Like most overweight women, I dread going to a doctor– especially, most especially, a new doctor.
You never know if a doctor is going go treat you like a second-class citizen if you’re obese. Worse? They’ll diagnose you fat before they listen to what brought you into the office in the first place. There are some great pieces about this on the Dances with Fat blog.
I scheduled an appointment for a regular check-up with my new doctor here in Florida because I hadn’t had one in a while. To my surprise, I had a wonderful experience. Not one person– the staff, nurses, or the doctor herself mentioned anything about my weight. Even after I weighed in on the scale. As part of the check-up, the doctor said she wanted to run a series of blood tests, and I complied willingly.
I took the blood tests and made a second appointment. The tests came back terrific. No problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid. All within the normal range. The cholesterol could have slightly been better, but nothing to worry about at all. She did note that I had some B-12 issues, and I told her that was hereditary. I remember my father having issues as he aged. She was very concerned about this, and we set about to put a program in place to raise my levels.
Never once did she mention my size.
It’s as if I were a “normal” person, which in fact, I am. How refreshing. I will drink to that.
Over the weekend, I caught a little of Ragen’s Fat Activism online conference. You can still sign up (until Wednesday) to hear the speakers here. I’ll get to listening to all of these over the next few months.
In the meantime, this speaker, Golda Poretsky, did a TEDx talk on, “Why It’s Okay to Be Fat.” I think it captures everything I’ve been reading and learning on this topic.
Give it a listen.
My son turned 18 this summer and is headed to college in a few weeks. He’s my last child and empties my nest. It occurred to me that he has never known me to be a thin woman. Never. I was a fat bride in 1995, and I’ve been a fat Mom his entire life. Even my darling daughter pictured in the photo here has never known me to be thin.
This blog began as an attempt to work on weight loss. Although I lost 50 pounds a few years ago, I ended up injuring myself, taking on an unhealthy obsession about losing weight, and eventually gained all the weight back. The best outcome of that exercise was learning how to cook.
In my last post two months ago, feeling the pressure to conform to society’s disdain for the obese, I began once again on the path to restricting my food intake. Over the summer I’ve discovered a blogger, Regan Chastain, who has greatly influenced my opinion on these tough issues. Regan is a fat activist and writes powerfully about the everyday prejudices faced by the obese population. I was mostly drawn to her cogent and honest discussion about the myths that link obesity to disease and morbidity.
Thinking again about my wedding so many years ago, I’m reminded of my rail thin ex-mother-in-law who has suffered with debilitating health issues for as long as my son has known her too. In the past 18 years, where she has cost the federal government and State of N.J. thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in medical costs (medicare and state pensions), my physical health has been exceptional. I simply have no physical health issues that warrant any concern at all. With the exception of the injury caused by my severe weight loss program, I’ve had a cold here, a skin rash there, an achy elbow… that’s about it. In the past few years, I didn’t even have health insurance because I literally never went to the doctor.
So, this blog is pivoting from today forward. I’m going to write about the “Audacity of Enjoying Life While Fat.” I’m mostly going to document what it’s like to be an obese person in a society so fixated on a premium of fitness, physical attractiveness, and conformity within a rigid standard for acceptable physical appearance. I will leave the past posts as a reminder to people who stumble upon this blog, that I was once like you. Someone who felt ashamed of what they looked like.