Societal expectations on weight are not something I can afford to give much consideration. I have three “fat disorders”. If you are not familiar with fat disorders, let me give you the basics: One is Dercum’s Disease, which is very rare and out of nowhere put piles of lipomas and 60 lbs. of non calorie based fat on me in the 2000’s. The other two, lipedema and lymphedema, looking back I know that I had them growing up. We didn’t know what it was called but I always had one leg fatter than the other and was always pudgy with out of portion fat arms, legs and a huge hips. A veteran dieter by the end of third grade. Typical dieting had no impact. If I had known that, I would have been spared two years as a child eating nothing but tuna fish sandwiches. I grew up always sick because of lipedema and lymphedema. I struggled to know as a girl that my value and beauty couldn’t be based on societal expectations.
I know many of us who have had any of these conditions, because of the ignorance of the medical profession and general public, have suffered misplaced blame for what the world sees. Since learning from researchers what my misshaped, painful swollen body really is from, I have gone through a myriad of emotions. 1) Relief that it wasn’t a character flaw that I was fat. 2) Anger that for decades doctors who I trusted, knew nothing about fat disorders. They didn’t treat me with respect. 3) Gladness that I now knew what it all was and could learn to work and live with it.
The best day was years later when I could just accept my health circumstances and focus on what I could control. I started to notice I had lost the desire to eat animal products. They slid off my list menu of menu options one by one. Around the same time, I got my lab work done and my cholesterol was 300 with an LDL of 184. My blood pressure was high. With a family history of heart problems, my cardiologist put me on medication. There was far more I could do for these issues than I could do for the fat disorders.
I watched documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, read some books and pursued health through 100% low fat and glycemic plant-based eating. I have since eaten beans,whole grains, legumes, greens, root and cruciferous veggies. I really enjoy fruit too. Many in the fats disorder community are riding the KETO diet wave, and to be honest I use to do the same, but it made my cholesterol numbers ridiculous. So I listened to what my body was telling me. I took my eating to the appropriate direction.
Several weeks later, my LDL had dropped from 184 to 79! My blood pressure returned to normal. My blood sugar was greatly reduced. I also noticed that while this sort of eating didn’t cure me of the 3 fat disorders, it did greatly reduce the inflammation of my body. Between March 29, 2018 and June 3rd, 2018 besides dropping my LDL 57%, and other positive outcomes, I lost 34 pounds! (actually 62 lbs as of 7/28/2018.
I looked at full body photos of me from before and after the weight loss. Understanding where each pound came from as I saw the swollen face and large hips in both photos, I felt pride. There I was at two different degrees of fat disorder pudginess and I noticed that I looked healthier now. It was an accomplishment especially under my circumstances to lose such weight. Someone on the street wouldn’t know that, but who cares? I know!
I can swell up in the same day, like in the first two photos here, And the other two show even more drastic changes over months. But I can still swell up at any weight as shown in the first two photos.
I’m taking care of the rest of my body beyond the fat disorders and it’s greatly adding to my quality of life. At the end of the day, no one can ask for more. If I do lose enough weight to be smiled upon by those who walk by me on the street, that’s great, but my happiness isn’t dependent on that.
My final words today are to my sisters and brothers in the fat disorder community. I see you doing a lot of KETO. I know that you are losing weight, but please realize that I’ve lost weight and controlled the inflammation at least some, by eating the exact opposite of KETO. I know how KETO works, I tried it myself and it was dangerous to my body. Don’t forget that you being around for a long time matters. The qualities you and I both bring to this world isn’t dependent on what size we are. But cutting your life short by a decade or more because of ignoring things like cholesterol is foolish. Some people end up dying young or worse, having a stroke and being a vegetable for the rest of their lives in a nursing home where you know what is going on around you but you have no ability to communicate. No matter what your size would be, death is death and crap existence is crap existence. So think beyond the fat disorders once in a while.
Also, remember it is possible to gain weight that is not fat disorder related. At some point many of us still have to face discussions about food addictions and weight loss just like anyone else, and for valid reasons. Only each of us can do that for ourselves and keep our minds open to reason. We can do that without degrading ourselves.
My doctors never mentioned Plant-Based eating to me. I did it on my own terms based on my own research. It wasn’t until for my check-ups with two of my specialist that they told me that I was doing exactly the right thing for my overall health and for the health issues they were assisting me with. That includes my Dercum’s Specialist. I believe that some of our doctors are scared to talk to us because they know it’s a touchy subject.
So do it for yourself. Go for health, you can never go wrong doing that. You are wonderful and more than good enough no matter what weight you are. You are not a clothing size or weight number, but you would be horribly missed if you died before your time.