Interstitial Space

At the end of last week, I posted this on Facebook:

Much to my surprise, many of you have been feeling the same way.  ((HUGS TO ALL)) 

It wasn't until I ran into a friend/coworker that I began to make some sense of it.  She said that I was in a interstitial space.  ("An interstitial space or interstice is an empty space or gap between spaces full of structure or matter.")  In other words, I wasn't adrift in a sea of nothingness, but I was between two points in my life.

It seems that ever since starting this blog (and indeed, for a little longer than that even), that I've been engaged in many struggles to overcome injuries, moods, habits, relationships, etc.  More recently, I spent the past two years with my neck injury and its rehabilitation.  And now, for all intents and purposes, I'm healed.

So... now what?

I think for most of my readers, they get to this mental place when they hit their goal weight (something that I've yet to do), and they no longer have something to fight against.  The new fight becomes not just maintenance, but how to live when every day isn't a struggle.  When we've spent most of our lives suffering under the burdens we carry, and then this period where we learn our strength and cast off the burden, we then have no clue how to live each day with the aim to thrive.

Now, you must be thinking that the path is cleared for me to go full tilt, to actively go for my goal weight, and that's where my mind is.  But I still feel that isn't a fixed point.  I've never been a healthy weight in my adult life.  Finding out my balance point is pretty much a crap shoot.  I don't know what that's going to look or feel like, and I think that's making me scared.  So not only am I in between two points, only one of those points is fixed (my past). 

I don't think I've overdone it.  I know some people absolutely kill it, meet their goals, and then suffer some sort of whiplash.  Though I've done a lot in the gym this past year, it was at a slow and manageable pace.  I didn't push my body past where it wanted to go.  I just allowed for whatever my body would allow for. In the same time, I think I got apathetic with everything -- gym, food logging, food preparation, life.

Kudos to all of you who go out there every day and fight the good fight.  I applaud your motivation.  I applaud your courage.  But man, even being that motivated requires so much energy sometimes.  It'd be nice to have an auto-pilot sometimes that will just take me where I need to go without having to think about it so much.

Primum non nocere

Growing up, I went to the doctor quite often and was prescribed medicine a great deal of time.  In my adulthood, I wanted to be more proactive with my heath, which meant having a strong relationship with a doctor that I trusted.  My no-frills-or-sugar-coating doctor (who told me many years ago (in case I didn't know already) that I was fat), Dr. Roche, decided to leave the practice, leaving me to find a new doctor. 

Dr. Fuisz
I took to my personal Facebook to get recommendations.  One name was recommended multiple times:  Dr. Alice Fuisz.  I booked my first appointment for 12/12/13 -- the one-year anniversary of my neck surgery.  In a word, Dr. Fuisz is awesome.  I especially love how organized her practice is.  They had me come in before my first appointment (my yearly physical) so that we could discuss diagnostic test results during the appointment. 

I also loved that I was fully dressed the first time meeting my new doctor.  So many times one is only wearing a flimsy cloth gown the first time they're introduced to a doctor.  She and I went over my patient intake forms, family history, and any preliminary concerns/questions that I had, as well as the results from my tests. 

We talked about the challenges of weight loss and my desire to continue to drop body fat, but also not knowing where my body is going to end up because I've been overweight since I was 8.  We talked about certain aspects of my blood tests that could be improved (such as my cholesterol). We also discussed the fatigue that I've been feeling, despite getting exercise, eating well, and having a good pre-bedtime routine (she pointed out that it's probably due to my cat getting sick in the middle of the night).

Dr. Fuisz also took copious notes for herself regarding things that she wanted to further investigate and subsequent tests that she wanted to run -- such as whether I've had an MRA scan (there are some schools of thought that believe aneurysms are genetic) as well as my ferritin and B12 levels (both were low normal and can be improved with supplements).  My Vitamin D is still  much better than it was than when I first tested for it in 2010.  I may do a sleep study to make sure that my fatigue is nothing more than being hypervigilant regarding Spike.  (Have I ever mentioned that I used to sleep walk and sleep talk?).

Then she came down hard on me -- giving me 5 reasons (with increasing guilt levels) as to why I should get the flu vaccination.  I was putting up a good fight until she mentioned that one can be a carrier/contagious without feeling sick.  I'd hate to get someone else sick (especially my niece).  She also told me that I was overdue for a tetanus booster.  She's been using a combo tetanus-pertussis booster because there are so many anti-vaccination people out there now that whooping cough is now a thing again.  I'm happy to report that I didn't faint, vomit, cry, or have a breakdown whilst getting the shots.  And I didn't do what my mom did, and treat myself to ice cream after.  Adults know that shots are just a part of life.

So, I have some homework to do and some choices to make (as to whether or not I want to do further diagnostics) and some referrals to use.  But I wanted to share all of this with you because I want YOU to get your yearly physical.  Make it a priority.  Many people who are overweight/obese avoid the doctor because they don't want to address their health and weight issues. You'll hear terms like "doctor shopping" and "weight bias" to explain why people search out certain doctors or why people avoid others. 

The bottom line is this:  neither your doctor or yourself are completely blind to what's going on with your health.  Your doctor should be the one person in your life telling you the plain and honest truth about what's going on with your body.  Glossing over the issues isn't going to help you address them.  So be proactive and ask your doctor to step up to the plate and help you make a positive change in your life.  Challenge them to rise to the occasion or to recommend another doctor that can. 

The great thing is that with a few modifications (some small, some bigger) you can see an instant improvement in your health.  How do your diagnostic tests change after adding a little more activity each day, introducing some new, healthier recipes into your diet, or going to sleep half-an-hour earlier?  Reap the dividends of a healthier lifestyle and have the lab results to prove it (no matter your weight).

Aim for the Stars...

1994 (age 13) was a rough year.
I have always had good taste in men.  Even the gay guys that I've had crushes on are exceptional men.  Even the guys that I loved as brothers were (and are) some of the most special people that I'll ever know in my life.  For the purpose of this blog entry, we'll ignore some of the shittier examples (like the guy that almost broke my neck).

As a 6 year-old on the elementary school black top (in a brand new town), I singled out the boy I'd have a crush for the next 11 years.  While I ended up being a bit of an outsider, he ended up being the captain and quarterback of the varsity football team, a great basketball player, an honors student, and an all-around nice guy. 

He taught me an important lesson:  I think he knew that I had a crush on him all those years (I have the subtlety of a sledgehammer sometimes) and he never once disrespected me for my feelings.  He was kind and gracious even when he didn't have to be (like the time I called him half an hour after finding out that my mother had died, and I just needed to hear his voice and have hope).  At a time when it was easy for everyone else to make fun of me, he never did (or if he did, he did it in a way where it never got back to me).

I think that I was keenly aware that from age 8 onward I was an overweight, pimply emotional wreck, though I was smart and talented.  I knew that I wasn't a catch or popular, and that I probably would never get a chance to date a guy like him.  I had a few other crushes over the years, but my crush on him was enduring and grounded me.  In a way, adoring him was a promise to myself to always aim high, to have standards, to not give up on myself.

This is my sexy face.
All of this is a very long prologue to what I actually wanted to say...which is... that it's ridiculously sucky that even though I'm a completely different person (that no longer resembles a goth Janet Reno), I'm still doing the whole "pining away for unattainable guys" thing.

But it was so much easier to swallow when I didn't think I even deserved a chance.  It was so much easier when I thought that I was dateless and unloveable when I didn't love myself.  Now that I've had a chance to know myself and love myself, I have no clue why guys aren't beating down the doors to love me. (It can't just be that I'm intimidating.)

Never once in my life have I had a guy relentlessly woo me.  I've never had a guy tell me that it would be the end of life as he knew it if I look his way.  I've never had a man stand under my window with a boom box (mp3 players just don't have the same gravity). No flowers sent to my office every day.

Thirty-two years spinning round the sun, and very little romance to show for it.  This makes me so very sad.  I've yet to experience the kind of person that I am or could be with reciprocal love under my wings.  I have the love of my friends (**hugs to everyone**) and family, but it's very different than romantic love, eh?

For many years, I think that I was afraid of loving someone because I know the absolute heart-wringing pain that losing that person feels like.  It's very natural to want to avoid pain like that, and so I did.  But all the same, I'm that foolish girl that runs straight at love, full speed, without slowing down to let it come to me.  I'm not afraid of my heart breaking as much as I'm afraid of living a life where it never gets to be used to its full potential.

I know that scares the shit out of boys.  Good thing I am looking for a man, right?

[Why can't we] "all just get along?" ~ Rodney King

The view from my Dad's place in Brooklyn.
Dad and Hannah being silly.
Go BIG BLUE!! NY Giants!!
My dad cooked an amazingly delicious Thanksgiving dinner for just he and I.  The next day we celebrated my Aunt's **mumbles**th birthday.  It was great to hang out with my family (I don't get to see them that often because they're mostly in the NY/MA area.  A few of us aren't central to that).  My uncle paid me one of the best compliments ever -- that he uses me as a gentle example of someone who has been able to address her weight and health issues.  I'm glad that I can be a force of positive change in my family.

On Saturday, Dad and I had a very long drive back to DC (there were a few accidents on I-95).  On Sunday, we had lunch with my brother, SIL and niece.  Last night, Dad and I went to the NYG v. Skins game (Giants won! And Bear Pascoe waved to me!!).  I'm kinda a zombie now at work and still have enough fortitude to resist doing any shopping.  I'm not religious, but my family does participate in gift exchanges.  I just really hate the whole commercial aspect of it that is thrust upon the consumer.  I'm going to shop and spend money if and when I damn well please.

Okay, I was in a bit of a media blackout the past week and the long weekend, but was clued into the continuation of the Maria Kang saga by The Bert Show and Tony (The Anti-Jared).  

I am loathe to even mention her name here but I will, on the off chance that someone finds my blog and gets a bit of perspective and hope from it.  My POV is this:  any time a person tries to define what a "real woman" is -- you marginalize other people (same with any other "real [this or that]").  It's a "realer than thou"/"healthier than thou" attitude that does nothing to serve or enhance relationships between people and communities.  It's not my place to define who I am by excluding anyone, and it's not my place to define anyone else by my personal thoughts and feelings. We are all real and deserve a bit of respect, compassion, and the freedom to live a life that doesn't impinge on the rights of others.

Kang vented on Facebook, but deleted it and reposted on her site, but not without a long-winded disclaimer (no, I will not link her site, I don't want her making any money off of my readership).  I want to side with her on some things -- such as there being lots of free resources for people looking to make a change in their life and that the journey begins with self-love -- but there are far better people out there saying the same thing without perpetuating the idea of what health/fitness looks like versus what actual health/fitness is (behavior, mental well being, blood tests, etc).  And most importantly, I can't side with her because she breaks New Rule #4 as well as NR4(a-c):

    4a.  I will not let someone else's judgment of me change how I feel about myself. 
    4b.  I am on this journey because of the courage I had when I took the first step.
    4c.  The journey is not a competition; it is a community, a movement, a calling.
The other part that really annoys me is this:  a photo of a person is just a slice in time.  And yet we load on a ton of presumptions about that person based on the photo.  We see the beautiful model, we don't see her sucking on juice-soaked cotton balls (something Crystal Renn wrote about in her book Hungry).  Even Kang makes the point about saying that her photo may look like she's got it together, but then gives a gazillion examples of how she's the every woman.  So then why can't we look at a picture of a larger person and make the assumption that she's taking care of herself?  We assume that fat equals neglect.  We assume that fat equals self-harm.  However, while she goes to great lengths to discuss the obesity epidemic, she says very little about the epidemic on the other end of the spectrum:  kids are getting eating disorders and are practicing self-harm at younger and younger ages.  We've infected them with our own self-loathing, and more than that, we (as a society) endorse it. 

When I look at a photo of myself in bra/underwear or a bikini (and no, I'm not going to post it here), I am proud of all the work that I've done -- work that started with an obese version of myself mustering up the courage to love myself no matter what anyone else said, and especially in spite of what other people would have me think about my own body.

I think about many of my friends here and on Twitter/Facebook that are still overweight/obese but are radically different people than they were before they had the epiphany.  Are they fitness models? No, but they're the model of fitness -- dedicated to exercising, good nutrition, and working on their emotional and mental landscapes.  I don't think Maria Kang gets that.  I don't think she ever will.  And the saddest part of all of this is that her crappy attitude is getting her attention and making her money.