I made a decision about ten years ago to stop coloring my hair. From about my teens my sisters and I had often toyed with hair color, usually trying to change our color to blonde or auburn. Back then it was fun, but as I got older I got tired of all the fuss. And I made a decision to stop coloring… and not to color when I went gray. I didn’t want to HAVE to color my hair or face the prospect of turning entirely gray overnight. So, I’m gradually (and the process has sped up in the last year or so) been going gray.
The truth is, I kind of like the gray, though I’m not really sure why. A few weeks ago I was picking up a new med at the pharmacy and commented to the girl behind the counter (I didn’t ask her age, but I’m ninety-five percent sure she’s younger than me, probably in her thirties) if her hair color was natural. It was an absolutely gorgeous multi-tonal silver. We chatted a while about it and I asked her about shampoos, conditioners etc.
But on a deeper level, maybe my love affair with grey and my refusal to color my hair is my own personal banner for how I mean to handle aging. I mean, its going to happen. I can either worry over my wrinkles, my expanding middle, the extra aches and pains, the trials of menopause, on and on and on… or I can just say, “I’ve got way too much life to live to worry about all of that.”
What I do have time for, is feeling better… I’ve been dealing with the affects of perimenopause for a few years, mostly with weird periods and near-deadly mood swings. But recently I started having hot flashes that were uncomfortable during the day, but also combined with anxiety to keep me from getting a good night’s sleep. It was taking its toll and I was beginning to be miserable.
Thankfully I have found an amazing doctor who has proved to me time and time again that one should never, ever settle for medical care from someone they aren’t comfortable with. Dr. Z and her staff have been amazing about listening and talking with me about my healthcare options. My favorite thing about her is that she recommends a plan of action and then asks me if I agree. She lets ME, the patient, have an active role in my own treatment… its a whole new world to me.
So thanks to Dr. Z I’ve started a mild antidepressant to help with my symptoms. It was originally intended to treat the hot flashes but I’ve been so pleasantly happy with the fact that its improved my mood swings and anxiety. And when I complained about side effect of reduced libido, Dr. Z suggested we try just half the dosage… and wow! I feel like for the first time in about five years that I’m not half a crazy person… and man does that feel good.
So, in a few days I’ll be 43 and I can honestly say that I feel really good about it. What does aging have in store for me in the future? Who knows. All I can say is, bring it … I’m ready!
Over the last 5 or so years my weight has been creeping up. And along with it, I’ve had a few health challenges to face. Premenopause, high blood pressure, iron deficiency, low potassium due to blood pressure meds… it feels like I’ve been on a roller coaster for a while now.
And I’m tired…
I’ve chocked a lot of my issues up to my weight. Why? Probably because I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the scale. It started in high school I think. I hadn’t really known or thought I was overweight until as a freshman two guys in one of my classes started calling me “fats.” After that I started to be insecure about my body. I was in drill team and fairly active, but I ate a lot of junk. But that’s what kids do, right? A bag of skittles was better than eating a real lunch. Going to the grocery store with mom’s store card meant we could grab whatever junk we wanted. And even though I felt “unpretty” because of my weight, it didn’t help me trim off the pounds.
Frankly, I think food became a “comfort” to me. And so it was easy to grab some extra chocolate, candy, junk, etc…
I continued to struggle long after high school. I tried Weight Watchers for a while, but even though it helped at first, it didn’t last. After I got married and we moved away from my family, I put on more weight. My husband is a jogger and he began to encourage me to try to running with him. He bought be a bicycle so that I could try that. But before long I was 230 pounds. And I wasn’t happy with how I looked. Not by a long shot.
But then the hubby was diagnosed with onset diabetes and we decided to restrict our sugar. Low carb, no sugar, high protein. We both worked hard, learning to like new things, learning to cut out the “bad.” And it worked. When the diet started taking the pounds off, I began to jog. Within a few years I was down to 155. I loved being 155. I felt pretty for the first time… well, in a very long time.
But things happen… artificial sugars are bad so I decided we needed to cut some of those out of our diet… and that meant putting sugar back in. I started writing and that nibbled at my normal jogging time. And I’m sure that the onslaught of age and perimenopause also played a part in my gradual weight increase. I tried to shrug it off mostly.
But when my last doctor’s visit showed I was back in the 190 range, I mentally freaked out. I was NOT going back to 230. No way, no how. I needed to do something.
I found a new doctor (my issues with the medical profession will get discussed later.) And I really like her. She listened. She offered suggestions. When I mentioned I wanted to get my weight down, she suggested slow steps. Not a diet, but small changes to my eating habits and more exercise. This made sense to me. It’s something some of my best girl friends and I had discussed over the years.
My beautiful friend Melissa said something I’ve been thinking on a lot: “you need to define what you want out of the weightloss…to have more energy, to feel good, to bring your blood pressure down naturally, and even beyond that…how do you think losing weight will impact your life?”
I’m still not sure of the exact answer. A few simple things come to mind. I’d like to be able to walk and run without my inner thighs chaffing (sounds simple, that I really, really want that!) I’d like to keep myself healthy enough I won’t need more and more (unnecessary) meds as I age. I’d like to feel comfortable in my skin… but that’s going to take more than weight loss I think. It’s going to take my giving “me” a long hard look inside and out. My same friend Melissa also shared this article on facebook recently: “Everything you know about obesity is wrong.”
This article really has me thinking about the fact that health isn’t really a number on the scale or BMI. Each of us is different.
The truth is, all of this weight and health stuff is confusing and complicated. I remember my Daddy used to tease me about my legs. I’m short like him and I have thick, strong legs. Seriously… I think sometimes he wished I’d been a boy so that I could play football. In drill team I could kick with the best of them and I LOVED the dance and drill. Back when I dropped to 155 my mom thought I was too thin and I told her that the BMI charts said I needed to lose more weight.
Last weekend I found the outfit I wore on my last day of high school. It was a school tradition for seniors to wear blue and white checked clothing for “check day” and my aunt had made me a cute little short and I decided to try it on… even though the scale says I’m heavier now, it still fit. So I posted a pic on Facebook.
There were comments from a few of my classmates, one of them commented about the fact that it still fit! And I realized… the numbers aren’t all I should be thinking about. I need to go deeper, look for something more meaningful.
So, here is where I am right now… I know that to stay healthy I have to take care of my body. But in order to keep my heart and soul healthy, I have to NOT punish myself. I have to love me… all of me. In Melissa’s words, I need to be kind to myself.
So, I’m working on some little steps… and a lot of mental introspection. And since I would like to lose some weight… for some reasons I know and some I don’t, I’m starting with that.
My doctor suggested I look at intermittent fasting. I’d never heard of that before so I did some research. This blog by James Clear helped break things down in a way that made sense for me —> HERE
For the moment, I’ve started skipping breakfast. I actually don’t miss breakfast. My favorite meal is dinnertime when the hubby and I get to enjoy being together after my long day at work, so skipping breakfast, eating a good lunch and then a nice dinner feels about right for me.
As of now, I’ve been intermittent fasting for a few weeks. And I’m pretty satisfied with the process. I don’t feel like I stay hungry or that I’m deprived. I’m making sure to do some more activities like taking the 8 flights of stairs to my office and going to the park to walk on my lunch. I haven’t stepped on the scale, but that’s okay… I don’t want to be a prisoner to the numbers.
So tell me, are you like me and struggling with body image and weight? I’d love to hear your stories and suggestions. But most of all remember… You’re an amazing, beautiful person. Love YOURSELF!
For the last few years I’ve faced some changes to my health, some of them related to the fact that I’m now in perimenopause (NOTE: If there are any guys reading this, there’s probably TMI ahead so… you might want to skip these CFM posts? Okay? Okay…)
I’ve been struggling with lots of things including unhappiness with my doctor, increasing weight and waistline, waves of just not feeling good and anxiety.
This month I canceled my appointments with my general practitioner and researched a new doctor, focusing on finding a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) instead of an MD (Medical Doctor.) I switched networks and found a “meet the doctor” video for a gal that really struck a chord with me. So I made an appointment!
Have you ever spent 45 minutes with a doctor? Have you ever felt like you could just tell her and ask her any questions you needed without being rushed out of the door? I’m sure I had that at one time in the medical field, but I can honestly say I hadn’t in a VERY VERY long time. I really loved the rapport I felt with Dr. Z and I hope that seeing her will help me get to a better place medically, physically, emotionally… all of that!
So I’m going to start working on some things so I can get back to “Caring for Me” and I thought maybe some of you might enjoy reading about it as I go. I’ll be blogging about weightloss, grief, perimenopause, doctors, essential oils, binaural beats, and lots of other stuff along the way. So stay tuned and look for the CFM posts on The Oh Blog Spot!