December Is a Deadly Month


No, really. Just think about it. All the holiday parties and festivities have food, plenty of food and what food! There are the traditional holiday goodies that only come out this time of the year, along with all the other things that I have made it a habit to avoid. And this year, all of these goodies come on top of what seems to be weekly articles on obesity, the obesity epidemic, the relationship between obesity and cancer occurrence, or the relationship between obesity and cancer recurrence.

I can’t resist all the goodies, and so I indulge even though I am fully aware that I shouldn’t. You see, I am morbidly obese. The first time I heard that phrase, I was shocked. I had always thought of myself as just fat. Morbid means “death,” and I was startled to think that my fatness could kill me. I knew there were consequences, but death just seemed a bit extreme. My weight may or may not kill me, but to complicate the issue, I have breast cancer that just loves the estrogen hanging out in the millions and millions of fat cells in my body. I take an aromatase inhibitor daily in an effort to block the estrogen in my body as I try to eat only good things so I don’t make any more fat cells, and I try to exercise to make the existing fat cells go away.

Losing weight ain’t easy. I have lost 83 pounds in the five years since my diagnosis. Some people think, “Only 83 pounds in five years—surely you’re not trying” but are too polite to voice the thought I clearly see on their faces.

Others say “Wow! 83 pounds! Terrific! How did you do it?” and then genuinely listen to what I have to say.

My thoughts on the subject are somewhere in the middle. I was doing a very slow but steady weight loss the last few years. No worries, that’s supposed to be more effective long-term than a quick loss. About a year ago, I plateaued. This happens, but it went on for six months. Then I had the wrong kind of breakthrough and started putting on a few pounds a month, even though I felt well enough to add yoga and pilates to my exercise routine. I had almost lost all hope when I saw my oncologist in the spring. She changed my diet and the weight started coming off again, slowly.

As I said, it ain’t easy. I weigh myself every day. Everyone says not to do that, and once a week is best. What do they know? When I see the number on the scale go up, it encourages me to try a little harder. And when I see the number on the scale go down, it encourages me even more to try a little harder. Either way, it’s win-win for me. In the fall, I gave myself a good talking to and came up with a realistic, written plan for my weight goals month by month. I did great, in spite of Thanksgiving with its leftovers, and entered December a few pounds ahead of the plan. Fantastic!

My goal for December is to lose four pounds. So far I have gained three. So, now do you see why I call December a deadly month? It’s not that “no” has vanished from my vocabulary, but it’s just so hard to say it when there are cookies in my mouth. But I’ll keep plugging away, one day at a time and one pound at a time. I have another few weeks to go, so I should be able to lose a couple more pounds, shouldn’t I? Stay tuned and you’ll find out.

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