A LINGERING DEMON

Here’s a subject we can all relate to – keeping a healthy weight; yeah, that old chestnut. This isn’t a Transgender issue – it’s a human issue – but since transitioning I would be less than candid if I said the pressure placed on women to be thin hasn’t played a part.

Back in July of 2012 I was miserable beyond belief. I had ballooned up to 218 – my heaviest ever. I was always on the slim side for most of my life but my weight had crept up and I hid it fairly well under loose shirts. I was not a healthy camper.

I am generally the healthiest when I am slim – not just in a physical sense but also emotionally. I am a comfort eater. If my emotional needs are met and I’m not stressed, food becomes a tool for sustenance. But if I am dealing with stuff, I turn to the refrigerator for comfort – and it delivers in the short term.

At a price.

So – all hell broke loose in July of 2012. I came out at last as transgender. Up to that point, I never spent much time in front of the mirror – especially naked. I had some pretty severe anatomy issues and that just touched off the dysphoria. So, I used it for brushing my teeth and combing my short hair.  My added weight wasn’t something I saw as much as felt. I also knew I needed to re-shape my body to do what I needed to do and to fit into the clothes I wanted.

I was motivated and finally more at peace with who I was. Plus, I wasn’t on Estrogen yet and the pounds just melted away. By Feb 2013 (a year ago) I had lost 50 pounds. I was down to 168. That was a little low and I settled in the 170 – 173 range and stayed there. I felt really good.

Then my divorce became final, I lost my house and my job. I began Estrogen therapy in January 2013. The pounds have added back on slowly – sneakily until I am sitting here today at 192 saying “enough is enough!” It’s taken a year, but I’ve gained back 20 of those pounds.

Parting with them is harder than I’ve ever imagined.

Please know that I am only sharing my story – my feelings. I am not looking to anyone other than me to deal with this. I know what has to be done. I’ve done it. But doing it with confidence, resources and a sense of equilibrium is easier than doing it while juggling chainsaws.

My issue isn’t so much with my body. I am actually quite happy with the changes over the past year. My clothes still fit but if I don’t do something soon, that won’t be the case.

No, my issue is with the weight gain and my inability or unwillingness thus far to stem it.  What has me concerned is that for me, weight gain is not the problem – it’s a symptom.

Yes, I would like to be slimmer, I would like to wear cute clothes and look good – I love my bikinis and want to wear them this summer

Blah blah blah. Me and the rest of humanity.

My worry is that there is something deeper going on. I am eating as a substitute for something else – something I’m not getting enough of elsewhere.

I’ve given up the easy stuff – I haven’t had a sugared soda in 19 months. I don’t really keep sweets around and I seldom have dessert. What I have a weakness for is chips and salsa… spicy food…and human companionship.

I’m an emotional comfort eater. Dieting is both depriving me of something I like but also the emotional comfort I get from doing it and the feeling of being warm and full. Fighting and winning that battle for enough days in a row to make a difference is extremely hard for me.

Vanity actually plays a very small part in this. Extra weight can be dangerous for someone on hormone therapy and if I ever hope to have the surgery I need, I must stay in good physical shape.

I know what I have to do, but with so many other stressors in my life, it’s extremely hard to do it.

Many would say that someone like me who is 6 feet tall and 192 shouldn’t be concerned as that is in the normal range – it may be, but not for me. I have a smaller frame and feel a lot better about 20 pounds lighter. 20 pounds isn’t a huge deal, but the time to get serious about it isn’t after it becomes a big deal. Now is the time.

 “Just eat less and exercise more.” Easier said than done. We each have our own demons. I know what the problem is but it’s like an addiction. The pull is powerful. I eat when I’m not hungry. I have that emotional need sometimes. It’s much worse at night. I sometimes will scrounge up what amounts to a 2nd dinner – knowing full well the consequences.  

When I was employed and confident and in control – I didn’t need the added comfort. I lost 50 pounds easily. Now, I am adapting to a completely different life, one that is a great unknown – food provides comfort and I’m a good cook and enjoy doing it. It’s rough. I can overcome it, but it surely won’t be easy.

What it will be is worth it.

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