The Peacock Project

Have you ever marvelled at the confidence and beauty of a peacock? I love these birds, probably because I am their opposite – a wallflower who feels so insecure in her shell that she’s rather go unnoticed than face the scrutiny and judgement of others. After more diets than I can count (I’ve tried them all) and years spent as what in medical terminology is known as a real fatass, the time has come to make a change. I am tired of feeling unconfident and betrayed by my body. I want to feel healthy, energetic and happy. I want to feel, in the words of my friend Jen, like there is NOT a dwarf clinging to my mid-section. Last week I decided to admit that I need help with this. I don’t just have 5 or 10 or even 20 pounds to lose. As much as it chagrins me to acknowledge it publicly, I need to lose almost a person. So, on Friday, I took the first step – I went for a consultation at a medical weight loss center run by an integrative physician who specializes in bariatrics.  One thing I learned there is that journaling can be a strong component in a successful weight loss journey, so I’ve decided to start a blog to chart my progress and hopefully manipulate some old friends (and maybe even some new along the way) into encouraging me along the way to rediscovering my inner peacock.

At first, Iwas really nervous about going. You would think that people who make their living from healthcare or fitness would be tactful and supportive, but the truth is that you can’t always rely on that. At my former doctor’s office, I once had a nurse smugly comment “Well, we’re getting up there!” when I stepped on the scale. I just cringed and tried to ignore it, determined not to cry in front of her. Once at a gym orientation at the LA Fitness down the street, the trainer, apparently amazed that anyone could be so hefty, informed me “that’s a lot!” when he took my BMI. In his case, I did not ignore it, but said “Yes, I know. That’s why I am here.”  It didn’t help that his training methods included yelling “mush, mush!” at me while I huffed and puffed in front of other people while he had me do what he called “the sled dog” exercise. I guess “mush” is slightly better than “get a move on, lardo,” but it was still humiliating and not exactly respectful of women. Needless to say, our budding relationship got off to a rocky start. It ended when he accidentally hit me in the face with a medicine ball and declared he thought I’d “probably” be okay. I never went back, instead spending a couple weeks with a bruised, sore jaw the still didn’t dull the satisfaction of never having to see his stupid face again. I now also harbor an irrational fear of gyms.

All of this is my long way of saying that it is sometimes scary to ask for help, especially when you’ve done so before and been made to feel bad about yourself for it. Still, it’s never a good idea to let other people stop you from reaching for the things you want, so when I heard about the clinic, I decided to suck it up and make an appointment. I took the day off, just in case they made me feel too bad to go back to work and shyly went to my introductory appointment with a dual mantra of “you don’t have to buy anything” and “if you don’t like it, you can walk out at any time.” As it turned out, the people there were so kind and professional. I got to meet the program director, who talked to me about different options and helped me set up an appointment with the doctor (who, as it turns out, was already on my list of integrative health practitioners to check out!). I see her next Thursday for a medical exam and blood work. At that time, I think we go over different diet options. I am feeling cautiously optimistic and, for the first time in a long time, hopeful.

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