Weight A Minute…

For most of my life I was skinny. Up until about age 21, on a good day, I was 120 lbs fully clothed and soaking wet. Wasn’t that big a deal. Until I started taking the Pill… Doctors will play semantics with you and say that the Pill doesn’t cause you to gain weight. They’re right. It doesn’t. It’s how it affects your hormones that can cause your body’s natural weight management mechanisms to shut down or malfunction. The synthetic hormones from contraceptives significantly reduce free testosterone levels in women and switch off the natural ebb and flow of hormones in your body that regulate its ability to do literally everything. The effects on free testosterone are what mess with weight management and can cause weight gain because of what testosterone, already in small quantities in the female body, does. Contraceptive use also messes with mood, libido sleep patterns and a whole host of other things. All of which I’ve struggled with… and blessedly overcome. But those things are not what I’m talking about here…

I was on the Pill for about 5 years at straight, maybe 7 in total. I gained about 50 pounds. No significant changes in eating habits. Still exercising. Still taking my vitamins. And one day I was looking at 170+ on the scale and realizing that I’d been avoiding looking at 170+ in the mirror and I was…displeased. So I started doing the research and I learned a lot about the effects of long-term contraceptive use on the body, most of it bad, and I knew what I needed to change first. So, I stopped taking the Pill. But the damage was already done. I ramped up my exercise, increased my water intake, cut the few bad things out of my diet and… nothing. My metabolism was completely confused. Most of the fora and blogs and medical journals I found said it could be years before my hormones were restored to the natural waxing and waning and functionality. I didn’t want to wait years. For a number of reasons I needed to sort things out in a short space of time. I needed to feel like my self again.

So I heard, from a former acquaintance, about a reliable, healthy and ‘quick’ way to lose a lot of weight. She’d seen it in action, was going to try it herself and didn’t mind me using her as a guinea pig. And so my HCG journey began. I lost about 50 lbs over the course of a year and changed my eating habits and my diet in meaningful ways. It also cleared up my sinuses and had the added benefit of resetting my hormones and my metabolism. Needless to say, people noticed. And inquired. And I had no qualms about sharing the info.

The change was noticeable and I’ve really tried to maintain my weight. It’s not easy. It takes discipline and some amount of sacrifice. Currently, I’m a lean-ish 150 lbs due to muscle gain from running and body weight exercises and yoga. On a good day when I behave myself and resist temptation, I can bottom out at 145 lbs. But I’m not a good girl so… 150 it is.

But, plot twist, I’m a woman…. dun dun duuunnnn… Didn’t see that one coming did ya? You did…? Oh. Ok…. Well you see, as a woman, I have a wonderful monthly blessing called a period… And during ‘that time of month’ my body retains water. It’s unpleasant. And it’s noticeable. My weight can get all the way up to 155 lbs and I look obviously bloated, especially my midsection and my arms. And every fucking month, someone who knows how much weight I lost sees me at that point in my cycle and comments on my size… Usually to the tune of ‘yuh gain back di weight doh…’ (Translation: ‘you’ve regained the weight’). It’s not a question… It’s not even an observation… The tone is usually tinged with just a hint of glee… And it rankles. Because every fucking month I end up explaining to someone that I’m having my period, I’m retaining water and no, I’m not ‘fat’ again… Um… Sorry?

I don’t get it. These are persons who see me on a fairly regular basis. No, I did not gain 6 lbs in 2 weeks. But even for the ones who don’t… I can almost understand the comment. It’s a cultural thing. What I cannot fathom is the undertone of joy. Why would you, a person who saw me work hard to do something, feel happy that I appear to have relapsed? Yeah, it’s usually persons who are themselves carrying extra weight. Yeah, it’s often people who are not my friends. My friends say it, but the tone is markedly different ( I noticed that today). From them, it’s usually a question based on concern. From others though, it seems to be a case of misery searching for company.

If you’re that insecure about your weight, do something about it. If you’re doing something about it, focus on you. If you’re comfortable with your weight, go live your life and enjoy and leave me and others be. I keep saying and I hope one day even one person will understand. You do not know what a person is going through. If you cannot say something kind or supportive or uplifting, do not say anything at all. The effect of these continued comments is that every month I became extremely conscious of my water weight. It had gotten so bad about 2 years ago that I started panicking each month as I noticed the changes in my body. I’ve had to consciously retrain my brain to not become overly concerned with it. I have to remind myself that in a few days I will look smaller. I’ve had to almost force myself to not let it matter. It’s psychologically and emotionally taxing.

So next time you see someone who looks like they’ve gained a few pounds, and you feel like you need to say something… stop… if you’re saying it because you want to make them feel self-conscious,  weight a minute.

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