Small Steps Towards Healthy
It’s hard knowing you used to be healthy, and now you’re not. It’s hard to look at pictures of yourself from a few months ago and feel like a totally different (and fatter) person today. It’s hard to get back into a routine after months off of it.
A few days ago, I was recording a lesson for my students, and watching it back again, all I could see was the double chin that has grown back on my face. I looked in the mirror and felt ashamed of myself. How could I have gone so long being healthy and feeling good just to throw it all away?
The excuse I give myself
I use the excuse of feeling tired to get out of moving my body. I’m not lying about how I feel, but I’m ashamed to use it as an excuse.
My belly is getting so big I feel like a pregnant woman. I know periods can have a big effect on a woman’s weight, but to know that I’m just under 200lbs really weighs me down (no pun intended).
Self comparison with younger me
When I was at my healthiest weight in 2014, I was 150lbs, and about 2 sizes smaller. During college, I was a full-time student, working a part-time job, and in 2 sororities. I look back at pictures of myself and wonder how I was so skinny. I wasn't working out regularly, nor was I eating any healthier than I am now.
Negative thoughts begin to fill my mind. How can I be almost 200lbs now? How have I let narcolepsy get the better of me?
Being tired makes it so much harder
It’s hard being so darn tired all the time. People talk about how hard it is to exercise, but narcolepsy on top of that makes it practically impossible. Oftentimes I need to nap after I workout.
During my normal school schedule, I don’t have time for that. That was one of the biggest excuses I gave myself this semester.
Narcolepsy and weight gain
Many people with narcolepsy struggle with being overweight. Adults with narcolepsy do not eat more than the average person; however, they weigh 15 to 20 percent more than the average person.1
A recent study on patients with narcolepsy suggests that one cause for the weight gain may be the lack of orexin hormones in the brain. Orexin hormones accelerate a person's metabolism, which in turn increases wakefulness and increases appetite.2
I look back to January of 2018 and wonder how I managed to get up at 5 a.m. everyday and workout before school. I wasn’t on any sleep medications during that time, so my sleep wasn't great, but somehow I managed to make it work. I was going 3 to 4 times a week. Now, it is a good day if I can get myself to walk my dog for 30 minutes.
Give yourself grace
I want to be "healthy" again. I want to feel comfortable in my own body. I want to show the world that even people with narcolepsy can be healthy too.
But you know what? It’s okay. It’s okay that I’ve gained weight. It’s okay that I have a double chin. It’s okay if I’m feeling low self-confidence. This year has been crazy for everyone. I need to focus on the small victories. This morning for breakfast, I had an egg instead of cereal. Yesterday I walked my dog for 40 minutes instead of 30. And tomorrow, I will be sure to rest if my body needs it.
I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked during the summer months, and I hope I can motivate myself to get back to that place. But even if I don’t? That's okay too. There are a lot worse things in the world than being overweight.
Do you give yourself grace around your weight and being healthy? Share with the community in the comments below.
Do you feel that your doctor understands narcolepsy?