So tomorrow I'm having my yearly physical exam. Gee, what fun. Honestly, I hate going to the doctor's office for pretty much any reason. Since childhood I've dreaded going to the office, knowing that my weight would be a major subject of discussion. As a child, I remember lying in bed the night before trying to think of any possible way to weigh in lower on the scale the next day. Happily for me, the last times I've popped into the office, the nurse steered me away from the dreaded scales saying, "Since you're not here about weight today, let's bypass the scale." I could have hugged her.
But the yearly physical is the worst somehow. My doctor is unfailingly polite and soft-spoken. She doesn't say too much about the weight, except as it concerns to my too-high blood pressure. Sometimes she gives me a printout about weight loss. Politely.
Several years ago, before I had my current doctor, I went to the Women's Center for the physical. I had an appointment with a doctor I'd never had before. It all went downhill when she walked in. She felt intense, chastising. She proceeded to lecture me about my weight as if I'd never heard it all before. The conversation went something like this:
Doctor: "What are you doing to lose weight?"
Me: "Oh, this and that, Slim Fast..."
Doctor: "You need to be serious about losing weight. You are obese. Don't you know you're obese?!"
Me: "Uh, yeah..." (So that's why my jeans are size 18! I would never have made that connection...)
Doctor: "You need to be exercising every day for at least an hour. This is the real world, grow up."
Me: "Uh, yeah..."
And so on and so on...
I admit that I got out of that office, got in my car, and cried all the way home. I hated myself in those moments because I was so ashamed and yet I felt powerless to change. Yes, I know I'm obese. Of course I know it. Yes, I've tried to lose weight for most of my adult life. Yes, I really DO need to exercise more. I know that the doctor probably had my best interests at heart. She was a knight in the crusade against obesity. But she turned me off, cut into my heart, with the way she went about it. Maybe it's the "tough love" approach that's needed, but so far tough love doesn't change much and it just hurts. Perhaps compassion and support go further?
In any event, I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.