My youngest son’s genetic makeup is much like mine—poor kid. Unfortunately, no matter how much he cuts back on food, sugars, and carbs, and increases his exercise level, he doesn’t lose much weight. I recently took him to a doctor who told him that doctors are learning that obesity is not necessarily from overeating and has more to do with the brain/body chemistry. Hallelujah! I’ve fought my weight my whole life, but there was never an understanding doctor in my years of frustration.
Accusations of cheating on diets, never exercising, lying about what I had ate, have filled my medical history. When I was my son’s age, I decided to decrease my caloric intake until I finally lost weight. I kept going and going until I was down to two hundred calories a day. I laid awake at night so hungry I couldn’t stop rocking back and forth and I shook uncontrollably. My hair had started to fall out and my eyelid kept twitching, but I refused to give up.
After a workout in my room, I raced upstairs for a glass of water. I felt dizzy and weak. I slumped to the floor. I woke up to my father trying to shove a glass of milk to my lips. I shoved it away. Didn’t he understand how many calories are in a glass of milk? I wasn’t going to destroy all my hard work.
He tried to force me again and I fought back until I blacked out again. I woke to the paramedics over me, having had a seizure. I finally went back to eating food, but the seizures continued for many years.
Through college, I was roommates with my skinny sister. I thought that if I only ate what she ate, I would lose weight. I did that for two years and never lost a pound. Okay, so I know you don’t believe me. I must have been cheating, right? Honestly, I don’t believe myself. Especially because all the doctors and authorities on the subject at the time said I must be lying.
Many years ago when I was newly married, I couldn’t get pregnant. A doctor told me it was because I was too obese. I was a size 18. I found a weight loss doctor and he put me on a liquid diet—Optifast. I started the program faithfully, attending all the weigh-ins, therapy sessions, etc. It was a month or two and I stopped losing weight. The nurse accused me of cheating and eating real food. I wasn’t. The only alternative I thought I had was to drink less of the Optifast. The accusations kept coming. The doctor called my husband into his office and told him I was cheating on the diet, and he needed to monitor me more closely.
I was trying to work and remodel our new home. I felt awful. I was tired, stressed, hungry and weak. I couldn’t think clearly. My hair had started to fall out again. The doctor called me at work (not the nurse but the doctor). He was terribly concerned about my blood work and he needed to see me right away. I left work, shaking and terrible upset. I had abnormal liver enzymes levels and later non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
During the course of the next few weeks, I started talking to other patients. They were having trouble with their livers as well, but they didn’t care. They desperately wanted to lose their weight. I began to question the program. One day, I asked the nurse why Dr. Bailey was overweight. She told me he was terribly busy and stressed because he had a lot on his plate. He didn't have time to do the program.
And my job, new marriage, remodeling our house, and ill health of family members wasn’t a load?
I’m glad the medical industry is starting to realize that all obese people are not obese because of stuffing their faces and sitting on their butts. As for me, I still struggle with my weight and, especially, my self-image. I’m hopeful that my son won’t have to deal with those negative self-thoughts all of his life.
Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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