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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

Yesterday was my annual women's wellness visit and mammogram. I took the day off because I never know how long the waiting for the exam and the actual exam will end up taking. Plus I had some errands I had been putting off that I figured I'd actually do, like taking in the giant box of records and books that has been taking up the trunk of my car for the last three or four months to Half Price Books. Let's face it. That box has probably been in my car for five months. I'm living like a bag lady. Any way, I knew that I would have to step onto the scale at the doctor's office. Mondays have become my weigh in day at home, so after getting out of the shower and before getting dressed, I stepped on the scale at home. 176.4 pounds. I frowned at the number, but think "Okay. That's fine." It's fine because when I started the whole diet thing, that scale read 180. The frown was because just last week, that scale read 174.5. Weight fluctuates. I get it.

I'm trying to not be obsessive about the numbers. I am consistently about 200 calories short of my daily calorie allotment (except for that one crazy Friday when a veggie burger and fries put me over by 875!). I'm eating lots of green things and very few grains. I'm sweating on the treadmill now. I keep telling myself that I am healthy, which feels like a total bullshit lie, but what ever. I finally make it into the doctor's exam area and the nurse tells me to step on the scale. I cringe, but I know what the scale should say. I prepared myself for this. It should say something around 178 because now I'm wearing clothes. The number 180 pops up on the digital readout and my heart sinks. I frown my way into the exam room and pout while the nurse takes my blood pressure and checks my heart rate. I am not cheered by the fact that the numbers for both of those things are perfect. All I can think about is how I've got to be doing something wrong. 

My doctor comes in and we discuss life and changes. I tell her things are pretty normal except my weight. She looks at the numbers and starts to tell me that it's not a big deal, but then she sees the past numbers and then makes a face and says "well..." I tell her how I'm exercising and tracking my foods and I just don't know what to do any more. She looks at the food I've logged and says "here's the problem. You're not eating enough protein." She goes on to tell me that she knows how hard it is to get enough protein in a vegetarian diet. My doctor is respectful of my choice to be a vegetarian and she doesn't push me to start eating chicken or anything like that. Instead she tells me to eat more yogurt and cottage cheese. She finishes up the exam, declares that everything looks great and sends me down for my mammogram with something new to obsess over. 

I rummage the internet for women and protein and vegetarian protein options while I wait for my boobs to be smashed. Side note/rant: It is the year 2017 and we don't have a better way for screening for breast cancer other than to smash a boob as flat as a pancake and x-ray it?!?! I was offered the new 3D imaging option. I don't know how those images are taken, but my insurance doesn't cover that (more effective) option for breast cancer detection. And I have super good health insurance. But screening for breast cancer and insurance and women's health deserves an entry of it's own. Instead, I'll tell you about sitting in a half shirt that snaps down the front in a waiting room panicking about the idea of having to eat chicken and looking back at all the food I've logged in the past few weeks. It distracted me while I clung to the mammogram machine with my boob sandwiched between two plastic plates. 

Afterwards, I wandered around Half Price Books, waiting for them to go through all the records and books I had brought in. I ended up in the health section, scanning book titles for inspiration or insight or something. There's nothing wrong with eating chicken. It's just that the whole idea of eating it, is unappealing. I eat fish. I looked up the amount of protein in a can of tuna and considered eating a can of tuna a day, like a cat. I could eat a can of tuna a day. Maybe. Not really. I continued to look at things I've been eating and the amount of protein in each thing. I'm going to weigh 200 pounds by this time next year. I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper and all the ugly voices win out. I'm fat. I'm always going to be the fat one. I'm doing everything wrong. I'm so lazy. I should be running half marathons every day. If I was more athletic, more fit, I wouldn't have this problem. If I were better, smarter, enough. I suck at life. 

Finally, I hear them call my name to come to the front desk and collect my money. I check out and head over to Target where I buy cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and some organic peanut butter. I think about buying tuna or protein powders, but I don't even pick any of those items up off of the shelf. Small changes. Get just enough to curb the full on freak out for this moment right now. That's what I did.

And then I went home and made a lemon meringue pie from scratch because fuck you diet.