Bitch, Don’t Call Me Fat- My Second Wake Up Call

(Reposted for the new readers from Yahoo.com and the Womansday.com article!)

The Wake Up Call…It’s different for everyone. For some people, it’s the first time having to buy two plane tickets to travel somewhere because they are so fat. For a friend of mine it was the impending birth of his first child. He decided he wanted to be alive to see him grow up. He had gastric bypass surgery to lose the weight. That was never an option for me.

It was August 2006. 8 months since the Sweat Lodge. 8 months of going off medications.

Happy--But Fat--Times

I had high blood pressure and was dizzy all the time. I went to my doctor for something else and she said to me:

“You must lose weight. You are obese.”

I was so OUTRAGED. I was furious and offended in every possible way. I knew I was fat. I wasn’t BLIND. But for some reason having some skinny doctor tell me in a snotty tone that I was obese and pre-diabetic was rage-inducing.

I zoned out after she said the word Obese, stewing in venomous hatred for her. She handed me a pamphlet on how to treat diabetes and how diabetic people should eat. I remember leaving the office and going home still angry.

My neighbor (and one of my dearest friends) was home and I told her what happened. She listened quietly and didn’t say anything either way as I vented. “How could that BITCH call me obese? Who does she think she is?” I was so mad. I was swearing up a storm about how unprofessional and rude she was to me.

I had explained to the doctor that I’d tried everything and could not lose weight. So why wasn’t she HELPING me instead of being a bitch?

I went to bed upset. I woke up the next day upset. Then I started to go through the phases of grief:  shock, anger, guilt (and self-loathing), depression…

I was so fed up with being fat. I was weighing in at 250 pounds. I was miserable, hating my body, hating that I’d let myself get so fat. At barely 5’5, I was well over 100 pounds overweight. I was considered morbidly obese.

The doctor was right. My anger started to subside and what broke me out of that outrage towards my doctor was the word “Pre-Diabetic.” I had to turn that anger towards something else and make a change.

That was the slap in the face I needed. “WAKE UP! Your worst fear is approaching!”

Diabetes.

Injections.

Insulin.

Blood sugar tests.

Lots of equipment.

I had ignored the constant aches and pains of my body: the aching, throbbing feet from carrying 250 pounds around; the horrendous back pain from trying to hold up a humongous chest; the screaming pain in my hips when I walked; being out of breath walking one flight of stairs. Somehow, I’d managed to ignore those wake-up calls. That doctor was the drastic wake up call I finally needed.

As I previously stated, my doctor prescribed me a weight loss drug. I took them for two days and flushed them down the toilet. I hadn’t liked the way I’d felt. I was wired, like on speed or something. And after the six months it took me to detoxify from my antidepressants, I refused to fix problems with pills any longer.

I really wish I could remember what sparked the thought of how to lose weight. Maybe I just always knew it and ignored it. I didn’t get any books, didn’t go to any websites, didn’t talk to surgeons, and didn’t search for any diet gurus. I did it all on my own.

I swam.

I watched what I ate.

Simple.

It worked. I thought I had tried everything. I really hadn’t. I finally found something that works and I never faltered on that resolve.

This weekend I was cleaning a closet and found a box of old photos. It was hard to see some of them. Some of them were too embarrassing to ever post here. But I share this story with all of you because I *know* there are people out there like me who felt (or currently feel) how I did.

QUESTION: Okay Lurkers…I know there are people out there reading this that don’t usual comment. Please comment now and tell me what inspired you to get healthy. Everyone has a story! What’s yours?

59 Responses

  1. I have a similar story. My doctor asked me “What’s going on with your weight?” and I was completely taken aback. I literally didn’t even know how to respond, and was overcome with anger. How could she ask me that? How could I even respond to such a thing? After the sting wore off, I realized she was right and that it wasn’t a personal attack, but that she actually concerned about my health. Despite being obese, I had no other health problems and had always considered myself (relatively) healthy. After a few months, I realized I really needed to make a change so that I didn’t allow myself to fall into all the weight-related problems that my father has had – including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, sleep apneia, a heart attack, diabetes Type II, etc. I literally had to do something, and that’s when I decided to join Weight Watchers for the final time.

    1. What a coincidence that you had a similar experience with the doctor. I wonder if they use that tactic a lot. The “tough love” technique. Tough Love usually does not work on me. I have the opposite reaction than what they want. I’m glad that you listened to the doc and got healthy!

  2. For me even the fear of what the doctor was telling me didn’t put things in perspective. What finally did it and gave me the push I needed was facebook. It may be completely superficial, but I was so sick of having to detag every picture every friend would ever tag. Then every few months I would go back and look at old pictures of myself that I had untagged and berate myself about how I looked. Enough was enough. And while this all began for superficial reasons, once I started working out I craved it and the way it made me feel. I’m still pretty early on in my weight loss and this process is painfully slow, but I’m now living a much healthier lifestyle.

    1. Thank you for sharing Sarah. You make such a good point with this. There is nothing wrong with vanity being the reason to lose weight. I shudder at old photographs and wish I could erase that part of my life completely. I’m sure vanity plays a big part of why I keep trying to live healthy.

    2. That’s exactly it. I’ve actually stopped detagging them now, because I have to stop hiding, but I did it for the longest time and the temptation still strikes everytime I get an email that I’ve been tagged.

  3. My wake up call was having my daughter. She is two now and I want to be around for her for a long time. I want to be able to run and play with her without getting out of breath. I want her to see me living a healthy lifestyle.

  4. You’re so inspiring!

    January of 2008 I made the same resolution I always did: lose weight. I had gained 25 pounds in the past 1.5 years.

    I started writing down what I ate in a notebook. Then I started tracking my calories online and watching my portions.

    I started going to the gym regularly instead of taking 3-4 weeks off working out at a time.

    The weight fell off. Imagine that, hey!? Now, those habits are the way I live my life all the time and I couldn’t be happier 🙂

  5. For me it was seeing pictures of myself and not recognizing that it was actually me in the photos. The person who I identified was no longer showing up in photos. Instead, I looked a lot like one of my family members who has steadily gained weight over the last 5-10 years and now weighs around 300 lbs. The thought that I would continue to follow in my family’s typical pattern terrified me. I knew if I didn’t make the change now, it would only be that much harder down the road.

    Thank you for sharing your stories. It is so nice to get to know you more through your open and honest posts.

  6. My most recent wake up call actually came from feeling REALLY insecure and threatened by another girl. I was in GA with my boyfriend and we went rock climbing with his brother and ex-girlfriend who is still part of his group of friends. I have always been insecure but knowing SHE was going to be there made me feel even worse! The whole time I was so wrapped up in trying to proove I was better than her I didn’t climb well at all and I realized how out of shape and overweight I really was. I saw pictures from that week, too, and I just did not like who I saw. I vowed to improve my climbing and with that meant losing weight and getting healthy because the less you weigh, the easier it is to heave yourself up a climbing wall. We had 2 trips this past year with HER, too, and I wanted to proove myself to her by the time these trips came around I didn’t suck at climbing, I wasn’t overweight anymore, and that I was better than her. This negative/competitive mentality was not the healthiest but it was what kick started me back to eating well and upping my workouts. Over this year, though, I’ve made HUGE transformations to love myself more and to lose weight for my own health and happiness and not someone else. I went on the trips completely nervous but by the end finally realized when my boyfriend said he loved me not for my climbing skills but for who I am that he was telling me the truth. I gave HER a chance. An honest, unbiased chance to be my friend and I didn’t really like her in the end…and I actually saw how insecure SHE actually was towards me!…and realized it’s ok I don’t like her. Once I stepped back and had self love I could see how much she and others didn’t have self love and how my journey towards being a healthy weight and in shape honestly had nothing to do with her after all. Since then she’s been disappearing from my and my boyfriend’s life even as a friend and we are moving forward in our relationship which definitely continues to help my confidence. And since those trips I’ve realized she’s not nearly as important as I thought she was nor does she have any influence on our relationship or how much I love myself. I still have 11 pounds to go to my goal weight and I still have bad days when I feel really insecure…but I know I’ve come a long way from feeling like a fat, unhelathy, and insecure girl last year and that even those people who you least expect are probably just as insecure, if not more!, than you.

    1. You hung out with your boyfriend’s ex? You are a stronger person than me! I don’t think I could do that and remain a nice, friendly person. Man that jealousy monster is a sneaky one, isn’t it?

      1. Thanks 😉 Yeah – I sometimes wonder how/why I agreed to go on the trips with her, myself. But I figured, if they were friends maybe she wasn’t so bad…but no, she was *lol* and thankfully my boyfriend has realized this, too, and is moving on from even their friendship. There were a few times on the trip though that I wanted to push her off the mountains we hiked to get to the rock climbing spots 😉 but I refrained so at least I didn’t look like the mean b*tch. Needless to say, I doubt we’ll be going on any more trips with her! 😛

  7. During my annual physical, the doctor showed me my file and pointed out that I had gained an average of 10lbs a year for the last 5 years. I didn’t think anything of it. At my 30th birthday physical he was already writing out a prescription for me for high cholesterol. All kinds of thoughts went through my head but the main one was that I was way too young to be on a maintenace drug.

    I promised him that if he gave me a year, I would lose some weight and bring my cholesterol down to a normal level before my next physical. He agreed.

    I haven’t looked back since.

    I’m 5’6″. Starting weight 195. Current weight between 138-141

  8. Lurker here! I’ve been reading your blog every day for a few months and love the little boost I get from your posts to keep going, so thank you!

    The final wake up call for me was my 62 year old aunt died of lung cancer this past April . My Auntie who I adored, who I most take after in the family, died at 62 with 2 very young granddaughters left behind because she had a habit she wasn’t willing to give up. I thought to myself after she died, how am I any different? I weighed 250 pounds at 5’1″. I don’t smoke but boy did I eat! My daughter is 15 and I want to do everything within my power to be around for the phases ahead of us both in the coming years. I knew I had to do SOMETHING to avoid the consequesnces of my bad habits. So on April 19th, I started journaling my food and walking. I have tracked my food every day since then and have never gone more than 2 days without exercising. I’ve lost 40 pounds (slow and steady) and just finished my 4th 5k last weekend. I have my sights set on the Disney World Princess 1/2 marathon as my current ultimate goal. And I feel FABULOUS. I still have plenty more to lose but I now know I can do it and I can enjoy the process.

  9. What a great story you have. I am a new regular reader. My weight loss ah-ha moment was very recently. While at the doctor for my yearly exam on Sept., 23 my OB told me I needed to lose weight to regulate my periods if I have any shot to get pregnant. I couldn’t believe this. I went through much the same emotions as yourself how can this BITCH call me fat. I am only 10 pound heavier than I was when I got pregnant with my first. This turned into guilt which lead to a food binge which lead to depression. I now have accepted my challenge to lose the weight so I can give my son a sibling to grow up with. I will attend my first Weight Watchers meeting in one hour. I’m excited to take the first step to reclaiming my body back.
    ~Jenny

    1. I like the proactive behavior! And wanting to get healthy for your boy to have a sibling is a great reason. Sometimes I wonder if I did permanent damages to my fertility (among other things) when I was obese…Only time will tell.

  10. I don’t think there was any one thing for me, but a combonation of things that made me realise I wanted to change.

    1. I started reading blogs about healthy living. I loved the healhty and yummy looking food they ate. It was no longer scary to cook healthy

    2. Looking at pictures. I looked pregnant in all of them

    3. Thigh holes in my pants. I was constantly buying new pants because my thighs were rubbing together so much.

    4. Simply not being happy.

    Now that I am making changes and getting fit I love myself, which I haven’t done for a very long time.

  11. The doctor first told my mom that I was obese in middle school and should be put on a diet. I was probably 4’11”, and I know I weighed around 84-95 lbs. That’s what my grandma was her whole life, and she was a stick!

    By high school I was probably 5’2″ and 125 but still thought I was fat because what the doctor had originally said and the more I dieted the more I gained weight when I went off. (i’d love to be 125 today!) I didn’t really pack on the pounds until college but even now I’m asking myself what that first doctor was thinking ?!?!

  12. I had really unhealthy eating habits (a lot of junk food, processed food, etc) but decided to start seeing a nutritionist and eating healthier when I started training for a marathon. Anything to make those long runs easier, and give me more energy, and make me feel a little better about my body!

  13. Lisa, great storytelling and a great topic here. Mine was entering those “pre” danger numbers physically, while also approaching my 40th birthday. I’ve always (perhaps stupidly) thought I could get away with prioritizing my career over my body until I was 40, and then catch up with my body. Well, I’m 39 1/2, better finish catching up!

  14. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the picture of the morbidly obese portion on the poster in your post! Isn’t that what we all tell ourselves – that we aren’t really that big?

    Having kids and unhealthy family members makes me want to change my ways. I’d rather my kids see me as a person who cared for herself and showed them healthy habits in hopes of being with them as long as possible.

  15. I was walking to the shop on my lunchbreak from work one day and a taxi stopped at the lights with a few men in it. When the taxi pulled off and passed me the window came down and a load of verbal abuse was hurled out of the open window. I managed to hold it together for the rest of the day and when I arrived home I cried. They were cowards for waiting for the lights to change and the taxi to move off but I felt so horribly alone. I had been putting it off for years. I knew what I looked like but never looked in a mirror if I could help it. I began to turn my life around and step out of the crushing sadness and embarrasment. I am doing ok but still finding it a struggle. xx

    1. That’s a good topic Chuck. For some reason, people think it’s okay to verbally harass fat people in public. It happened to me many times and it’s so hurtful. It sticks with you. I’m sorry those jerks were so mean. 🙁

  16. My wake up call you ask??? I went to the doctors back in Februaury of this year (2010) for a sinus infection.. A SINUS INFECTION!! The doctor then told me that my blood pressure was only 1 (ues 1) point away from the level they persribe drugs for… He also said that a lot of that was probably due to my weight. I was in utter shock! I’m 5’10 and always thought I was pretty healthy but the new that my blood pressure was so high scared me! I left there not only anrgy at the doctor for telling me this, but angry at myself for letting my own well being spiral out of control while taking care of everyone else in my life. At my heaviest I was 348 lbs. I stepped off the scale and sat down because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… That’s when I decided to take my health and put that first in my life. Diabeties runs on both sides of my family and I did not want to end up like that! I was only 24 and the thought of even high blood pressure medication was awful, let alone something else. So, my journy began, now October 2010 and I am down to 310. 38 lbs so far, on my journy to the 100 plus club. I feel better about myself, clothes ft better, and i actually enjoy exercise now. I look forward to going to the gym after a long day at the office! Instead of going to the fridge and eating to relax, I go to the gym and get on a treadmill or lift some weights.
    Your story is amzing though, and thank you for sharing it with us!

  17. Hey love! So I am not really a lurker as you know, just have been super busy with school but I thought I would respond to this because I loved this post. I just love the way you write!

    My story is I decided to get healthy after having cervical cancer and losing part of my cervix. After that, I vowed to try make healthier choices so that I never had to face something like that again.

  18. I am actually very new to this. I am 35 years old and though I have always been overweight (obese for several years now) it has never stopped me or hindered me from doing the things I wanted. That is until recently. I have noticed that I have slowed down. If I am not careful I will literally sit in one spot all day long. Not to mention I have 4 little girls, I can’t imagine passing this on to them. The real wake up call came in the middle of the night about a month ago. I woke up gasping for breath. Then I realized it was the weight from my own body making it almost impossible for me to breath if I roll on my back.
    Like I said, I have 4 beautiful little girls and a wonderful husband. I have the entire world to live for! And a much better legacy to leave these girls (versus what I am currently leaving them)!

  19. When I turned 49, I decided I wasn’t going to turn 50 feeling the way I was feeling about myself. I weight 230 pounds and could barely get up a flight of stairs anymore without getting winded.
    I started Weight Watchers in July 2008, started walking in August, joined a gym and started running (which I had NEVER done before) and swimming and cycling, and a month before I turned 50, I had lost 50 pounds and competed in my first sprint triathlon.
    I went on to lose 63 pounds, of which I’ve kept 53 off and I am working on getting the 10 that snuck back on off again (and maybe a few more).
    I’ve never looked back. I have my off days or weeks, yes, but I watch what I eat pretty carefully and I’m now an avid exerciser.
    I even have a slow athletic heart rate. Me! I have something athletic.
    The changes I’ve made have changed my life. And I can only hope that my story inspires someone else to do the same. We’re worth it.

  20. I never had an a-ha moment. I grew up active and fairly healthy. Sure, I ate fast food, but never TOO much. I was a gymnast, I did cheerleading in highschool. I exercised.

    I think I became healthier once I learned about nutrition and trying to stick to unprocessed foods that nourish your body.

  21. I don’t know when I decided it was time to lose the weight, but I know that for months now I’ve been reading healthy living blogs (like yours) and they have inspired me in so many ways. I stopped drinking alcohol everyday, joined weight watchers, started training for a 5K and started a blog. I am changing my life and thank you for being an inspiration.

  22. I think what struck the chord for me was how I wanted to go back to Europe but felt like I wasn’t going to be comfortable in the seats and knew I couldn’t afford to buy two seats at an international rate. I hated to think about missing all of the beautiful places I wanted to see because of my body. I knew I needed to do something or I’d be losing all kinds of experiences.

  23. wow, again, this is my life. I am at this point right now. Having a hard time seeing it as easy as you did, and i swim also. the food intake is the problem because i eat at night emotionally.

  24. Lurker – busted. I just found your website and have been reading a few articles. I was particularly curious about your methods and your “wake-up calls”. I’ve known that I need to lose weight as I’ve slowly watched the scale tip more and more to the right. Over the last 2 years I have gained 30 pounds. I can make my excuses. I have a thyroid problem that took us that long to locate and get under control. I’ve had hormone problems that caused migraines. I have had IBS for nearly 10 years and when I have an episode I can only eat simple carbs… Legitimate excuses, but I now have those problems under control and my excuses have run out.

    I decided to lose weight this year for a few reasons – I”m taking my daughter on a cruise this spring, and then she will graduate from high school this summer. AND my 20-year high school graduation will be this summer. So on Jan 1 I hopped on my my Wii Fit Board. I had gained 27 pounds since the last time I had been on. Wait, when was the last time I was on it? I looked and it was February 2010 – 23 months prior! There’s one problem. I hadn’t been completely sedentary. Years before I had decided that paying gym or YMCA fees that would never come to fruition. Instead, I hired a personal trainer to come to my house. I have a treadmill (used), a weight bench (bough used), and free weights. I also have assorted bands and balls from Target. 🙂 For the most part (when I wasn’t down with IBS or a migraine) I worked out once a week for an hour. 20 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes of weightlifting. If not for that, I’m sure I would have gained more weight and lost a lot of muscle mass.

    So I knew what I should be doing and my wake up call helped get me in gear. I’ve tried different diets in my life and did research on old ones and the top new ones. I liked some things from one or the other, but none of the really fit what I wanted to do. I wanted to eat “real” food and minimize processed foods. I wanted to make sure I was getting a healthy mix of protein/carbs/fats/fiber, tracking my calories, and getting good cardio and weightlifting in.

    At the same time, we’re having a weight loss competition at work. I plan to lose 20 pounds by the end of March for my cruise. I lost 6 the first week. Mostly water weight, I know, but it needed to go!

    Thanks for the great website and information!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thanks for “delurking.” It sounds like you have renewed energy and motivation to lose the weight. I think doing things at home like the balls and Wii is a great idea. It’s a good place to start and as you get better you can add more stuff. The weight loss competition is good if you are a competitive person and have the desire to “win.” That never worked for me because I’m not very competitive. 🙂

      I think you have a good base to start from! Keep at it, and let me know how you are doing. 🙂

  25. Just discovered your blog today while searching for an answer to why yoga can make me want to cry. I’ve been reading your blog for the last 90minutes, can’t stop!

    My wake up call has come many times, usually because I’ve weighed myself for the first time in a long time and discovered that my weight is at an all-time high. The first wake up call was over 10 years ago when I was in my early 20s. I weighed myself at a friend’s house and found I weighed just over 200 lbs. I guess I’ve gotten really good at hitting the snooze button on that wake up call because on New Year’s Day (2012), I weighed 292. There is no WAY I am going to let myself cross the 300lb threshold!

    A major addition to my motivation: my partner of 8 years quit smoking just before Thanksgiving and took up jogging. Although he is naturally slim, he put on nearly 15 pounds by New Year’s.. His lungs and legs were making progress but his weight gain was upsetting. I decided to take up jogging with him and we both decided to count calories and focus on whole, natural foods. We’ve found great Apps for food and exercise tracking and I’m trying a Couch-to-5K program that I’m excited about.

    I am incredibly grateful to have discovered your blog. Thank you for sharing yourself and your experiences!

    1. Hi Beki, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you found my blog. I’m not sure that I can answer the question–why yoga makes you cry. But I have heard from other people that they’ve had emotional reactions during a yoga session. I think it’s entirely natural to unblock a chakra during yoga and let those feelings out!

      I think it’s great that your partner quit smoking and is jogging. Having another person start to take steps to get healthy is often very inspiring! Have you thought about jogging with them once in awhile?

      Good luck on your journey! It sounds like you are ready. 🙂

  26. I realized that I am pregnancy weight but not pregnant!!!! That not only am I not losing, I’m not maintaining, I’m still GAINING! And fear struck me. I hope it is the final wake-up call for me~I am just starting. It feels different this time though~I no longer live for cheat day! LOL! I don’t know how to explain it….
    me recently posted..1.75 inches lost!

  27. “It’s not what you say, BUT…”

    I recently went to a new doctor; he was all sorts of rude. His insults didn’t inspire me not one bit.

    If a doctor were to use a serious tone, then tell me I need to lose weight because I am at risk for this that and the other, it wouldn’t bother me one bit. I’d smile and thank the doctor.

    It’s a different story for a doctor to crack a few jokes about you every now and then. I had to pray, because a part of me felt like catching a lawsuit. haha

    If someone says that they care about my health, but only insults me, never volunteers to workout with me or help in any other way than voicing their opinion about my appearance, as far as I’m concerned, that person needs to keep their opinion to himself/herself.

    It’s definitely not what you say, but how you say it. I hope you understand. Anyhow, I just stumbled upon your blog post after performing a related Google search. I am happy that you improved your health!

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