Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Sharing my numbers and other tales

I'm 5' 10" and I weigh 240 pounds.

That's the first time I've ever written that down.

I've been thinking a lot about how the numbers in my life affect me. Particularly how I feel when the different numbers fluctuate. I lost 20 pounds or so over the past 18 months after being treated for PCOS, Diabetes Type II and Insulin Resistance with Metformin. A common effect of the drug is to lose some weight. For some people is can be a considerable weight loss, for others a small one. But it is taking a lot of emotional processing for me to come to terms with my body changing outwith my control.

The temptation to diet, to go down the path of disordered eating (I'm Bulimic), to lose more weight EVEN THOUGH I KNOW IT WON'T WORK, is huge especially in the face of all the comments and praise from friends and family. Having to reiterate that I'm NOT dieting, that I'm not even sure I find the weight loss a positive, is so tiring.

I've found telling my friends and family my numbers (52 - 44 - 50, 240 pounds, 17 stone 2 pounds, 109 kilos, UK 22, US 18/20) produces much awkwardness. Many people just don't believe me. I'm can't count the number of friends who say 'you're not that fat!', that I 'carry it well' * and that I'm 'big boned' **.

I'm FAT. I became fat when I was about 10, after having Precocious Puberty, starting my periods at age 7, developing PCOS and a mood disorder. Becoming Bulimic at the same time and starting a whole series of stupid diets didn't help either. I've always had a fat adult body and I believe I'll always have a fat body. What's more I'm learning to accept that.

I'm learning every day about Size Acceptance and HAES, about eating well because I like it, not being afraid of being hungry and satiating myself, not making food into 'good' and 'bad' categories, to face the fear that I'll consume the world if I 'let go' my control and learning to enjoy food again, without it having a moral connotation.

Unfortunately I'm not making as much headway with the exercise and moving my body side of HAES. I have a lot of internal abdominal scarring after having a c-section which became infected with MRSA. At the same time as the infection I dislocated my Sacroiliac joint, the joint between the pelvis and spinal column. I spent the first two years of my sons life in pain, sleeping on the living room floor and taking a ton of painkillers. I still have pain from both of them today.

I'm also Dyspraxia, which combined with the tiredness and dizziness from my mood stabilisers (Seroquel/Quetiapine) also causes me to find movement generally difficult. My school experiences of exercise was appalling, as I wasn't diagnosed with Dyspraxia until I was 20. I couldn't then and still can't:
  • catch a ball
  • ride a bike
  • swim
  • cross roads alone
  • jog without falling over
  • use a treadmill
  • use a cross trainer
  • use a rowing machine
  • climb a rope
  • walk in a straight line without falling over
  • dance
  • do yoga poses
My lack of success in any sporting field, combined with the vicious and widespread bulling from pupils and staff alike would explain why I've become conditioned to react to anything resembling exercise or sport with anxiety and sickness.

I used to walk for miles and miles before I had the MRSA infection. I don't trust my body to move without pain anymore though. It hurts to sit up, to stand, to walk for more than a half a mile. I want to be able to dance, to feel my body move with ease, to run without it hurting. I don't think I can though.

The only advice I've ever had about all of this from a medical perspective is, of course, to lose weight. Since moving my body IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM, and I have disordered eating coming out of the wazoo it seems a little.. counter productive to suggest that I exercise and diet to lose weight.

I bought £160 worth of recumbent exercise bike three months ago. It's still in its box, ostensibly because we need to tidy up and wash the great big pile of washing that's in the middle of the bedroom so it's got somewhere to live. I say to myself, to hurt me, that the reason I haven't sorted this out is that I'm essential lazy. A small lost voice inside keeps trying to tell me it's actually because I'm scared of being in pain from exercise and I believe I don't deserve to feel good.

I reread what I've written and it just sounds like I'm making excuse after excuse not to try, not to put the effort in. Part of learning to be kind to myself is having to learn that I have limits that I have to live within. My body can't do everything that other people can do. It's sad but ultimately it's a fact of life that I can't change. Same as I can't do much to change my numbers either. I can just come to terms with them and do all I can within their confines.

* What does that even mean?? I carry my fat separately in a Prada bag, instead of a plastic shopping bag?? What??

** I actually am technically. My skeleton is approximately 40% heavier and denser than is average for my frame and height. Go figure.


Anonymous said...

Hear hear. Beautifully said.

Knittiana! said...

Man, do I miss having you around...