Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DBlog Week Day 3- Clean It Out


I am participating in Diabetes Blog Week (my THIRD one, whaaaat.) You can learn more about the week here and check out the prompts here. Make sure to give some love to the participants here. Today's prompt is CLEANING IT OUT.

I have been thinking about this topic for awhile. Wondering, thinking and musing if I was truly brave enough to ever actually post it. Sometimes I love airing out my deep, dark secrets and then hoping nobody will ever bring it up to me in person. 

A silent acknowledgement that they have read what is plastered on the back of brain, and a swift move along. Understanding that our deepest inner thoughts are what shape us to be the people we are.

So here we are. I stare blankly at the screen. Am I ready for this? Is this how I want to verbalize some of my thoughts on this topic?

If you have ever met me in person, you know that I am fat. I have spent my entire teen and adult life battling weight gain. I have been through specialists, therapists and tests. Because, well...and this is where this may sound weird...it doesn't make sense that I am fat (and I think that this comes off wrong, I don't think it HAS to make sense that you're fat or not to be able to accept that being fat is OK and acceptable and perfectly fine.) It's not in my immediate family. I exercise...often. Usually intensely. I run, I lift weights, I am active, very active. I eat extremely well (except for when I don't I guess.) I manage my blood sugar tightly. I do what I am told by doctors.

I have tried prescription weight loss pills. The "sure fire" way that 99.9% of my endocrinologists patients lose weight! I followed the directions very specifically and was followed by a nutritionist intensely. I didn't lost a pound or an inch. I went through years of psycho therapy with the top therapist in the country who specializes in diabetes, chronic illness and behaviour management. He released me as a patient because I wasn't lying. I was trying. 

One day, my doctor did a test for Cushings syndrome. If you're not familiar with cushings you can see the info here. My doctor sent me for many tests, including an MRI and they weren't conclusive OR inconclusive. My blood tests showed moderately high levels of ACTH and my pituitary had a non-cancerous fleck smaller than is possible to diagnose. It eventually went away after close monitoring, my cortisol levels remain high no matter what so the endocrinologist calls it borderline. She also explains that my body releases cortisol which helps the body hold on to fat cells (in layman terms.)

So I am in a rock and a hard place I guess? My exercise is vital to my blood sugar stabilization, mental health and overall well being and it causes cortisol production. See the problem?

So in the past year I have decided to give up the ghost of weight loss. I don't think I will ever lose weight. I am not and have not given up the idea that I will continue to be the best and healthiest I can be. This does not give me free reign on junk food and lack of exercise. This is simply me taking pressure off myself to fit a certain mold of what a healthy, beautiful body looks like.

I'm going to let you in on a secret: it can be absolutely torturous being fat in today's society. There are days that I wish I was given any other body. Dealt any other hand of cards. I will see women at the gym who can run without ankle pain and contort their bodies in Yoga poses that I could only dream of doing due to the size of my body. I often go in to clothing stores and thumb through some of the beautiful fabrics, cuts and styles knowing that I am getting side eyed because the clothes in those stores will never fit me. It's not self-deprecation, it's a cathartic release in ways for me. It's like letting go of what won't be.


A lot of people say that my feeling of being judged based on the look of my body, rather than what it can do, is in my head. I often hear that. Maybe it's partially true. But have you ever read any article about Tess Holliday? She is a size 22 model (same size as me, though our bodies are composed slightly differently), and the words that are thrown at her are flames licking a candle. Sometimes they make her thick outer wax melt down and break her down. I have seen her respond sometimes and I feel for her. She is an absolutely beautiful woman, the first woman who is plus sized (and by that I mean not size 14) who is a professional model with an international agency and people write comments-THOUSANDS of comments about how they feel physically sick looking at her.

These are real people making these comments. I am not a model, nor do I pose like one. Are these people ringing me through at the grocery store? Do they see me fill up my car and need to feel pity and disgust at my body?

When I am out with my fiancĂ© are people wondering what the hell is going on there? He is 6'5", masculine and lean...and incredibly good looking.

These are things that sometimes flutter in my brain. I try really hard not to read the comments, or articles on the Internet about weight because now that I feel mentally healthy enough to accept that my large body can be extremely healthy if I put the effort in, I don't want to waive on that. 

But when every second post on my Facebook feed is about weight loss, Beachbody, shakes, low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb. Every single person talks about food and weight and bodies and fitness like it's some sort of life achievement to be strict and  in control of all of these things. If being in control of your body is something that gives you actual, genuine joy: congratulations-keep it to yourself.

Tell me about the joy you get from cooking a meal and eating it-no matter what it is. I want to hear it.
Tell me about the joy you get from hiking in the woods, or running a marathon. I want to hear it.
Tell me about the joy you get from reading about different trends in the fitness industry. I want to hear it.

Do not tell me how to do any of that. I have my body acceptance dangling by a string and when you share these things with me thinking they may help me lose weight no matter WHAT your intentions, you are effectively cutting my string (and being a dick.)

I don't need to be told I am beautiful. I truly don't. At least not by you. If my fiance is reading this: you don't get a pass you still need to tell me I am beautiful everyday for the rest of our lives ;)

There. I cleaned it out. My body image is surprisingly well for someone who the media, and assholes on the internet says should hate everything about themselves.

Edit:

I decided I am not done. 

When you live as a fat person with a chronic illness like diabetes, you are often seen as a pity. What a shame. Poor girl was dealt a hard life.

My life is wonderful. I am thankful that I have you, reading and commenting.

This community has built me up to believe in the good in people, so keep doing your thing.

Unless your thing is constantly talking about weight loss. Because then all I hear is "I never want to look like Alanna."

51 comments:

  1. This is WONDERFUL and beautifully written. I have seen you deal with things over the years I've now known you. I've seen your INSANELY controlled blood sugars and fabulously healthy diet that makes even me feel like a junk food addict. I am constantly impressed with your positive outlook. I now think twice or three times before passing judgement on anyone. You taught me that.

    I am so thrilled that you wrote this so candidly.

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    1. Ahhhhh!!!! Hearing that makes my head SING. Thank you thank you!!!!

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  2. This post is perfection, as are you. Such beautiful and raw writing, Alanna. You inspire the fuck out of me. xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Kerri. And you inspire the fuck out of me!

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  3. You are a beautiful persona Alanna - inside and out - although I've never met you! I love your writing, thank you for sharing <3

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  4. Such a beautiful post Alanna! Weight does not make a person who they are. In fact, it has nothing to do with it. You are obviously a very strong, very loving, very smart, very healthy, and very beautiful person. Hold on to your healthy lifestyle and don't ever let anyone make you feel like you are doing something wrong.

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  5. This is beautiful, raw, honest, heartbreaking and heartwarming. You are absolutely right: forget weigh loss. Focus on health and well-being and accepting yourself and your body now matter what. You are an inspiring and beautiful person. I'm so happy I stumbled across your post.

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    1. Thank you! I am happy you stumbled across it too! Now I can read your blog!

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  6. This is the best thing I have ever read about being fat.

    It's not my place to say, but you look exactly right to me the way you are. That is irrelevant, but you're just so beautiful!

    When I gain a pound or two I feel like a monster truck. When I lose a pound or two I feel like a scrawny old witch.

    There's nothing easy about having a body. I admire the way you live in yours.

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    1. Thank you so much K.

      I admire how you live in your body too. Will I get to see you again at FFL? I would love to chat with you again now that I can connect your blog to the person ;)

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  7. It's so frustrating the attitude that our society has about obesity, and how short-sighted people can be about the cause. It's not as simple as just "eating too much." Thanks for being so open about your struggles! Big hugs.

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    1. I hope that we can continue to evolve as whole society and take in to consideration that every person has their own battle. Judgement is ugly.

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  8. You are my workout buddy who lives far away and who's name I mispronounce, and now you are my friend who wrote another incredible and insightful blog post that I'm so amazed by. I am proud (as always) to be your friend. xo

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    1. Thank you so much Alecia. You inspire me to put on my running shoes when it is the last thing I want to do, so thank you!
      xo

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  9. What an amazing post. You are so right, it is SO hard to practice self-love in our weight-obsessed society, I hope you keep progressing with self acceptance. Your beauty shines through! And I am pretty sure we spoke briefly at a Slipstream once and we had just checked A1C's and yours blew me away!

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    1. Thank you Michelle! We did speak at Slipstream. See you in October!

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  10. What a beautiful post! Being a woman, body image is such a challenge but your attitude is truly inspirational. You rock girl!

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  11. What a beautiful post! Being a woman, body image is such a challenge but your attitude is truly inspirational. You rock girl!

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  12. Please keep on writing about this. Your strength just shines through. I'm impressed and I hope I can continue to learn from you.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! It weaves itself through a lot of my writing :)

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  13. This might be the bravest thing I've ever read. You might be one of the bravest people I've ever known. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for your constant support, Steve.

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  14. Such a beautiful, wonderful post! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting :)

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  15. I so admire your honesty. This was such an incredible post to read. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment :)

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  16. This is probably the best thing that I've read this week. As a fat man with body image issue of his own, I admire the hell out of you for sharing so openly about this. Thank you! Lots of love, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Mike! Mad props to your step counts. How do you even do it?????

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  17. I want to high five you for writing this - thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  18. Great post. It's tough in this culture, for sure. I was always heavy and strong, then too thin (developed an eating disorder at 16) and battled back to my right weight two years later. People thought I had failed at being thin and attractive. I got plenty of judgmental comments, especially from people who hadn't known me before my anorexia.

    Now, I'm thrilled to be a tall(ish), big woman with presence; a comfortable 180 pounds and size 14. I like being 40, too, as it gives me a different perspective on weight and also frees me from the hyper-judgmental, sexualized pressure of the 20s and even 30s. (Nobody is judging my body at the beach anymore!)

    As a mom of a type 1 child (11 yrs old, diabetic 2 years) the thought that struck me on reading was, I bet you get a lot of people assuming you are type 2.

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    1. It doesn't really cross my mind what people assume I mean when I say I have diabetes to be honest. They can think what they want I guess. I don't really find it offensive to be called a Type 2, as long as the other person understands that it is generally a shitty thing to have to deal with.

      I do work for JDRF, so that may clarify for new people in my life. But I don't bother myself with differentiating.

      Congratulations on being happy with you who are. It's not an easy task! Battling an eating disorder sounds like a special kind of hell, and I am glad you can say you're on the other side.

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  19. So sorry you have to deal with this, but everything you wrote was poignant and beautifully expressed. I've enjoyed seeing you in Fitbit challenges and look forward to learning more of your story. Maybe you should write more and take fewer steps....

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    1. I see what you did there!

      NOT A CHANCE :P

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  20. great post. I really needed to read this today. I also struggle with weight Issues. Thanks for sharing.

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  21. That was a hell of a blog post.

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  22. Brava! Such a wonderful perspective. Thank you for sharing because I needed to read that. It's too bad that the fat haters out there won't be reading, and see themselves for what they are. I needed to read that, and it's the kind of post I will revisit from time to time.

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  23. Alanna, I loved this post. So beautifully brave and honest. I identify and empathize with you on a very deep and heartbreaking level, having lived with a mom who was never understood and between a rock and a hard place all of her life. I'm literally in the fight of my life against those genetics and right now my outsides don't match the way I feel about myself on the inside. I will always identify fat no matter my size. I will think of you with love the next time I mentally punch someone out who says, "She's so pretty, if only she could lose some weight." Meet me at FFL?

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    1. I will see you there! Please just say hi if you see me!

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  24. You are one of my heroes.

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  25. Beautifully said! Thank you. I imagine you may know about her work, but if not, you might want to check out the amazing Jade Beall photography, and her project Beautiful Bodies http://www.jadebeall.com and on https://www.facebook.com/JadeBeallPhotography?fref=ts. You'll find a community of women who are strong, inspiring, and of all shapes and sizes. I look forward to reading more of your diabetes posts, as I'm a 39 year type 1 myself.

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  26. Hi Alanna, I am new to the blog and really enjoying all your posts! I have been a T1 for 17 years and have just turned to the online diabetic community for inspiration and support! I have started my own blog as well as reading other and would be really grateful if you could take a look at my blog. I'm interested in any comments or feedback you guys might have and am keen to become part of what seems like a really positive and supportive online community. Thanks. x

    https://youngaspirationalanddiabetic.wordpress.com

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  27. Alanna - I was traveling/sick as a dog when this post originally went live and I'm so sorry I missed it. What you wrote is powerful, raw and it stopped me in my tracks.
    Thank you for your honesty, yur candor & your awesomeness!
    You are beautiful and amazing & I'm so damn lucky to have you as my friend.
    And you inspire the hell out of me!
    Love you, lady!!

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