I had been feeling exhausted and unhealthy for nearly a year and it was getting worse so I finally went in for a check up. I was told by the PA (my doctor was too busy to get in to see) that, based on her blood test, I had pre-diabetes. She said that I was at a severe risk of developing diabetes, so I had better get on a special low carb diet immediately and that would cure all my ailments within weeks (it didn’t) .
I did not believe her conclusions. Neither did any of the other medical practitioners that I consulted after her diagnosis. I did, however, decide to follow her diet directions while I continued figuring out for myself what was actually wrong.
I lost weight. But that’s not the story.
I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater: whole grains, fruits and veggies, no soda or alcohol, and few processed foods. What I found, however is that is is hard to get enough calories without carbs- and everything but protein has carbs. Ouch. All my healthy fruits and whole grains were taking me way out of the carb ballpark. It took me several months of recording every bite to My Fitness Pal to figure out how to choose the right foods, and up my protein to account for lack of calories from carbs. In the meantime I dropped 10 lbs. It got kind of fun to watch the scale going down an ounce or two every day, so I decided to continue on the ‘diet’ until I got down to the weight I was 30 years ago when I was the healthiest. It became a lot more difficult as time went on.
And that’s when this story about human nature began.
Losing the weight was a big accomplishment. I learned to portion and weigh every thing I ate, keep track of every single bite that went in my mouth, eat protein, and drink more water than I have ever wanted to drink. For 6 months I didn’t have ‘cheat days’. I didn’t go over my carb limits. I didn’t eat my favorite foods. It. Was. Not. Easy!
We are social creatures. We like to share accomplishments, even the accidental ones. When we share struggles and accomplishments, those around us cheer us on and give us the encouragement and motivation to continue when we are stressed or weak. At least that is what should happen. What I experienced was quite different. If I mentioned that I was on a diet, or losing weight, the reaction was a form of “You don’t need to lose weight, here- have a brownie”. I learned to only tell a couple of trusted friends- and even to them I had to justify myself with exaggerations about diabetes scares so they would give me a bit of the support I craved.
I was already at what most would call an acceptable weight. I didn’t then, or now, LOOK unhealthy, but there are underlying health issues at stake. Please understand that MY efforts are NOT being undertaken as a reflection of you or your needs- it’s just about me and my own needs. Do I need to review my complete health history with you before you will quit dissing* my health choices and offering me double-chocolate mint brownies?
I now ask myself if I ‘offer brownies’ in some way or another myself. What I learned from this experience is that we rarely know the whole story. Judging others based only on what I see and believe is harmful and can be painful for the judged. We do have to make judgements every day- it’s part of life and is what keeps us safe. Let’s just decide to make them using righteous principles, and remember that the person that we may be judging is more important than problems to be solved.
When someone shares something that is important to them, they are putting trust in us. We must respond with love, rather than judgement.
*Definition of dis
dissed; dissing; transitive verb