I’m just like every other woman on the planet. I struggle with my body size.
Fat. Thin. Meaty. Lean. I’ve been every size on the scale, every shape on the planet, and I never felt good about the way I looked. There were times in my life where I struggled with my shape, and I did stupid things to manage my appearance. By stupid, I mean stupid. From Weight Watchers to extreme dieting (and I mean extreme), I always told myself that I had cracked the code and found an innovative way to be thinner and more successful.
I was just naive.
At one point, I was heavy and despondent. I received a voucher for a $50 Visa gift card in the mail. The catch? I had to sign up for my company’s wellness program.
What the heck, I thought.
– My cholesterol was high,
– my triglycerides were borderline high,
– and I was eating fast food on a daily basis. Sometimes multiple times/day.
In an attempt to overhaul my life, I might as well get something out of it. I could spend $50 at the Coach store on a new purse.
A nurse from the wellness program called. We talked about my goals. The conversation wasn’t about wellness, though. It was all about numbers. Plan my meals, lose weight, eat x amount of calories, exercise several times/week, blah blah blah.
I said, “I don’t know how to do any of this.”
The nurse said, “We can break this down into smaller steps.”
Fine. Smaller steps.
Two weeks later, I hadn’t done a single thing. When I checked in with the nurse, we had a conversation about my failure. She never told me that my lifelong problem with food was bigger than a wellness program. She never suggested that the BMI scale is an outdated and outmoded method of measuring health. She never recommended the EAP to help me deal with the extreme anxiety and depression in my life.
Instead, we talked about wearing a pedometer. I could take the stairs at work and park my car in the back of the parking lot to burn extra calories.
We have to start somewhere with wellness, but health is bigger than a number.
Most of us work more than 40 hours week. We live life on a consumer-driven treadmill. High-fructose corn syrup and sugar are the quick and dirty ways we consume calories and fuel our bodies with energy. Some of us have biological and genetic reasons why we struggle with food, which are exacerbated by a national food policy that subsidizes sugar, fatty meats, and encourages us to eat refined carbs and corn.
I know something now that I didn’t know then: there is no wellness program under the sun that can do battle with the cultural, political, and biological reasons as to why most of us are fat.
I dropped out of my company’s wellness program soon after I started.
In retrospect, I should have told the nurse where to shove that pedometer.
And for the record, I spent my $50 gift certificate at Applebees. It wasn’t pretty, but it was delicious.
Photo credit iStock Photo