I was the skinny kid who could eat a whole pizza and then an ice cream sundae and still fit into a size 4 all through high school & most of college. I am sure there are leagues of people who wanted to beat me up for that. After marriage & with the addition of a sedentary job I didn’t really like I packed on a few pounds, but was still considered very thin. Then, one summer, out of the blue, it no longer mattered if I ate only candy bars or if I ate only salad. For some reason, my metabolism finally realized that I had, at one point, actually eaten The Earthquake from Swensen’s. Single-handedly.That’s 8 scoops of ice cream and 8 toppings. And I did it in 17 minutes. It was part of a college tradition. Here’s a picture of it, although mine was far more chocolatey:
(I snagged this image from the Swensen’s homepage. If you have one nearby, go eat a cheeseburger & their awesome fries. But, bring friends if you intend to eat an Earthquake. The Creole Creamery in NOLA has the same sundae, but they call it a Tchoupitoulas. If you eat it all, you get your name on the wall. Man, I wish my name had been on that wall! But, I digress….)
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and that, combined with the condition called Not-Having-A-Teenager’s-Metabolism-Anymore meant that I was no longer going to be one of the skinniest girls in the room. Then, I had 2 pregnancies and they weren’t very spaced out. (My girls are 17 months apart.) I hadn’t lost any baby weight from Bean before I got preggie with Peanut. I tried and tried and tried dieting and exercise and whatever. It never seemed to work.
(Here’s a pic of me the summer of my hypothyroidism diagnosis. That’s me in the black shirt. That’s the lovely Tulip & Cliffie next to me. At the time, I thought I was huge. Don’t worry, I am virtually slapping myself right now on your behalf.)
I spoke with my Endocrinologist (the thyroid doc) and asked if it was my hypothyroidism that was keeping me from losing weight. He said once I was on the right medications, I shouldn’t have trouble. I told him I was on a diet of about 1800 calories a day. He told me to cut it… Down to 1200 if necessary. I now think he was a crazy man.
(There I am with teeny Beanie. She was mad because we had just bathed her. Lately she has the same aversion to water. I hated posting this online because my face was so big. And it’s a weird angle. But, then again, I had just had a baby…. I really need to get over myself.)
Hang in there with me…. this isn’t just a post lamenting my lack of weight loss…. there’s a point coming….
(Preggie with Peanut…. The cute Bean in the foreground is to keep you from noticing how wide I thought I was becoming….)
After the conversation with the crazy doctor, I did cut my calories to 1500 a day and in the course of several months I lost a grand total of one pound. I did go walking with the girls regularly, but due to several factors, I wasn’t able to exercise at a gym or with a class or something. Then, we moved here. I started going to Zumba classes at the library. (Yes! The library! How funny is that? But hey, they are free!) So, intense workouts once a week, other exercise when possible, and healthier eating should equal at least some weight loss, right? Nope. I’m still the same now as when I moved here 2 months ago. Not one ounce different.
Perhaps it’s not meant to be.
(This was taken at a dear friend’s wedding when Peanut was just a wee one. See the pained look on my face? I was thinking “I hate photos! I’m so big!” When I saw them later, I was convinced that the dress I chose looked like a circus tent. I have not worn it since. Yes, I know that I’m not all that huge. I repent of my foolishness…. keep reading….)
But, I don’t say that with a fatalist attitude. I’m not going to stop exercising or trying to eat better. But I must change my expectations. No matter what — even if I only eat 1200 calories a day and exercise for hours — I will never be a size 4 again. It’s not in my genes and it just isn’t reality. I’ve been thinking this over (ok, obsessing) and vacillating in my opinions for weeks. Should I just give up exercise? Shouldn’t I just eat whatever? Or should I just try harder? Am I just lazy? Tonight I read this and it made me want to stand on the couch and shout “I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!” Fit doesn’t always mean skinny. Fit and healthy rarely means scrawny and bony like a model. (You may pause here and read the article. Pretty please remember to come back when you’re done! Otherwise you’ll keep thinking that this post is just about me whining.)
I knew that my whole motivation needed to be health and not looking fabulous, blah, blah, blah, but let’s get real: I hated seeing pictures of myself or posting them on Facebook because those friends from high school might notice and say “Dude! She’s puffed up!” (Immature mab replies: “Oh, yeah?! Well, you’re puffy too! Ok, some of you. Some of you still look great. After a bazillion kids. And you just posted a recipe for fried bacon on your site. That’s it! I’m unfriending you!!!”)
(Great pic of us, right? The fabulous Katie Hodas took it. But I won’t have it printed for my hubby to put on his desk. Peanut isn’t covering enough of my chunky rolls. This line of thinking is getting seriously ridiculous, isn’t it?)
So, here’s the point to this long post: Let’s change what we think about how we think we should look. Let’s stop worrying that someone might not like me/value me/appreciate me because I have pudge. And, although my belly fat does make a nice rest stop for my computer mouse while I type, that fat doesn’t define me. (Can I get an Amen?) Our culture beats us up enough because we aren’t Heidi Klum or whoever. I’m not going to join in on the beating.
I will stop being the one who avoids the camera — and not just for me. My kids need to have memories of me as they were growing up. It was really tough to find pics for this post. I’ve been hiding for years. My photo I use on Facebook & everywhere… a fabulous one Britty took of me 3 years ago. I’ve been too chicken to change it. I will also stop giving the stink-eye to those folks who still have a quick metabolism or who are able to lose 3.4 pounds in their first week of dieting. And when Raylo says “You know, I think I lost 5 pounds since we moved here & I haven’t even been trying,” I will not hit him. (Seriously he said that. I seriously wanted to go all postal on him.)
Today I weigh only 5 pounds less than I did the day Peanut was born. She’s 2 1/2. But my worth didn’t diminish as my waistline grew. It’s going to take awhile to change my thought patterns on this, but I really want to let go of that skinny kid I used to be. Instead of thinking “That’s how I should look,” I have to think “That’s how I did look. Now I look like this.” And then I need to get on with life.
I’m not writing this post for comments of sympathy or for anyone to try to boost my self-esteem. I know some of my past thoughts are ridiculous or incorrect. (And by “past thoughts,” I also mean the ones I thought just this morning.) My motivation is this: Let’s learn to love ourselves the way we are. Pudgy Fat Tom bellies and all.
Who’s with me?