"If you lose some more weight..." How many of us have heard that comment before?
<<Darts both arms up into the air>>
Obviously weight and weight-related issues are prevalent in my mind since I write about them. ;)
But why am I talking about it now?
Let me take you back to yesterday's visit to the doctor.
On Tuesday November 12 (my wedding anniversary), I headed to the doctor to get my foot checked out since I have been rocking some dull foot pain for a good 6 weeks now. Probably time to get it checked out, right? ;)
I sat on the ever so comfortable doctor's table/chair situation with that fancy sheet of paper fabric on it. The doctor came in - who I haven't seen since 2005 - came in to chat about my problems. I explained the foot pain, she checked out my feet, sat down, looked at me and said:
"If you lost some weight it would be better for your foot. Less pressure on it."
<<insert shocked face here>>
Inner monologue: But I weigh in the 150s which is in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height.
<<insert punch to the gut feeling here>>
Inner monologue: Do I not look as fit and healthy as I feel?
<<insert tiny emotional breakdown>>
Inner monologue: So I should start losing more weight ASAP.
Yes insert all that in about a 20 second period before I could respond: "Well I have shed 80 lbs."
She looks up at me over the rim of her glasses and says: "Well that is a good start."
<<insert open mouth shocked face>>
Inner monologue: Doesn't this lady understand how HUGE that is?
<<insert bigger punch to the gut feeling>>
I tried to focus on what she said about my foot and diagnosing me with metatarsalgia (overuse of my foot) and sending me to a podiatrist.
Since my mind was still on the weight comment, I calmly asked her to go back in my weight record since hey I went to this doctor's office since I was a little kiddie.
As we looked at the weight graph, I pointed out how she could see that I hadn't been in the 150s since 1995 ... when I was in 7th grade.
Her response: "Ahhh good job."
Ummm where's that bedside manner Doc?
I quickly gathered my things, grabbed my prescription and burst out the door.
What did I do next?
Had a mental fight with myself about what to do next: go eat a ton of food then throw it up, not eat anything for the rest of the day or go work out as much as possible since clearly I look much heavier than I thought.
But instead of doing all that, I went to my support: social media.
Thankfully between friends, family and social media, I was talked off the ledge about taking this doctor's comments so hard.
But, it really got me thinking, weight and weight issues are SUCH a sensitive subject that some people are completely oblivious to.
Wording ... delivery ... context.
Discussing weight with a stranger is one of the most sensitive topics I can imagine.
Since embarking on my own weight loss journey, I have become more aware of how discussing weight can impact a person.
I remember - before starting my weight loss journey - going to the gym and seeing the really fit/tiny girls on the treadmill and thinking: "They are so skinny. They don't have to be here" and really judging the people around me. I'll be honest - I did it.
Since starting the journey, I now look at that same person at the gym and wonder: "Have they always been fit? Do they have a story to share?"
No matter the person whether they have always been a healthy weight or they have been underweight or overweight - every person has a story.
Now when the topic of weight comes up in any context of my life, I try to be as careful as possible when figuring out how to word any comment I may want to make. Especially since I am a Weight Watchers Leader and part of so many people's journeys.
Because you really have NO idea what that person has gone through.
Looking at me now, people wouldn't know that I have fought to shed 80 pounds.
A stranger looking at me wouldn't know that I still work to recover from two eating disorders.
While lifting 3 lb weights at the gym, a fellow gym goer would be oblivious to the fact that I was in a car accident in the early 2000s that took a lot of strength from my left side.
So the next time the topic of weight comes up in your everyday life, just take a moment to think and choose words carefully.
Did I say anything to that doctor? No and I regret it. I wish I could've told her how much her words hurt and how instantaneously my mind went to a dark place.