I’ve long struggled with my weight.
In my early twenties, I tried the South Beach Diet and went from a size 14 to a size 2 in one year. It was a pretty rapid –- but healthy –- transformation, and suddenly I had a confidence I’d never experienced before. We can be beautiful and confident at any size, I know this, but suddenly going into any store and having everything I tried on fit was like a new awakening to me.
Except it didn’t last. Last year I went through some pretty severe health issues and barely left the couch for months. I didn’t exercise and indulged in way too much comfort food. Following my illness, I was put on pretty intense medications that caused weight gain as well.
Fast forward to now and I’m teetering between a size 8 and 10. I'm still within what a doctor would call a healthy weight range, but to me, I barely recognize myself in the mirror. My home is filled with beautiful clothes I can no longer wear, and I’m so uncomfortable in my own skin, I hesitate to buy new ones. If I don’t wish to be the size I am now, why would I indulge in new clothes? Isn’t that just telling myself this is where I am?
My work in travel and food writing sometimes makes eating right a really difficult task. I try my best to do everything in moderation, but when you are traveling new places sometimes weekly and having multi-course business dinners, eating well can easily go out the window -- especially when multiple glasses of wine are involved.
And so I’m at an impasse. I have been feeling so badly about myself and how I look that I went for a media visit to a local plastic surgeon who specializes in cool sculpting, a non-invasive treatment where your fat cells are massaged with an applicator that ultimately freezes them to death.
At the media visit, the doctor had me fill out a long-form questionnaire about my medical history. I wrote down everything --- including my two recent surgeries and the medications I was on following. Finally, he calls me into his office and has me lift my dress.
“Oh no. You have way too much body fat for this treatment to work.”
I’m too fat for a fat removal treatment??? How is that possible? Am I too hungry for lunch? (Bad analogy, I suppose?) Do I have too much hair for a haircut?
He goes on as he sees my eyes well with tears. “Don't cry. I will prescribe HCG shots. Once you have lost enough weight, we can try again.”
FYI, you all: HCG -- human chorionic gonadotropin -- is a hormone that naturally occurs in placentas during pregnancy and influences other hormones. HCG injections are supposed to be able to limit appetite, allowing you to follow a very low-calorie diet while preserving energy. Hence, you can starve yourself and work out tons at the same time. Oh, science. Sigh. It also stimulates estrogen, and the ovaries, and is highly linked to ovarian cysts and maybe even reproductive cancers.
Did I mention that the health issues that I’m still recovering from were linked to severe complications following ovarian fibroids? And that those were on the medical form I filled out?
Yeah. So this quack told me I was too fat (at a size 8?) to freeze some fat cells, but he also wanted to prescribe a “treatment” that would likely kill me. Dying to be thin? Not so much.
What’s the most ridiculous thing ever recommended to you in the name of weight control? I’d love to commiserate!