I have been thinking about posting here for a while, but keep putting it off for various reasons. Today, however, I am brought to post out of frustration. I had an experience for the first time in my life today that I know that many women have had. I have gained some weight pretty quickly over the last few months, which I am aware of, as I am many of the reasons for it. I have, in fact, already been addressing many of these things because what is behind the weight gain have been things that do not promote a healthy life in general (High stress, not making time to move around enough after starting a new sedentary job, and not making sure to do the things that will help me eat healthily despite my new job - with significant travel between three offices, none of which have a fridge/microwave there has been lots of fast food in my life.) Did my doctor ask about what I was doing to fight these things? No. Did my doctor help me find resources that might help me towards a healthy lifestyle? No. My doctor told me I should lose weight, and printed out an 1800 Cal Diet for me designed for people with Diabetes (which I do not have.) She seemed to chalk everything I have been experiencing, including a month of headaches (ugh!) up to weight gain. Is my Asthma worse? Is my GERD worse? Did I know that weight gain can exacerbate joint and muscle pain (despite the fact that my knee pain was WAY worse when I weighed 40 lbs less than I do now)? You know, weight gain can cause hormonal changes that can cause headaches. I should really exercise every day and eat an 1800 Cal diet (despite the fact that I know that is not healthy for me – she didn’t ask anything about my dieting history – If she had, she would know that I should not be on a diet that low in Cals.)
What frustrated me MOST today is that I didn’t stand up for myself. I am an educated woman who knows a lot about eating disorders, health, and exercise. I have run two half marathons. I have already noticed my weight gain and am trying to make positive changes in my life (i.e. I finally started running again – I am on week 3 of Couch to 5k right now.) I am fully aware that I am not my weight. I understand that my labs are all fine (as they always have been) despite gaining some weight. Even in the moment, before I had the lab results, I had a darned good idea that they would be. Yet I felt shamed and disempowered. The anger and frustration didn’t come until I had left the office. I can only imagine the pain and disempowerment that others have faced in circumstances such as this. It is a shame that the “war on obesity” has caused even our doctors to reduce people to a number and to reduce any medical complaints to being due to one single thing.
Now... I will note that the doctor that I saw today was NOT my primary care provider. It was another doctor at the practice. I would like to think that if it were my primary care provider, who I have built a bit of a relationship with (though, honestly, not much), that I may have been more likely to speak up. But I can't for sure say that I would have. Alas. Maybe next time?