Here’s the dealio with my weight and size: It doesn’t stay the same. Being, as Dr. Sharma put it, “calorie-sensitive,” and short, relatively small changes can lead to quick upward shifts in my weight and size, and I requires more intentional shifts to bring my weight and size down to a more comfortable place for me.
I hope it’s not too late for a trigger warning. Let me say that the rest of this post is about my weight, if the title didn’t make it clear. There will be some talk about “losing weight” but in the context of what is right for me. Your mileage is entirely expected to vary.
So, as you may have read previously, I have type 2 diabetes. I also have hypothyroidism, PCOS, lactose intolerance, dysthymia that occasionally flares up into full-blown short-term depression, and perpetually sore shoulders. And high arches and knock knees and oily skin. And trouble sleeping from time to time. I’m probably leaving something out. In other words, there’s a lot of stuff I’m managing in my life at any given time.
Things that help me with all of the above, but mostly with the type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism and dysthymia, are getting regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, eating in a pattern that doesn’t cause me major fluctuations in blood sugar and managing stress.
So, what happens when I can’t do those key things — moving around in joyful ways in large amounts, getting the right amount of sleep, eating in the best pattern for me, and managing stress?
Yeah, I tend to gain weight rather quickly. And there’s always this moment in the process when I think: “Oh Shit.”
But lately, that moment has been somewhat shorter. In part because of the whole fat acceptance movement, my thoughts are, so what? So fucking what?
But then, I remember that extra weight makes my type 2 diabetes harder to manage, and can mess with my sleep. I still have plenty of clothes that fit that I love. I still have the love of everyone around me, and of myself. It’s only a fluctuation, not setting up permanent residence at a new spot. And even if I were to “camp” here for a while, it would be okay.
So, when I talk about getting back to where I was, weight-wise, I’m not talking about losing 90 pounds (what I would need to do in order to have a “normal” BMI) but I’m talking about the 10 pounds that has primarily been added because of stress and a lack of regular physical activity in the amount I need to achieve the stress relief and benefits of good blood sugar.
My question, then, is this: What are the things I want to be doing that will lead me where I want to go? Here’s a partial list:
- Access love. Hug, reach out, be loving toward myself and others. Be forgiving of myself and others for small things.
- Sleep well. Take naps. Snuggle in bed.
- Enjoy my body where it is now. Sexually speaking, physically speaking. Dress in ways that say I love my body right now. Dress up. Go out.
- Move in the ways that make me feel good. Ask for help in carving out more time to be active. Walk the puppy. Play and dance with the kid. Take walks at work (wear or bring sneakers to make this easier to do*). Dance. Swim. Play. Get outside. Walk in the woods.
- Eat for maximum enjoyment and nutrition while staying mindful. So, for me, this means not stopping myself from eating for emotional reasons, but being clear about what I’m doing, which may in turn allow me to feel fulfilled with slightly less. This isn’t a dieting trick, this is something I do so that I don’t see a scary number on my blood glucose monitor.
- This one not everyone may agree with — but weigh myself occasionally. This helps keep me grounded in what is actually happening, rather than what I imagine is happening, and gives me some feedback about what I’m doing. It is a good exercise for me in taking some external input and determining how I want to incorporate it. Not reflexively, but thoughtfully.
- Plan ahead just enough but not so far ahead that I feel restricted. Just like if we’re going to be out of the house for a few hours around lunchtime, I would think about what I will be offering the kiddo for lunch, doing the same for myself. But not to box me in, more to make sure I feel secure that I won’t be depriving myself.
- Acknowledge that this is a stressful, busy, full time, and that might make some of the above things harder to do than usual. So, no worries, just do the best I can.
- Look at adjusting my meds — I have some flexibility. I’ve done this already to the benefit of my sleep, and it may be a while before that adjustment translates into less stress and overall health. So, give myself some time to see what the changes have lead to.
Okay, so, that’s my self-loving list of what I hope to do in the next few months (and for the forseeable future) to head myself to a more comfortable spot as it relates to overall health, and as a side effect, may get me back to my comfort spot, weight-wise. To clarify, I weigh around 214 pounds — and my spot of comfort (where my type 2 diabetes is well managed and I’m sleeping well) is around 205 pounds, plus or minus a few. I’m five feet tall (and a quarter or so).
*Ironically enough, I’ve been dressing up more for work, and that’s meant wearing shoes I can’t take a lunchtime walk in. Sometimes the clothes themselves make it tough for me to take a walk (such as slacks that require high heels or would drag in the Pacific NW mud in sneakers). Dressing up at work makes me feel more secure and less stressed in one way, but makes it hard to take short walking breaks at the same time. One solution is to bring a change of clothes/shoes, but again, that can stress me out as I’m trying to be at work the fewest possible hours in order to get home to my family or actually get a longer, more concentrated “bout” of exercise with what I perceive as greater benefits, emotionally and physically. Changing any one part of the system has ripple effects.