As many of you already know, this past Saturday was the Guilderland WW Center’s Grand Re-Opening, and I was there all day, helping to (wo)man the Crossfit info booth (along with the lovely Ari), and then participate in Success Stories Live.
I think it was a pretty fun day for everyone, and the highlight for us was most likely getting partygoers to do burpees (hey, I even did some in my dress…in addition to the air squats you see me doing above…gotta get those Activity Points anyway we can, right?). I was also surprised at how many people seemed genuinely interested in checking out Crossfit. That made me totally happy, because I, too, was once a skeptic, and Crossfit definitely changed MY life, and they clearly have the capability to change others’ lives, too…but they have to take the first step and walk into the door.
Success Stories was pretty rad, too. I was honored to speak, and to be among eight other fabulous people who have lost weight (there were several people who lost 100+ pounds, and one young lady who lost 255+ pounds–amazing!), even though I’m not yet at goal.
But this got me to thinking…I know I shared how I got into Crossfit, but I’m not sure if I ever shared how I was pushed into the doors of Weight Watchers in the first place. I guess now is as good a time as any to share.
The Epic “Aha”
In October 2010, I was a new Graduate Assistant, and I now had my own health insurance coverage. And I was no longer living in Oregon. So, I suspected that it would be a good time to find a new doctor, just to have a little meet-and-greet, so I could continue getting whatever prescriptions I needed.
I should preface this by saying that up to this point (I was 25, turning 26) I had never had any weight-related health issues, luckily. I am aware of the long-term effects of obesity, but I had not experienced any of them, and for all intents and purposes, I was quite healthy, with the exception of my weight.
My doctor in Oregon had been my doctor since middle school, and had known about how much I weighed. It essentially was a non-issue, and would most likely remain a non-issue until something bad happened (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.). Also worth noting, I have always been fat. Looking back at my baby book and early records, at around 2-years-old, a doctor described me as “husky, but healthy!” Aha moments were unsuccessfully forced upon me, and by the time I was 23, I found myself fat and trying to deal with it. As a result, I turned to Fat Acceptance, and started doing plus-sized fashion blogging (which is what this actual blog was before dkgetsfit). I spent several years trying to convince myself that I was okay with myself, that I was beautiful and healthy the way that I was, and that this was my life, and that was the end of it. Because, you know, when you get to be a certain size, you feel like you’re beyond all hope, and there’s just no turning back, unless you have some sort of crazy surgery. Having that much weight to lose is terrifying and overwhelming, and seemingly impossible. So instead, I decided to just accept it.
And then I went to this new doctor.
I hated the experience right-off. I thought the nurse was an asshole. He looked at me with smug contempt, and forced me, against my will, to get onto the scale. Surprisingly, the number was 15 pounds less than it was the last time I was weighed.
He lead me to a cold room, where he asked me regular questions about my medications and my history.
Then the doctor came in.
Then the fun began.
In addition to suggesting I go find a church for moral support (during a breast exam, mind you), she insisted, just by looking at me, that I had diabetes, and ordered a blood test (which, by the way, my health insurance didn’t cover). Also, just by looking at me, she thought my mobility was horrible, so she had me walk across the room on my tiptoes and then on my heels (I could do this). It was humiliating. Then, to top it off, she gave me the number to a “great nutritionist,” and told me to come back in three months for a pap, and that she would like to “see less of you.” (I still haven’t been back.)
I was beyond devastated, and could not believe that I had been treated so horribly.
I called my insurance company to see if they would cover the nutritionist. They would only cover the nutritionist if I had diabetes (I don’t have diabetes!). Then I called the nutritionist just for shits and giggles, only to find out that she was a belittling bitch (just like the doctor). Not only could she “get you down 75 pounds” using Medifast, but she would OMG TAKE ME ON A TOUR OF A SUPERMARKET!!!!! Granted, some people could benefit from such things, but I’m not a stupid person, and I know how to read labels, and what macronutrients are. In a way, I was happy that insurance wouldn’t cover her BS.
I then sat in the parking lot of the doctor’s office, crying over the phone to my mom.
She was sympathetic to me being upset, but again decided that this would be a good Aha Moment for me, and told me that the doctor was right, and that she never understood why my physician in Oregon never made a big deal about it, because it was definitely an issue.
She then told me that I needed to go to Weight Watchers that week, that they would help pay for the fees and membership, and that I needed to start taking care of myself.
This conversation did little to console me, and in fact probably made me even more upset.
She called me every day that week to ask if I had gone to register yet. Each time, I said no.
Until Friday, when I finally walked through the door of Weight Watchers and registered.
But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go there by choice. I walked in and let everyone know that I was being forced into it, and I really had no interest in changing my lifestyle…that I was going to continue eating butter regardless, because it’s wayyyy healthier than the chemical-ridden reduced-fat alternatives.
I met Jennifer. I sat in her meeting, probably with my arms crossed, being suuuuper pissy and just really angry. And I left, and I didn’t stop being angry. I did the plan, and lost a few pounds the first week, but I didn’t really care. Because, my reasoning was, once you get to a certain size, you naturally fluctuate a few pounds, so until I got to a significant number, it was all just water weight, etc.
I literally forced myself into the meeting room every Thursday, and I hated every second of it.
I didn’t tell ANYONE I was doing Weight Watchers until I had lost almost 50 pounds, and even then, I wasn’t completely open about it until recently. I still felt shame about going, and like I needed to have an explanation for myself and how I got to where I was.
But, eventually, I started hating it less and less, and have become more and more of a program advocate. Because, first of all, what I was doing was not a fluke, and I have fought for every single ounce of the 77.4 pounds I have lost. Crossfit was a HUGE part of that, but Weight Watchers was an equally important component, I believe.
Now that I’ve opened up a bit more about my WW story, people have asked me if I’d ever thought of that experience at the doctor’s office as a good thing, because it seems to have been the catalyst for what brought me in the doors. That’s true, but part of me is still filled me rage, because, fundamentally, at the core of that experience, I felt like I was not being treated like a human being, on the principle of how much I weighed. I had never been treated like that before, and I believe that nobody should ever feel like that, regardless of size.
Ultimately, I am glad that I found WW and Crossfit, but I’m still kind of bitter about the actual Aha Moment. But…you know…I think that sometimes having a little bit of anger can make you push harder and drive faster toward success. The trick is to not let it consume you. So now, I’m using that experience to make sure I never feel like that again….
Here’s to the future!