Well, it’s almost 2019. On the brink of a brand new year, I want to share an experience I’ve been dealing with for the majority of 2018.
Several months ago, the nerves in my shoulder became paralyzed. At the point this happened I was in super good shape. I felt amazing and was working out 5 times a week which was great for my body and my self-esteem. I was a walking endorphin. Fitting into clothes I hadn’t worn in years. My energy was through the roof. And then I got sick and it all went to hell.
I went from lean and ripped to barely being able to raise my arm in a matter of weeks. The long-term prognosis wasn’t great. So, what did I do? I went to work and motivated my patients to reach their health and weight loss goals, feel good about their progress, make small changes to their nutrition plans for sustainable weight loss, exercise, and be kind to themselves emotionally. All the while I watched my own body fat go up and my muscles dwindle.
How did I cope? Well, I did the complete opposite. I ended up seeing a dermatologist, first for Botox and later, when it was too soon to get more, dermal fillers. I had 5 rounds total. What else? I used food, my old standby, to blunt the depression I felt over possibly never being able to lift again.
Earlier this year I spoke at a conference about body image. It was eye-opening, to say the least. While my profession is helping people lose weight in a healthy, sustainable manner for medical reasons (physical, mental) I’d be lying if I said aesthetics don’t play a part in what I do for a living. As much as I don’t like it, our society puts a lot of emphasis on being lean and fit. And while I don’t advocate extreme weight loss and objectifying unhealthy body weight standards I know that the majority of us have at some point been discouraged when we can’t fit into our jeans or worse compare ourselves to society’s views of what’s visually appealing. Me included.
I’m writing about this because in my weight loss practice honesty is the best policy when it comes to body image and eating behaviors. Was I using the cosmetics to try and make up for how I felt about my body? Yep. My theory is that only when you address what’s getting in your way can you work around it. Or better yet with it. As a binge eater, food is my pleasure but also a friend and sometimes a frenemy. With anything on the long road to change the lines often blur. Yes, I’m a weight loss doctor but I struggle with weight gain, maintenance, working out, emotional eating, and clearly my own body image every day. Did I mention I’m losing my hair? Lol.
So, I’m taking a page out of my own book for the New Year, and learning to be kinder to myself, make small changes to my eating habits, track my macros better, eat more fiber, and get back into the gym because I love it, it makes me feel good and I’m lucky I can do some physical activity again.
Clearly, I can’t be the only one that had a dose of social body image pressure when his dad-bod came back with a vengeance. I’m putting this out there that if anyone wants to share their stories on body image, coping mechanisms, addictions etc. I’m all ears.
All I wish for myself, my patients, and everyone else out there is that whatever size you are, either overweight or underweight, you give yourself the time to work on getting healthier in your mind and body for 2019. It’s certainly a process, but a worthwhile one none the less. As always if you have questions about weight loss, exercise, nutrition, or just want to talk, reach out to me or my staff. We’ve been there, and are here to help.
Do you have more questions about this blog post or Dr. Charlie Seltzer’s weight loss program? Contact Us, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.