I’m hungry. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling, because for the past four weeks my only assured meals have been breakfast and dinner, and I’ve had mild hunger pangs in between. It’s just for a different reason. That hunger was bearable, because I always knew that in a few hours I would have something marvelous to eat, and if things got really bad I could buy a snack. Chapatis and lollipops for KSH10, y’all!
This time, I know that in a few hours I won’t be able to partake in as much of the marvelousness. At my next meal, instead of getting to go crazy and enjoying myself, I’ll get to cut back and watch others enjoy themselves. I can’t really snack in the meantime, either. Oh, I can have all the fruit I want, but fruit is expensive. “Have all the fruit you want” really means “eat a couple pieces of fruit today so that there’s still fruit tomorrow, and then just drink water and pretend to be full until dinner.”
I’m on a diet. It’s not by choice.
I have grown to hate visits to my endocrinologist. Not that I’m not supremely grateful to even have an endocrinologist in the first place. I’m thankful that my parents have jobs that give them health insurance, thankful that I’m young enough to still be covered by their health insurance, and thankful that their health insurance still covers birth control (sort of). But going to see the woman, who holds the only hopes of my having somewhat normal hormones and possibly having kids one day, is not a fun experience. Mainly because at some point, I know I’ll be weighed, and her reaction to my weight will not be good.
I’m stepping on the scale, and it comes to 167.5. I’m pretty content with this because at this point last year, I would’ve guessed my weight to be 168. Technically, I’ve lost half a pound (it must’ve been the dancing) since I last checked myself, but she hasn’t seen me in a while. The last time she saw me was right after first semester freshman year, when the freshman 15 was real and I found myself at 160. To her, this is serious. My BMI is a whopping 25.1% or some shit like that. In the four years since I’ve started seeing her, I’ve gained about 40 pounds. I’m not overly concerned (“And why would you be?” my friend tells me, “Like 20-30 pounds of that went to your boobs and your butt!”), and ask her if the BMI scale takes body type and muscle into account. I can’t help but feel that I’m being compared to some flat-chested, flat-assed twig of a girl, basically who I was before I stopped constantly playing soccer and started taking birth control, someone I don’t particularly want to be again.
“No,” she tells me. “It doesn’t take stuff like that into account…but in your situation, that doesn’t matter. Someone with PCOS needs to be vigilant when it comes to managing their weight. You don’t want to get diabetes, or have a heart attack.”
Now I’m paying more attention, for two reasons. First of all, I wasn’t aware until just now that PCOS was a definite for me. I’ve seen pictures of girls with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and I’m definitely not as big as most of them. Also, once birth control regulated my periods, I figured I was home free. Everything’s flushing itself out on schedule; I’m healthy and fertile; it’s all good, was kind of my thinking. But apparently it isn’t good at all, and as I look over the packet of symptoms and things to look out for, I realize that child-bearing is not my main problem. (That’s enough of a worry, let me tell you. Despite the fact that women are capable of many feats, bla bla bla, the ability to bring forth life is still one of our main selling points. I’ve also just spent four weeks with people who referred to women as vessels. Imagine if they’d known how close my vessel is to being broken? Where would my value go?)
There are also some real health concerns. It’s like the heart problems and miscarriages and various syndromes of all my relatives collected and dumped themselves into this one this one thing that sucks. And the thing that puts me at increased risk to fall into everything is weight gain.
“Carbs are the devil,” my endocrinologist is saying, among other things. She offers me what seem to be diet pills and I turn them down. For now.
We have company over. There are crescent rolls on the table, right in front of me. I love crescent rolls! There’s butter right next to them. I love butter! And I love my curves! And I don’t want to lose them, and I want to eat the Twizzlers in my room, as well as the giant chocolate bar I brought back with me (chocolate is better overseas), and the Pop Rocks that my mom surprised me with right before my appointment. And I don’t particularly want to start running again, or do much more than the same basic abs and pushups routine I’ve been doing. I have no motivation to change at all. Except maybe that I don’t want to die.
It’s just weird looking at people of all sizes. How did everyone’s bodies get to be the way they are? Is anyone else concerned about their size, their weight, not for aesthetic reasons, but for health? It’s not fair, I think. I take better care of myself than some people. No one’s pressuring them, except for maybe themselves. I wonder if every fat person’s doctor tells them they need to lose weight. I wonder how they respond. How they feel.
I remember when I was underweight. I remember the stress I went through, trying to gain 10 pounds. Now I need to lose 10 pounds, to start. I wonder how many bodies I’ll have had by the time I die. Maybe I’ll keep this one and die sooner. Maybe I’ll be a twig again, and live longer. Maybe I’ll get rock-hard abs, and then turn into a bodybuilder(unlikely). It shouldn’t matter. I should have the same mind regardless of the shell I’m living in, but now more than ever it’s feeling like our shells are important.
It doesn’t matter, though. PCOS doesn’t give a fuck about my inner musings.
Goodbye, crescent rolls. Hello, salad.