Monday, March 17, 2014

Oh, So YOU'RE the expert?

On Thursday I had a biometric screening done to keep my insurance happy and to keep my slightly-lower than usual health insurance plan.  Let me preface this by saying I believe the only reason they accepted me is that I'm a nonsmoker.  Actually, I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, a fact which has never kept anyone I know from smoking when I'm trapped in a confined space with them.  Gotta love it when their rights to smoke are more important than my right to clean air.  

I'm also allergic to eggplant, as it turns out, and I realize now I always have been.  I've always had the same mouth pain whenever I've eaten it, though I've never had an allergy test.  It's too bad.  I love Eggplant Parmesan.  *sigh* it could have been worse.  I could have had an allergy to chocolate.  That would be tragic.  Still, having said that I am allergic to eggplant, it wouldn't surprise me that certain people will try to trick me into eating it "just to see if I'm making it up" like they do with their smoking. 

Food allergies are unpredictable things, though.  You never know when someone's allergy, that typically just causes mouth pain or a mild rash, can suddenly turn into a case of anaphylaxis and obstructed breathing.  

Smoke causes me sinus pain, headaches, and difficulty breathing.  But gosh, I might just be pretending that it completely irritates my respiratory tract, just because I want to deny them their rightful pleasure to poison themselves and then whine about the complications later not being their fault.  One word: wrinkles.  Smokers have prune mouth, and I don't.  Non-smokers don't wrinkle and dry out at the accelerated speed that smokers do.  Surely an appeal to their vanity might work.  No?

I think I might also have a problem with gluten.  My belly swells, I have sharp abdominal pains,  I get a migraines, and all the IBS symptoms that made a nurse-practitioner proclaim I have IBS. 

Except for one snag in that diagnosis. The medication she prescribed didn't help with the pain.  And I didn't have any digestive problems when I went on a juice fast for three months over the summer.  My tummy was a very happy camper.  Even my periods were less stomach-churning, so I didn't have the stomach issues, though the rest of the misery was still mine to deal with.

The last time they did a biometric screening for me a couple of years ago, the first thing they did was weigh me and subtract FOURTEEN pounds when they wrote it on my records.  Why? I don't know.  Maybe it was to make it look like I'd gained weight the next time.  I don't believe I ever wear so much as four pounds of clothes anyway.  Even at the gym, I feel slightly guilty taking two pounds off my weight to account for gym shoes and workout clothes.  I only allow myself two, and I feel like that's an exaggeration.  And yes, I am extremely focused on my weight, no matter what I'm doing.  

In short, I'm obsessed with my weight, possibly because so many other people make criticizing my weight their business, when I don't say boo in return.   I can't say that I have a specific eating disorder that regularly alters my eating patterns, but the first thing I think about when someone criticizes my weight,  my size, or my exercise habits, is "I should just stop eating for a while." Yes, it's an extreme thought, but sudden acute depression can add a surprising amount of force to your convictions. Where one binges, another deliberately starves.  I don't make myself vomit, but I lose my appetite for weeks on end and that's counterproductive to making myself thin enough for others to approve of. 

Yeah, they can bite me.  When I'm thinner, they just find something else to criticize, because they can't be happy with themselves unless they're putting someone else down.  It's stupid, but hey, at least I understand how that works and it limits my suffering from it just a bit.  It's hard to completely insulate yourself from a jerk, though.

So they measured my weight, which is up ten pounds from when I stopped my juice fast in the fall.  (Cold and flu season isn't the best time to juice fast, especially when you're feeling cold all the time.)  I haven't been exercising enough, because I've been very fatigued lately.  First, I caught a cold, then I had a couple of rough months with my period, and then I was so worn out from the resultant anemia that I'm having trouble staying conscious most days.  I need a lot of naps lately.  Looks like it's time to start playing with my hormone levels again.  *sigh* Letting Nature do the deciding is a pretty bad thing for this woman.  Mother Nature obviously has a vendetta over me not reproducing.  

They also checked my height, apologizing that they can't record partial inches in my record.  So now I'm officially over 5'5" and I find that pretty amusing.  Oh, my waist is too big!  She didn't ask if there might be a reason, such as.... Upset stomach, time for my period and about ten pounds of water my belly region bloats with at that time. I have a feeling the point was to blame me, not assess a reasonable cause for the swelling.  She also didn't ask if I'm pregnant.  For all she knows, I could be.  That tends to make a belly a bit bigger.  

My blood pressure was excellent. My bad cholesterol was excellent.  My good cholesterol was low.  (No mention was made of my anemia which should have been obvious...) Time for the freak out....  My triglycerides were 274.  "Good" is under 150.  So I explained to her just how good my 274 actually is.  The last time they checked it, it was over 650.  Six months later when my doctor checked it, it was 350.  and now it's 274.  Yes, I know that is still too high, but it takes time to lower that and it is obviously on a downward trend.  Not good enough for her, so she lashed into me about my BMI.  It's too high.  Well, of course.  Even if I was skinny, my breasts would keep that a bit too high.  So she said, "You're obese!"  Well, thanks for sparing my feelings, honey.  I'll just go cry on Arnold Schwartzeneggar's shoulder, because he's obese too, by your rather bogus tool.  

Understand this: all humans are not identical, therefore, all body improvement attempts will not work identically on each person.  Some things don't work on some people.  Some people have genetic predispositions toward certain problems or advantages.  We are not all the same.  Diet drugs don't even work on me, and I've tried a fair few.  

I still want to be 50 pounds lighter than I currently am.  I've only found two things that were effective to help me get there.  Pills didn't work.  Fad diets didn't work.  Three hours of strenuous exercise daily didn't work.  (Running and juicing work for me.)

So I told her that I lost 20 pounds over the summer by juicing.  *Gasp!* The horror!  She said that was A VERY BAD THING TO DO!  Other than possibly not getting enough protein, I was eating a low-fat, vegetarian diet based more on vegetables than fruits.  I was suddenly getting a variety of colorful, raw, fresh vegetables in my diet that I normally just don't eat at all.  I was getting a variety of fruits that satisfied my cravings for sugar.  My blood sugar levels were consistent all day.  I lost 20 pounds.   I had TONS of energy and I was cheerful a lot more than usual.  I felt great, inside and out.  My hair looked good.  My skin even looked healthy.  I was lighter and leaner as well.  I was having no trouble running three miles plus every other day.  I was optimistic most of the time.  

She told me juicing was bad for me and I should get The Flat Belly Diet book to solve all my problems. Because it worked for her.  Honestly? She looked about 65, short, and dumpy.  She didn't look to me like she had a flat belly.  She was pretty round.  She also told me I have to exercise.  I told her I run, and I've been running for a few years now.  I also lift weights. She told me to stop running IMMEDIATELY and FOREVER.  Running is BAD for you.  Why? Because she claims she used to run and it hurt her knees, and *I* am too overweight to run.  I should never do more than a brisk walk.  (Ah, insurance company coaching is setting me up for weight loss failure, do you see that? They want to get me off the discounted list.  Was it the $8000 MRI of my hips?  Lol. Wait till they have to pay for my double hip replacement.)

Bitch, please.  You just lost all your credibility with me there.  My orthopedic surgeon says I can run if it doesn't hurt me, and if it does, it's his job to help me figure out why.  And fix it.  (He said that if running makes me happy, then I should run if it doesn't hurt me, because running alone doesn't cause knee problems or all adults would have problems because they ran as children.  Running makes you stronger.  It strengthens bones.  Running the wrong way is what hurts.  Bad shoes hurt. ) I believe being overweight and sedentary is probably worse for my joints than running.  It's not like I'm a beast runner anyway,  I can't be.  My dream of running a marathon someday may not be possible.  

The whole time I was telling her about my usual routine of weightlifting, running, and elliptical on opposing days she was looking at me skeptically, with an expression that said, "The only running you do is to the kitchen for a box of Twinkies."   I think the last time I had a Twinkie was around 12 years ago, and they didn't taste as good to me then as they did when I was a kid, by the way. What's the point of eating something that doesn't even taste good?  I don't. 

She just ignored the positive things that I do, and talked to me like I need a crane to get me out of my house.  Then she asked if anyone in my family has high cholesterol.  Uh, yeah, a couple so far, in my tiny family.  That we know of.  They don't often routinely test the kids for high cholesterol, do they?  And when you can't afford health insurance, that kind of checkup just doesn't happen.

Here's the part that really made me disregard her intelligence.  She got this threatening attitude and told me that as "we" women get older, our metabolism slows and it becomes difficult to lose weight.  The years leading to menopause can really slow down a woman's metabolism.  Oh gee, really? And do you think insulin resistance messes it up too, maybe?  Hmm?  

I stopped short of telling her that I'm already in hot flash hell, because I knew she would just contradict me and say that I'm too young.  I know she didn't check my age.  She didn't ask if I had children.  She basically judged my entire health picture by a measuring tape and one drop of blood.  And did it all with a condescending know it all attitude.  Obviously, she doesn't know it all, or even more than how to nag and put a drop of blood into a machine.  She just parrots what they tell her to say.  And in a pseudo-kindly way.  I didn't want any more conversation with her.  I was starting to feel hostile toward her and just wanted to get back out into the bright sunshine.

So I went and told out PE teachers what she said.  :D. They got angry.  It was funny.  Lol. 

I had already decided that when it warms up, before I go on my trip in the summer, I was going to start juicing again and see if I could lose a few more pounds.  I miss having energy and being unaffected by sugar cravings.  I'm not getting sufficient nutrition from my food, and I'm starting to have digestive issues once again.  I just need to get the kitchen prepared for it, and get going.  I already know I'll be pretty successful with it.  

And the next time I have to have a stupid biometric screening, I'm going to juice for a month beforehand.  That should shut them the heck up.

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