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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Empowered and Embarrassed

I haven't lost any weight. In fact, I've gained weight. This has happened to me before, and it's always a signal that I'm not committed enough to losing. Scientifically weight loss is about burning more calories than I consume. That's the nice neat way of thinking of weight loss, and it makes the whole thing sound very easy. After defeating cancer twice I think that losing weight is harder than surviving cancer for me. During my cancer treatments I wasn't in control, for the most part, and just had to survive the treatments. Weight loss is all about having control over myself. It forces me to choose between emotional eating or obeying my body's hunger. I have triumphant moments when it's easy to recognize emotional eating and stop it in it's tracks. Yet I still have moments when I'm eating to make myself feel better in some way. I do it knowing that it doesn't really help ease any sadness, fill any voids, or help me in any way. In fact, eating emotionally does harm to my mind and my body. Perhaps it's a form of self-punishment...?

So, I'm faced with a choice between re-committing to weight loss and going forward full force into the holiday season, my birthday, and a week long trip; or focusing on maintaining the weight I am now, appreciating my body for all it's done and accomplished the past year, and finding happiness with my body as it is right now.

Honestly, I'm not thrilled with either one of these choices. I am thankful that my body survived cancer treatments. I am thankful for it's resilience and ability to heal. I'm thankful that I can walk with less pain now. I'm thankful that my body is able to do Cathe Friedrich workouts. I'm thankful that my body is able to grow hair again. I'm thankful that my body is strong enough to lift weights and improve it's cardio endurance. I'm thankful I can move and stretch again.

I'm also embarrassed by my body- the rolls, the scars, the stretch marks. I look at myself and see years of emotional eating and poor choices piled on. I see years of trying and failing to lose weight. My body doesn't reflect the person I am inside, but at the same time it is a result of my choices. It's enough to make my head blow up.

The lifestyle choices that I made in the past caused me to be overweight which played a role in my first and second cancers. The article Obesity and Cancers: Questions and Answers from the National Cancer Institute explains how. I realize that my weight wasn't the only factor in my cancer diagnosis, but it's the only thing I have any control over. It's empowering and embarrassing knowledge. My increased risk of a third recurrence should be enough motivation to lose weight. If I was a hermit it would be easier, but thankfully I'm not a hermit. Okay, so I have some hermit-like tendencies. That's just me, I've never claimed to be a social butterfly.

I will find a way to commit to losing weight despite the holidays, my birthday, my upcoming trip, and the jumble of my emotions and stress. When it comes right down to it, there's no other logical, reasonable, or responsible choice. Cancer is truly my catalyst for losing weight and improving my health. I think I'll make an appointment with the cancer nutritionist soon, too.


  1. You are truly a strong beautiful woman on the inside AND the outside. I know this has been a struggle for you for years, you've done a great job!! You can workouts that i can't get through the warm-up of and I'm younger than you :-)Don't beat yourself up too much, you've been through a tremendous amount in the last year. You'll find a balance and a plan that works for you, I know you will. You are inspiration to alot of people, including me. Love U-Heidi

  2. Connie,
    I feel your pain. As much as I workout, I should be Twiggy, but I have just been maintaining. Please dont beat yourself up though...the chemo they put in our bodies, especially the steroids, can cause a change in our metabolisms. I have every confidence that it will soon go back to normal so we can start seeing results again....Never Give Up :)
    On that note...Weight Watchers is launching a whole new approach on November 29th. Its going to be the most significant innovation since the POINTS® system hit the scene some 13 years ago. From what I gather it will be more geared towards a Clean eating approach! I'm looking forward to it to see if it will help me.


  3. ((((((((((Heidi))))))))) I love you, little sister!! You are right, I will give myself more grace and love.

    ((((((Donna)))) Thank you for sharing your support and own experience with me. Even though I get frustrated, I never give up! Our bodies have been put through the cancer ringer and they deserve love, patience and grace even when it's tough.

    I'm interested to find out about the new WW plan!

  4. Hi Connie! I had missed this blog from earlier. I too believe you are beautiful in AND out. And you have such a healthy aura about you. You have the knowledge and desire. What I think you might be missing is a little support and buddies! There's nothing like having a friend or two (or three) doing this with you and helping you stay motivated. Maybe get your mom and sister or someone close to do it with you? Everyone can benefit from eating healthy! Journal together, compare notes, use each other for motivation!!