck her! Did I know about Pilates? I should do Pilates! Pilates would be very good for getting rid of the fat around my waist!
All I could do was stare at her and wonder how many of her patients killed themselves.
As she walked me out, she said, “Now, 10 pounds in 3 months is pretty good, so really stick to your goals!”
This happened just about 3 years ago, and after that appointment, I never went back. The next time I saw my primary-care doctor, I asked him if he could prescribe my Zoloft, and he checked with my insurance, and said that he absolutely could. And he said that she was full of crap on the weight-loss drug plan. He has always been very opposed to weight-loss drugs, because he actually reads the results of drug studies, and he tends to think that a 5- to 10-pound weight loss (at most) isn’t worth the side effects and potential drug interactions. (Not to mention the Alli poopy-pants.)
I *know* that I should have told that shrink as soon as she asked about my weight that I already HAD a doctor taking care of my physical problems and that she was there to take care of my insanity. I *should* have told her “Lady, I *know* I’m fat. I see myself naked every day. But I will not take diet drugs. And by the way, the BMI is pretty flawed, and I will never, not in a million years and no matter how much Pilates I take, have a BMI of 24. But I didn’t. ask. you. Go fuck yourself.”
I didn’t say that, though, because I was a different person 3 years ago. A lot more conflict-avoidant, and believing that You Don’t Contradict Authority (even when they’re wrong).
But now? Well, I’m different now, and like I said above, I’m sick and tired of the bullshit.
Welcome to my blog.