I don’t believe my electrophysiologist meant what I heard him say about my weight.
Last week I had a follow-up appointment with him. It had been 15 months since he performed my cardiac ablation and fixed the abnormal electric activity of my heart. I’ve had 15 months of tachycardia-free symptoms (fast-paced heart rate)! Hallelujah!
As I shared with him how I have had instances of possible atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat), he reminded me the two things that can greatly trigger it. Weight and alcohol. He asked me if I drank often. “A glass of wine with dinner every now and then. Is that often?” He said no, and every now and then is fine. More than that can cause problems.
He glanced down at his paper, looked back up and said, “The other issue is weight.” Oh, here we go! I was ready for some kudos, as I had been working diligently, exercising and eating better since January 1. I felt healthier than I had in a long time. Here is where he would tell me to keep up the good work at taking care of myself. Here is where he would say, “You’re doing awesome!” But instead, he said five words that stopped the celebration going on in my head. “Your weight isn’t that bad…”
“Your weight isn’t that bad…”
I kept my eyes fixed on him as he continued to speak, but all I heard was muffled noises similar to how Charlie Brown’s teacher sounded when she talked. Wah, wah wah, wah. I escaped inside my own mind. My weight isn’t that bad? Are you kidding me? I’ve been killing myself on the treadmill, making my arms and legs fall off with the weights. I’ve been eating healthy (for the most part). You’re telling me my weight isn’t THAT bad? My weight is good, mister!
I had to pull myself together about his weight comment.
I had to return to the reality in the exam room. Keep it together, Julie. He didn’t mean what he said. He was still speaking as I returned from my silent escape. Yep, I got it. Weight and wine aren’t good for people with a-fib. Got it.
Small talk ensued. We talked about public speaking, blogging, writing a book, and where we’re headed in our careers. (I’ll share more on that later.) He instructed me to email him the readouts from my Kardia device and return in six months. I shuffled back to my car, looked at myself in the rear-view mirror, and let out a long, exasperated sigh.
Sitting there, I had much for which to be thankful.
I had much to rejoice! My heart was beating in rhythm. I had a great, inspiring conversation with him which I took as confirmation in my writing. I received a good report, and don’t have to return for six months. But, all I could think of was, “Your weight isn’t that bad.”
Some may look at this as a positive statement, but me? It deflated me. I wanted to go straight to my favorite burger joint and order a double bacon with cheese, with extra fries. And ranch to dip my fries. Maybe even a glass of wine to top it off. But, it was only 10 a.m. Good thing they weren’t open for business yet.
Seriously, though, I had to talk myself through this one. I like my doctor. I have great respect for him and his work and how he helped me and my heart. He knows what he’s talking about. I have to believe those five words he strung together to make that sentence wasn’t designed to jab me. He was trying to encourage me. Yes, I would have chosen different words, especially to a woman who carries an insecurity about her weight. But, he didn’t know of my insecurity. He was simply telling truth. At least he didn’t say, “Your weight is awful.”
I took his words, changed them around in my mind, and made a decision to use them as my motivation. I know my weight isn’t perfect. Yet, it could still be worse. But, I’m motivated more than ever to be healthy for my heart, not to fit into a certain size. So, even though my doctor’s words stung that morning, I’m encouraged by them today.
We can get hung up on people’s words, can’t we?
Especially when they poke at a hidden insecurity that’s buried deep within us. We can allow those words to deflate us or to propel us forward. The choice is ours.
Let’s remember who and Whose we are. Especially when it comes to our insecurities. God is bigger than our insecurities. God is bigger than someone else’s words. He’s the One in Whom we find our identity anyway, right? Even though we can’t control what another says to us, may He be glorified in how we react to those words today.
God bless you, friend.
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