Sometimes I act like gaining weight is the worst thing that could happen to me. That it makes me less lovable, of less value and less attractive. I’ve recently put on an extra 20 pounds. A bonus to being tall is weight gain is more forgiving and less obvious on a body that provides more space for it to be distributed. I’m sure no one is looking at me like I could stand to lose a few but I know the difference. It’s discouraging and frustrating to see the difference in pictures or in how clothes fit. It may not be super noticeable but I know the difference! My weight, my body for many years, since I was about 14, has rarely felt like a friend to me. This can be so difficult because a body is something that one lives in and therefore can’t escape.
A few years ago, after I graduated college, I became more serious about running, trained and participated in a few half marathons. Those were good years for me. I was not at odds with my body. I had put it under my submission and trained it to do things that I never thought that I could do. I was strong. I was fit. Most importantly, I had lost weight and was looking good. I was happy with the results. Runny became a part of the rhythm of my daily life and part of my identity. However, after hormonal issues, health challenges and surgery this last year, I slowed down on the running and began to refocus on other things; focusing on strength training, nutrition, sleep, and reducing stress in my life. I was recognizing that running was not helping me. What worked before was no longer working. Under-eating, carb restricting and over exercising was putting too much stress on my body. I was gaining weight. The weight gain felt like it was my fault. This is extremely frustrating to me. But what was I doing wrong? I take pride in my pursuits towards a healthy lifestyle. I’m all about functional medicine, healing my body through lifestyle and proper nutrition. I eat all the things that they say to eat and don’t eat all the things that they say not to eat; things like gluten, grains, dairy, soy, sugar, caffeine, processed foods, artificial flavors, and food dyes. I exercise regularly. I maintain a regular bedtime. Yet, I have been gaining weight. I don’t know what to do differently to fix it. Low carb isn’t working. Low calorie isn’t working. Increasing running isn’t working (I haven’t been running since I had surgery in February. I’ve gone on maybe a few little runs.). It’s easy to look at someone getting a burger at the drive-thru and think that you know the reason why they are fat. But what about me? I’m feeling fat. I’m frustrated with my body. I don’t understand why it’s responding this way. I don’t know why I’m always constipated. Maybe this would be easier if I would just poop. I’ve been to different doctors. My primary doctor doesn’t want to run lab tests. The functional medicine doctor gave me a protocol to heal my gut and says I’m being too hard on myself. Well, I’m still not pooping and I’m still gaining weight. I’m seeing an obgyn and she’s been a ray of hope. She’s been ordering labs for me and talking to an endocrinologist for recommendations. I went on my own and paid out of my own pocket to get lab work for a full thyroid panel done. I’m still waiting for those lab results to come back. Most doctors only test your TSH when testing your thyroid but all the thyroid hormones should be looked at too. That would include TSH, T4 free T3, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. One of those other hormones could have a problem. You don’t get the whole picture if you just look at TSH.
I am waiting for the obgyn to get back to me about my last lab test for my cortisol levels (I had been worried about my cortisol but my primary wouldn’t test it. Thankfully the endocrinologist recommended it). She is looking into possibly cushing syndrome. That can cause weight gain primarily around the gut and high cortisol. I am also waiting for the lab results for my thyroid too. I’m hoping for answers and something that can point me in the right direction. I sometimes think that I must be obsessed with nutrition science. The number of podcasts that I listen to and the number of books that I read on the topic make up a lot of my recreational time. However, I have not gained any new revelations on what I should do. What should I do when I already do all the things? Should I just pray that the Lord causes my body to lose weight? Isn’t my life more than my body? Isn’t my purpose more than reaching a number on a scale? I was recently reading Proverbs 31, “Beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised.” Why am I so focused on my body and desiring it to look a certain way and hating it for looking the way it does now?
I am wrestling with these questions. The answers seem obvious but the application seem difficult. I want my body to be healthy, look good and work the way it should. If I accept it the way it is I am still left with a gut that is descended, pants that don’t fit, bowels that won’t go, and unbalanced hormones. Can I really be comfortable in my skin in a body that gives me so much discomfort? Can I honor God with my body, my life, my attitude, and my mind? Am I a woman that fears the Lord? Oh Lord, heal me! Show me how to treat my body, the right steps to take, give me discernment, and a spirit that fears you.