Aw, frig. It’s only 1 p.m. and I’ve already blown through all of my Weight Watcher points.
I decided sometime within the past week that I’d give WW another go of it after seeing pictures of myself and realizing I’m fatter than I look in my mirror. Of course, the scale had told me this already– I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, thanks in part to my chemo diet of French bread pizza, chocolate, Oreos, and any other comfort food I could get my grubby little hands on.
Now that the chemo is leeching out of my system–I had my last infusion four weeks ago– and I’m just doing radiation, I can make my move. During chemo, the last thing I wanted to hear about was healthy diets to prevent cancer because about the only things I could stomach were ample carbs and/or sugar. So yesterday I bit the bullet and ordered a three-month online WW subscription.
One of the funny things about having cancer is that people imagine you have wayyyyy loftier ideals, thoughts, and goals than you had pre-cancer, which totally gives me the LOLs. While this may be true to some degree for some people, most of us cancer peeps struggle with the same mundane concerns as our non-cancerous peers.
For example: not being fat and ugly.
Even though I have cancer, I care about this. Remember, pretty much all of us have been indoctrinated since birth that being thin and good-looking are life’s greatest aspirations. I’m no different. I remember as a pre-teen and teen flipping through Seventeen magazine,* feeling inferior to the models in pretty much every way. And the indoctrination continued from there. It’s pretty darn hard to change your thinking just because you have an illness.
So imagine for a minute the shock of cancer-causing baldness and fatness and what that does to body image. What it’s done to my body image.
Last week, my husband made it clear that he wanted some “married couple time” (that’s my super-sanitized way of saying you-know-what). “But honey,” I said, “I don’t feel sexy while overweight and bald.”
“Well, I want you to know I still find you very attractive,” he replied. “And also, it’s going to be a long wait for your hair to come back.”
I’m not sure what worried the poor guy more. Contemplating a long, sex-less wait for my hair to re-grow or my bad body image. Oh wait, I think I know the answer. Never mind.
There’s not much I can do about my hair for now but I can work on the pounds I’ve packed. A really great guy with whom I graduated high school runs intense fitness classes and is an MMA expert. Tonight he’s going to help me with basic Olympic lifts so that I can do Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” program in my garage (or as I’ve affectionately named it, “Mad Meg’s Fitness Emporium”).
And I started Weight Watchers. Even though I’ve spent all of my points today on oatmeal, a grilled cheese, Chobani, a tablespoon of almond butter, and two rice cakes (seriously, that’s a day’s worth of points?!?!), just writing down everything and being accountable changes my behavior immensely.
On a final note, I’d like to share this quote by John Cheever, an American novelist and short story writer who died of cancer in 1982:
My veins are filled, once a week, with a Neapolitan carpet cleaner distilled from the Adriatic and I am as bald as an egg. However I still get around and am mean to cats.
*Seventeen magazine will never be allowed in our household and my daughter will know why.
I have been working on my post-Utah wrap-up but haven’t yet finished it. It’s coming soon… I promise! In the meantime, just know that Utah was so much better than I could have imagined.