» health, noncompliance & the fat girl.
  • health, noncompliance & the fat girl.

    Jan 14th • Posted in health, personal, writing

    courtesy of eric lon, flickr.

    Those who have read this blog have read about some of my struggles about body image, fat positivity and self-acceptance.  I’m very proud to be a self-proclaimed fat girl. I’ve always believed that what is on the outside does not matter… it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But what if what’s on the inside is a sticky web made up of mental roadblocks, excuses and heaps of non-compliance?

    Then you get me, having a minor panic attack at six in the morning on a Monday in an outpatient endoscopy center waiting room. Look, I’m not bothered by my body shape or size. I’m perfectly happy and content with my body size and the fact that I’m fat. Being fat and being healthy aren’t mutually exclusive, and some people naturally veer towards certain body shapes. My father’s side of the family is certainly somewhat genetically predisposed to being bigger, so I’m OK with the curves and ‘dat ass.’ No matter what I do, I’m still going to have a pudgy face and thick calves. It’s fine, I’m super happy with those features. However, what I’m not happy about is having to go to a doctor’s office at least once a week dealing with some sort of medical issue.

    So when I had to go to the endoscopy clinic at six in the morning for the second time in the week and realised I was the only female patient there and definitely the only one who was under 50– I realised something had to give. And that “give” has to be me.

    Let me reiterate that these are my health issues that I’m writing about. My experiences are my own, and may or may not be representative of others. Please do not take my health issues into account while reviewing or reflecting upon your own. Like I mentioned before, I’ve met tons of proud, fat, independent women who are doing it up, eating right and are super fit. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I struggle with certain diseases (PCOS) that exist with specific comorbities; one being type-two diabetes.

    The day I found out that I had type-two diabetes, I sat in the Starbucks of a Target with my roommate and cried. At the time, I had known that I was pre-diabetic for a couple years and I was already on a strict medication regimen. I cried because I blamed myself for causing it– I was noncompliant with my medication. I cried because I was frustrated, seemingly fulfilling the worst case scenario prophecy my doctors and parents warned me about. Most of all, I cried because there was nothing else I could do at that point. I felt helpless. And then, of course, I cried my feelings into a red velvet cupcake and an iced venti chai tea latte.

    It’s not like things have changed all that much from then until now. As a strong-minded, career-driven, twentysomething in school– the last thing I thought about was my health. Even after undergraduate life, I still find it difficult to adhere to a strict medication regimen. Life is hectic! Things get in the way. Maybe that’s why the majority of patients are noncompliant 1http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/818850 when it comes to their medication. By the time I actually remember to take my medication, I’ve missed the previous day’s dosage and the vicious cycle repeats itself.

    As a twentysomething year old female sitting in a room full of men who were definitely over the age of 50, I realised that something was way off: I shouldn’t even be here. If it weren’t for my health issues, my lack of motivation to adhere to medication and my mental issues with what was seemingly balancing a healthy diet and exercise 2I still don’t understand why I can’t balance once with the other. It seems like I can never win. Ack!!! I probably wouldn’t even be sitting in that office. (Honestly, most of these issues may be due to my diet and weight. But perhaps the results are also partially genetic.)  Luckily, the exams went without a hitch.3The lucky thing about being so young is that things like anesthesia react well. I should hear about my results when I go to my doctor’s office on Thursday.

    However, I still have to work on my health struggles. I need to be honest with myself and keep myself accountable. While I am lucky and blessed to have the support of my amazing boyfriend (who cooks with me and motivates me to exercise) and the well-intentioned but misplaced nudgings of my family– they won’t always be around to keep me healthy (hell, I’d even settle for being a functional human being at this point.) There’s definitely something lacking in my routine, and I need to learn how time manage more efficiently and set aside at least an hour to go to the gym and exercise. I also need to set an alarm (and always carry my pills with me) to take my medication, so that I can improve instead of getting worse. And I also need to stop succumbing to the sweet temptation of the dessert menu at restaurants. sad I’ll have to eventually convince myself that it will hurt less.

    Footnotes   [ + ]

    1. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/818850
    2. I still don’t understand why I can’t balance once with the other. It seems like I can never win. Ack!!!
    3. The lucky thing about being so young is that things like anesthesia react well.
    • It sounds like you’re on the right track! The best motivation tool for exercise is to get a dog. Then you have to get up and out at least twice a day lol

      I wish I could offer better advice on how to better motivate yourself towards a healthy lifestyle, but I’m still getting myself. Journey together! :)

      For now, I’d say to continue loving and accepting yourself. And to make little changes where you can. Rome wasn’t built in a day. :)

      • Hahaha, I tell my boyfriend ALL THE TIME that we need to get a puppy so I can take it out for runs all the time.

        And yeah, no worry! We’ll get through it together. At the moment, due to my exams– I’m not allowed to exercise for a week. Somehow, the restriction actually makes me want to get up and do something. And thank you for the advice. I love myself and I love my body, but I really need to start getting healthy on the inside too.

    • I have PCOS too! I blog about it a lot and my journey through changing my lifestyle to help with PCOS. I was a bit surprised to find out I had PCOS because I was never at a point in my life considered obese or even overweight. It sucks because being thin or even having a normal BMI still puts me at a huge risk for type2diabetes. It’s incredibly frustrating. Both my parents are diabetics even if they are not hefty (both are actually within normal BMI range as well). I honestly blame the rice that they consume and obviously being sedentary and succumbing to living a stressful life.

      I wish you all the best, Christa! You can have PCOS and still be healthy. It’s all about making the right choices. It’s a struggle, but just know that there are many women out there experiencing similar things like struggles with PCOS.

      • It’s strange to talk about PCOS because it’s one of those things that I just live with and don’t really deal with, even though it’s EXTREMELY co-morbid with my other diseases. It’s funny too, because I never thought of PCOS as something that people really talk about. I didn’t think anyone in my family had it until I brought up sex, getting pregnant, etc. to my cousins and my cousin-in-law mentioned that one of my cousins has PCOS… So I guess it’s fairly genetic and found on my father’s side of my family :) Something I didn’t know until recently. Anyway, it’s funny that more women don’t talk about having PCOS, and are inclined to keep it a secret.

        Both of my parents are also type two diabetics (even though my mother is on the skinnier side,) so having type two diabetes wasn’t really a matter of “if” as it was “when?” The unfortunate and frustrating thing about PCOS and diabetes while being overweight is that PCOS really hinders the weight loss that would come with diet and exercise. It’s a really sad vicious cycle I sometimes feel myself working through, but not this time! This time I’m taking steps to be more proactive.

        • EviFigg

          Girl, I feel you. I have PCOS. It is rough finding balance enough to be able to lose weight. I hated focusing on a number. You’re right–no one talks about PCOS, but it isn’t an uncommon disorder. I feel like not a lot of people appreciate how difficult it is.

    • Pingback: health, noncompliance & the fat girl. | Love All Blogs()

    • Hi Christa,

      this is the first time I’ve stopped by your site, so this is the first time I’ve read about your struggles, but I’m very happy to read that you are taking control of what you’ve come to realize is a problem. My brother & I are genetically pre-disposed to diabetes (grandma has it). My mother adores chubby children & never really did anything to help him lose weight when he went from average sized Asian boy to morbidly obese. He started to develop diabetes, but took up biking, lost nearly 100 pounds & no longer has Acanthosis Nigricans. My mom still cooks cholesterol, sodium, & fat laden foods (she loves her red meat & soy sauce based ingredients), so living at home for my brother is counter productive to all of the weight he lost living away from home. But he knows that he can’t get “fat” again because he’d risk what he’s already overcome.

      I’m sharing you this story because I’m really very sorry to hear that you developed diabetes, but you can make it easier on yourself. While Google is working on contacts to help diabetes patients, you must really do all that you can to work on bettering your health. You don’t need to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel to be happy or healthy, you just have to make sure you eat as healthy as possible. Introduce more tea into your diet (no sugar!), stay away from refined sugar (try agave syrup or honey instead, but don’t over do it), & rather than snacking on baked goods or delicious dessert, just eat a fruit. You mentioned that you’re not a fan of vegetables, which is problematic in eating healthier, but you can train yourself to eat it because you know your body will thank you later. There are plenty of foods I used to hate growing up (whole wheat bread & the like), but when I realized how much better whole grains are versus that white wonderbread crap, I started to really appreciate how delicious it really was. I changed my attitude on it & accepted it. Now it’s the only kind of bread I do get & bread is not an every day thing for me. Change out your pastas for whole grain, white rice to brown rice, & if you’re in a rush in the morning, buy frozen fruits & toss in some green or oolong tea + spinach (it tastes like nothing) + some slices of tofu for protein & you’ve got yourself a heart healthy breakfast.

      I sincerely hope that your health only improves from now. It is hard to take control of this, especially since we’re both in a post-bac program which is time consuming. I can’t even wake up early to go to the gym because I’m so lazy (lucky to have a fast metabolism otherwise I’d be morbidly obese like my brother was), but I try my very best to make time for it. Surely your university has a gym you can use? You’re paying for it in your tuition, right? Take advantage of that! It’s easier to eat in the Bay Area too, tons of great vegan, vegetarian, & health conscious places. Try to cook more with your boyfriend & stay motivated! Keep strong, your health is on the line. Additionally, you’ve only got 10 years in your 20s & they say it’s when you look the best. Take care of yourself now & you’ll find it easier to make it to 70 without major health problems. I believe in you even though I just met you! :)

      P.S. my mom sets out all the pills she needs to take in the morning on a saucer. Maybe before you go to bed, you should have a routine in which you take out all the pills you need to take, put it in a saucer or small bowl aside a bottled water. Place it on your nightstand or your kitchen if you always grab a snack before you leave for school. That way you’ll remember to take them all before your day officially starts! :D

      • It’s actually not vegetables that are the problem! I love vegetables– but given the choice in a situation where I’m not cooking, i find that I rarely get vegetables with my meal. At the moment, it’s frustrating because I’m on a restricted diet (due to the endoscopy exams) but once I get back to San Francisco, I think things will make more sense. Unfortunately, the worst part about being in a post-bac program is the fact that things ARE so busy and hectic. I also spend a good chunk of my time travelling to and from the city (I spend a lot of time at my boyfriend’s house, as it’s just easier to cook and be healthy there.)

        My school has a gym, but the hours are slightly off, as my program is at a small, liberal arts “college.” I don’t really spend a lot of time on campus, so I’m just going to have to utilise and find time outside of school to force myself to exercise. Thankfully, I invested some money into a TRX, so hopefully it will be easier to get back on the horse. Yeah, my parents tried to get me a pillbox, but I’m simply on too much medication for it to be useful at the moment. :/ Thank you for your encouragement and kind words though. :)