Friday, February 26, 2010

Another battle

I have been thinking about this for several days now. When reading blogs the other day, one blogger said she didn't know how a woman could "let herself go." You know, that is a really good question. If the answer were an easy one, whoever found it would be a multi-billionaire.

I have battled weight for most of my life. It is only recently, while looking at pictures of myself in childhood, that I wasn't as fat as my parents let on. I also have come to this realization after looking at my children and grandchildren.

One of my earliest memories was shopping for school clothes. My dad made a comment because I was X age (can't remember!!) and wore a X+ (some size up). His idea was, for example, if you were six years old, you wore a size 6 dress. That stung me. I worshiped my dad.

My kids, and now my grandchildren, all wear clothes that are larger than their age. Skinny Lady Bug is 9. She wears a 10 or 12 shirt. That child is not fat. Wiggle Worm is 1, he wears 18 mo to 2 year. This was the same with their parents.

So, with me, the dye was cast. My role was to be fat. I wore clothes bigger than my age, so that was that. I was not obese however, but I was larger. I look at my daughter now. She is probably about my then size. She is not fat. She also has a positive body image that I never had - I never said anything about her weight nor size. And I sure didn't make it a bad thing that at age 8 she wore a 10-12.

So what does this have to do with where I am today. I think my body image. I held onto the notion I was fat. So what did another 5 pounds matter? In those early days, weight loss was easy. I remember my dad telling me that later it wouldn't be. Boy was he right.

I was also an only child. Food became my friend early on. With every hurt, every insult, all boredom, it was a constant. Then there was cleaning up the leftovers from the kids and so on. It just built up and built up.

Two years before the cancer diagnosis, I lost about 50 pounds (yes, there was more to go). Then I got the diagnosis, and with it chemo. With chemo they gave me high doses of steroids. Now, we all know about steroids, don't we?

I never made the connection with the weight I had gained with the drug until I was sitting in the radiation waiting room. Another breast cancer survivor said she turned down chemo (gasp!) because she didn't want to gain the weight that went along with it. Well, that helps to explain it. I knew the feeling of despair that I had which lead to me not caring about what I was eating, but wow! It was true - I had nearly absolute zero nausea. (I thought chemo would make me lose weight - I envisioned the "typical cancer patient".)

Well - here we are today. I thought I was doomed because I just couldn't find the will power. I'm here alone all day - bored. When I finally snapped I could spend the day upstairs - away from food - crafting, I also decided I would have my knee done. I hadn't lost any weight though - even staying upstairs all day.

I had the knee done - stayed in the hospital for five days - the first two on a cardiac diet. Food turned on me. It tasted terrible. I lost about 10 pounds according to my cardio doc's scale. Food still doesn't taste good most of the time. I am on the weight loss train again.

Will it last? I don't know. Menopause is not kind to us, women. The anti-cancer pill keeps estrogen from being produced. That adds to the problem. It isn't going to be nearly as easy this time, but I am on my way again along this well traveled road. The ruts are deep. I just hope there is something worthwhile at the end.

It has taken a lot for me to not delete this post. I really am not feeling sorry for myself. The issue of weight is not pure and simple. A doctor I had 30 years ago was from Alabama. He said that he remembered those razor back hogs. Some would gain weight easily, and some never gained an ounce. He thought people were like that too. I believe it. Son, Lady Bug, and my dad were that way. Mom, Daughter, me - nope. The issue of over weight is so complex. I wish there was an answer.

(Just a little side note here. My bathroom scale is a trip! Depending on where it is on the floor and how I stand on it, I can lose 10 pounds by just moving it!)


Jenn Jilks said...

Great post. How dare ANYONE make a judgement about another.
Walk a mile in my shoes...
You don't 'let yourself go'. You deal with the issues in your life, you help others, you walk the walk and suddenly you are up 5 lb.s whatthehell.
You carry on, carrying on. You carry another and look after him/her. You give yourself permission to do what you need to do.

Grandma K said...

Jenn, I believe our culture just doesn't allow for people who are not the norm (whatever that really is). I wish I could find the answer for all of us who constantly fight those pounds - I don't know what it is. Would I trade with people who don't know what it is to gain? In a heart beat. My dad was one.

No one since my parents have directed their criticisms directly to me. Behind the back, I'm sure. I just got to thinking about the battle - especially since at this moment I am winning this one. Let's hope for the war.

I do know there are physical and psychological reasons that people gain. Fighting them is the problem. With some addictions, you can do your best to stay away from the substance (i.e. alcohol). It's tough to stay away from food.

Thanks for the comment. It means a lot.

judemiller1 said...

I was the one who wrote the post about how woman could let themselves go--as I used to wonder, but I said that now I know how--because I am right there with them. The inability to exercise or even walk doesn't help and the over all lack of self discipline that I have. Sure I know that piece of chocolate I have every night is going to add weight--I think of that all the time I'm eating it.

I hope I didn't offend as it wasn't a judgmental statement--it was the way I used to wonder and the way I found out why--I am right along with you. As my now XL shirts are looking small.

Grandma K said...

Oh, Jude, no. You didn't offend, you got me to thinking again. That's part of why is had such a long answer to Jenn. After i put the post up, I was afraid you might think I was offended or whatever.

As I am winning this little battle, right now, it made me think of why I couldn't do it before - like I have done for so many other times. Then a lot of memories - as well as hurts from the past - came bubbling up.

You are right, not being able to move, much less exercise, certainly doesn't help! (PS - I am still envious of the metabolism you had!)

Susan Adcox said...

Time does a number even on those who don't have a tendency to gain weight. Right now I weigh more than I did when I was pregnant! Of course, those were the days when our doctors (male) would fuss at us for every pound gained. I only gained 16, 20 and 25 pounds with my pregnancies. And now I've put on those 25 pounds plus with no bun in the oven!

Bottom line is: What's in your brain and your heart is more important than what is around your middle.