Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Healthy 2015: In Charge of My Own Health

I feel healthy. I look healthy, too. My cheeks are pink instead of pale, I can go long distances without tiring, and I don't require food quite as often in order to keep my hypoglycemic body functioning.

The trick is that I gained weight. (Well, the first trick is that I got married, to someone who forces me to have fun once in a while. The second trick was gaining weight.)

It's sad how astounding that idea is. I gained weight and became healthier. It's not that I was an obscenely skinny person. It's not that I was under weight. Nor am I now overweight. I went from okay to just right.

There is so much pressure put on looking a certain way. I remember times when people I didn't see for a while told me, "Have you lost weight? You look really good." Conversely, I've gotten close friends and family occasionally saying, "Have you gained weight? Be careful; I know your hypoglycemia puts you at risk* for diabetes."

These comments are hilarious when you consider that my weight stayed within the same 15-lb range for the last twelve years. And some of that was me getting a final growth spurt in college.

We notice "changes" in people's appearance of weight that aren't true to reality. We think someone has gotten fatter, or skinnier, without actually being that person or knowing them well enough to be sure. They're skinnier compared to me, or I look better than they do, we think. We make these little judgements, because we're programmed to, because we're looking for them, because this is how we weigh people (no pun intended).

It made me insecure sometimes that people would notice these nonexistent fluctuations in my weight. Not that I ever jumped on a diet or anything. But I wondered. I worried.

But doctors had been telling me for ages that I needed more internal fat--not the stuff you see, but the stuff that nests around your internal organs. It took Nic telling me that he wouldn't care if I gained weight, that I would look good gaining weight, that in fact he wanted me to gain weight if it meant I was healthier.

This last year has been comparatively low-stress for me. Consequently I have enjoyed eating more and had fewer stress-induced digestive issues. In all that, gaining a little weight just sorta happened.

I'm really happy with myself. I look and feel great. It's the "feel" part that matters most, I keep telling myself. I feel healthy.

I want to keep this up. I want to stay a healthy person, not fall into decay and become the stress-gnawed pale little person I was. I want to keep eating second helpings of salad and real lunches every day. I don't want to ever again fear that being a healthy weight will make me look fat.

This year, I'm in charge of deciding what feels good inside. Not friends or family. Doctors can have a say, of course. But I want to stay feeling as good as I do now. If that means weighing ten pounds more, great! I have energy. I have color. I don't have hypoglycemic crashes.

No more listening to the gnawing voices of doubt, the voices of strangers offering advice. Do what feels right by your body.

Word count: 555.

* This is technically true. I am severely hypoglycemic, needing to keep my blood sugar up constantly. I've been hospitalized for this too many times when I went just hours without eating. I was told that if I let my blood sugar rise and fall too much, I would stress my pancreas and eventually it would stop working and I would get diabetes. So, yes, I am technically at risk. But I'm at risk because of not eating, not because of over-eating.