Panicked… paused… and then faced a fear!

Hello guys

Let’s just say that my shoes are still on because I wanted to quickly come on here and tell you that I’ve smashed a HUGE fear! Whilst I’m confident in nearly every situation and I’ve got no problem whatsoever talking to anyone far from home, I have some elements of social anxiety in my own village and it’s been 6 years since I’ve even stepped into my village shop. What’s behind this? I think probably the weight loss from 10 years ago and then putting it all back on and more. I would hide away from anywhere I might bump into someone I know. Shame, I guess.

But hubby is cooking dinner for him and the adult kids…. and realised we’re out of a key ingredient. I panicked, thinking “I should offer to go to the shop. But he needs it urgently and I can’t resort to my usual strategy of heading to the nearest town. I’ll have to face the village shop. What if. What if. What if“. Then I paused with the offer to help on the tip of my tongue, not sure if I was strong enough to face my fear and then, next thing I knew, I was getting into the car to race to the shop (walking would have taken too long). Yes, wearing a mask helped me to feel safe and I even walked past a restaurant with outdoor seating where people were gathering on this sunny Friday evening but I went into the shop and survived! I did it! In fact, I had the song ‘Face your Fears‘ playing in my head from the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ( I simply LOVE that show) and I could hear Paula’s voice (played by Donna Lynne Chaplin). Gosh, the adrenalin is kinda still there but I did it. And I need to do it again before the anxiety creeps in again so, by this time next week, I will have gone back into the shop.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday

Love Erika xx

The fear of the doctors’ scales… part 2

Hey

Stop reading!! If you haven’t yet read part 1 about how scared I am to reveal my weight to any medical professional, I’d encourage you check out this link first. For those who’ve read part 1 or perhaps don’t have the time / inclination to read it, I’m going to recap what happened at the end of Wednesday’s blog where I started a conversation with myself. In this imaginary (but pretty realistic) scenario, I’ve been asked to get on the scales. I’ve refused because, well, I’m terrified (along with a huge dose of stubbornness!). The doctor wants to explore this much to my annoyance but I don’t want to look too much like a rebel so I’m trying to cooperate. And I’ve started to share why it’s okay for me to know my weight (and share it on my blog) but why I’m terrified for making this figure official to a medical professional. So, let’s carry on with the conversation….

  • Hey Erika, so, what did you take away from our conversation on Wednesday?
  • Yeah, it was useful to explore my thoughts. I don’t know whether they made any sense whatsoever but I know how my irrational fear of scales, anything body or medical related is getting in the way of engaging with the practice. And this is going to sound really bad but if I suspected that I might be seriously ill, I don’t know how willing I’d be to even make an appointment… which isn’t good. So, yes, it’s made me think over the past couple of days.
  • That’s great. So, p’haps you can share a bit more about your thoughts?
  • So, I really get that knowing my weight is important in terms of monitoring my health and I also know that getting on scales is something that probably loads of people do without a second thought or making some huge song-and-dance about it. And, yes, I know this figure is about where I’m at today, it’s soon going to go down anyway, my weight is only one part of me, it doesn’t define me, blah, blah, blah. I get all of that.
  • Erika, I get where you’re coming from and people have fears about all kinds of things. Needles, flying, spiders, dogs….and your fear is about me knowing your weight. But you’re recognising there’re good reasons to jump on…
  • (Thinks to self: Is she about to ask me to get on?) Mmmm…..
  • So, let’s stop talking about it. Just get on. Just face the fear. Think of all the things you’ve overcome during the years, much bigger and more serious things than a pair of scales. It’s just an object. It’s just a figure. So, c’mon.
  • (Help. I want to, I don’t want to, I want to , I don’t want to,,,,) But what if…
  • (Doctor interrupts)….c’mon. Stop talking. Just get on.
  • (I just want to cry and run away but I know she’s right) Okay, here goes (Why am I crying? Seriously girl!!!!)
  • ….and you can get off. You did it. You got on. How’re you feeling?
  • (Takes a deep breath). Mixed. Ashamed. Proud. Embarrassed about turning this into a huge ordeal. But I got on. Nothing bad happened.
  • Exactly. And, yes, you know your weight and, yes, your BMI’s in the 31s but you mentioned on Wednesday that you’re putting things in place. You’re SO close to getting out of the obese range. How much weight have you lost since last year?
  • Yeah, more than 120 lbs.
  • That’s amazing!! I don’t need to give you advice or anything like that as you’ve got this. Do you know what your BMI was?
  • 50
  • Wow, Erika, you’ve done this without bariatric surgery. Many people think surgery is the easy option but it’s not… not when it comes to sustaining weight loss. But you would’ve qualified for that.
  • Yes, I did contemplate if surgery might have been the way to go and I’m really pleased I’ve done it without as I’m working on my head and my whole attitude. So, thank you. Yep, really pleased. Done it. Think I’ll tell my blogging pals now!

When I finished part 1 on Wednesday, I truly didn’t know whether I’d get on these hypothetical scales. But, in my head, I’ve got on. I don’t know why but going through this process has unearthed that a lot of my fear is about getting told off for my weight. And I wonder if it links back to a comment someone made during my first pregnancy when I gained weight early on. Perhaps. I wasn’t expecting that revelation but it’s helpful to think about where fear originates from in order to make sense of it. So, yes, I did get on. And I survived to tell the tale. And if I really do get on the scales one day, I’ll be sure to share this with you!

Sunday marks exactly one year since I started this journey (though I’ve blogged since April) so I’ll be back on Monday with some reflection and my next weigh-in but wishing you all a great weekend

Love Erika xx

The fear of the doctors’ scales

Hey guys

I’m feeling creative today! When exploring how even the thought of being weighed by a doctor sends a shockwave through my body, I’ve decided to deviate from my usual style of blogging and do it through the art of conversation that will give you insight into how my delightfully complex mind works. “A conversation? From sitting behind your keyboard, Erika?” Yes! I might be writing this script by imagining that I’ve been asked to get on the scales and every part of me just wants to run out of that room, close the door and never return. But I guess what I’m tapping into are the different voices or parts of ourselves that bring out our reasonable or rebellious personality traits. I could try to dress this up as a Freudian’s psychodynamic exploration of the human psyche but let’s see where this conversation takes me. Let’s set the scene. It’s Wednesday morning. I’ve spent the past two weeks feeling the anxiety intensify since making the appointment for a check-up and I’ve somehow got myself into the consultation room with a doctor.

  • Okay Erika, if you’d just like to jump on the scales please.
  • (Thinks to self: Well, it’s not a question of ‘just’ popping on, thank you very much! Why did I make this appointment?!) I’m really sorry but I don’t want to. (Notices puzzled look on doctor’s face)
  • Ah, why’s that?
  • All I know is that scales scare me and I don’t want to get on.
  • I hear you. I’m not exactly going to force you on there but perhaps we can talk this through.
  • (Nooo, I don’t want to verbalise my thoughts because I’m trying hard to come across as a competent adult and you’re going to realise that I have these illogical thoughts. But I need to give the impression that I’m playing ball here… as long as this does not end with me jumping on the scales!). Okay, that sounds useful.
  • So, Erika, when I say about jumping on the scales, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
  • Fear. Immense fear.
  • Right, I hear that. What’s the fear about?
  • Because if I get on the scales, you’ll then know my weight. That makes me feel uncomfortable.
  • Yes, I guess I’ll see what it says. Do you know what your weight is?
  • Yes, I do.
  • Okay, is it safe to say that this is about me knowing your weight?
  • 100%, yes! I guess I want to be so much lighter than I am now but I’m working on that and I’ve actually been blogging about my weight loss over the past year. I record my weight on there (Erika, what’ve you done?!!! Why mention the blog? What if she now comes across it and works out who you are! I mean, doctors are clever. She’ll know it’s me!)
  • So, you feel comfortable sharing your weight with people you don’t know?
  • Yes as I can hide behind my keyboard. I guess it feels safer.
  • You’re doing great talking about this with me, Erika. Let’s keep going with this as I think we’re getting there.
  • (Noooo! Can’t we stop there?!!. I know for a fact you’ve got a long patient list today). Mmmmm, right.
  • Okay. So, do you feel embarrassed about your weight?
  • Yes, I know I’ve come from being super morbidly obese and that’s not where I am now… but I don’t want this figure to become official on my health records.
  • But you mentioned that you’ve made amazing progress over the past year and seeing the figure just shows us where you are today – not where you’re going end up with the work you’re putting in.
  • True
  • Anything else?
  • Well, I know I have a history of eating disorders where everything becomes about numbers, such as calories eaten, calories burnt, heart tracing stats, blood test stats, etc. I just feel uncomfortable if everything becomes about the figure on the scales too. I think I could get obsessive about that figure. Not that I’m going to suddenly restrict as I have in the past to extremely low levels but I guess I’m aware that sharing my weight could make me desperate to lower it incredibly quickly… perhaps out of shame.
  • Well, I hear you Erika and, yes, there’s much more to eating disorders than BMI so it’s one figure amongst many. Does that make sense? And just think that you’ve made some huge changes to the way you think about food so whilst you think you could suddenly restrict, that won’t necessary happen. Try focusing on the long term goals, like changing your relationship with food, if you haven’t already.
  • Yes, it does make sense and, yes, that’s true.
  • Erika, can you think why I’d like to know your weight?
  • Yeah, all the health risks linked to being overweight or obese. I know my blood pressure’s absolutely fine and my BMI’s reduced lots but what if you then put me on the obesity register…if there’s such a thing. I wonder if I’d feel more comfortable about this once my BMI goes under 30 (Drat!!!!!! Stupid Erika! She now knows I am obese….and there I was tying to disguise this with my choice of clothes!!).
  • Mmmm, you’re great at deflecting, are you, Erika!!!! So, once your BMI gets to 29 point something, you’ll jump on? Or will you tell me that you’ll feel more comfortable once your BMI’s under 25?
  • (Foiled!!! She’s good at this!) Yeah, it’s like you know me. It might come across like I’m not listening and I’m not taking on board what you’re saying but I am. Honestly. I need to think about this. Can I call you very briefly on Friday about this?
  • Okay Erika. I know you’ll think it through. Why not share this conversation on your blog? Do you think that will help?
  • Oh, I’m one step ahead of you there, doctor!!!!!

Wow, okay, that’s far longer than I thought it would be with no resolution yet so, y’ know, I’m going to do part 2 of this conversation with myself on Friday. I’m going to keep you in suspense for now as I don’t know whether I’m going to get on the hypothetical scales at the end of this but this has helped. And thank you for bearing with me, you lovely group of people!

Love Erika xx (EDIT: feel free to read Friday’s blog here to see how the conversation ended!!)