Monday, December 10, 2007

Annual Maintenance

Tis the season for my annual maintenance. I start this week with my annual trip to the dermatologist for my annual exam. Melanoma runs in my family, so an annual exam is necessary. If you have never had an annual exam by a dermatologist, it is one of the most invasive exams ever. There isn't a square inch of your body that they don't examine--up close and personal.

Last week, the annual eye exam and the annual gyno exam. Eyes, no problems. In fact, my vision is always fine. The reason for the visits is again, the melanoma. You can develop melanoma in the back of your eyes-did you know that? I didn't until the dermatologist made me start going to the eye doctor every year. So, every year, we look at pictures of my eye balls (which, eye balls totally gross me out) and make sure there is nothing there.

The gyno, first let me just say I love this woman. She has delivered each of my three children and I have been going to her since I was 15. She is a character straight out of a movie. But, she always seems to know just what I need, especially in labor. Her relaxed and natural approach to all things human has always been a good fit for me. She had a firm voice when I always needed it and a gentle concern when I was scared.

But, the annual exam is always brutal. I knew it was coming-my weight. I have gained and she was certainly going to comment on it. She did. The conversation started with a review for me (as if I didn't know) of my weights for the past three years. I cannot believe what I weighed three years ago. "Tennis just isn't that great of exercise" she said. "Especially if you play doubles." I play doubles I said, but I said I play at a decent level at least four times a week and most often do drill-and-plays for 1.5 hours, it's a fair amount of cardio I said. "No, it just isn't a very good form of exercise."

Okay, first there is no way I am giving up my tennis. Second, it is so much better than no exercise at all and third, I can thank that not good form of exercise for my lovely leg muscles that I am quite happy with. But, okay--point taken I have gained weight. She notes I am still well within healthy ranges, but for me it represents quite a gain. Well, I reminder her, this is the longest I have gone without being pregnant or breastfeeding in eight years--a lot has changed about my body over the past year and I think that, and turning 35, have a lot to do with it.

Yes, probably she agrees. But still, you are on the upswing, let's stop that trend. I again chime in with the fact that I got to that disgustingly low weight after the birth of my third by starving myself, and I mean starving myself. I never ate. I just wanted to be skinny, so I would starve myself. My weight was so low that there was no way I could healthily maintain it. So, I slowly started to gain. Okay, she said, glad you are eating, but watch what and how much you eat.

Well, I try, but since I am so active (with that tennis that is a bad form of exercise), I seem to get very hungry some times. I eat incredibly healthy. But, sometimes I make the wrong choices, which for me pretty much focus around chocolate, bake goods or pasta. No fast food, really rarely even any restaurants.

I now weight the same I did in high school and college. I hate how much I weigh, but I am still within normal ranges and my BMI is still healthy. I couldn't believe I was rationalizing my weight with her. I am now feeling worse about it than ever. All I can think is that she must not realize how sensitive to it I am, how much the numbers on the scale bother me. And, they bother me a lot.

I am trying to reverse the trend, I am trying to get noticeably skinny again, but life is demanding and it is hard. That is not a reason not to succeed, but sometimes things interrupt my quest and remind me there are more important things in life than being super skinny (although I think I only believe that about half the time).

For me, preparing and sharing a great meal with people we love (friends, family, etc.) is worth it. I love that feeling. I hate the way my pants feel the next day, but I love the feeling of fellowship over a meal. That is my constant struggle. On again off again. A mad, mad love affair with food and a deep desire to be skinny. I am manic about my weight. In our casual once a year office visit, I am sure she doesn't realize how obsessed with this issue I am.

I will always struggle with, one of my deep insecurities, perhaps my number one secret--my weight. Someone who is otherwise very confident is stuck viewing themselves as living in a body that is fat. I do need to lose weight and I will--I can, but I think she should be telling me if my BMI is fine and my weight is well within healthy, that she is glad I am not still starving myself all the time.


Anonymous said...

Good for you!! I know how embrassing all the poking and prodding can be, but it's so important, just close you eyes when you hear the rubber glove snap.

Anne said...

Wow. I think you look great and am *really* surprised your gyn would ever mention your weight. I would never think you need to loose any!

Anonymous said...

Your butt looked pretty good in those jeans last week (not that I was looking, of course). I think tennis can actually be good exercise. Have you thought about the fact your weight gain might be MUSCLE and not fat?????!!!!