I won’t lie and tell you I wasn’t sitting here eating a handful of M&Ms while watching Oprah’s recent episode about her weight gain..
This particular episode is not exactly about “weight loss” but more about joy, balance, self love, as well as embracing our own inner strength and finding the”weight” that we can carry within ourselves, to ultimately reflect on the outside.
She said something along the lines of “When you love yourself enough, you take care of yourself.”
My entire life, my mother has been on a diet. She’d sit down at dinner every night after making a beautiful home made meal, complete with pie, and we’d eat while all she drank was diet soda. She ate melon in the mornings and snacked on diet cookies called “Figurines” and because we were so deprived and never had cookies in the house, we’d sneak them and hate them (because they tasted like crap, but hell, they were the only cookies we could get our hands on!)
When I was in third grade, I could run and I could run fast. I competed in school track and field with sixth graders and kicking their asses. I loved it. The thing is, I was called “chicken legs” and “gazelle” because I was so skinny. Comments about my skinniness bothered me, mainly because I didn’t want the attention. Plus, I didn’t think about my body. I wanted the attention on my ability to run, not how skinny I was when I was running. I carried on through teenage years, just as skinny and as I filled out, my understanding is that I had the body (aside from the smaller chest size) that lots of women dreamed of.
I really didn’t think about it. I ate what I wanted. But usually, I just didn’t eat because I was busy doing other things, busy thinking of what I wanted to accomplish. For lunch in highschool, I distinctly remember existing on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Gatorade, mainly because it barely took any time at all to consume it and then I could be on my way.
It wasn’t as if someone would put a pizza or a burger in front of me, I wouldn’t eat it. Because I would. But if I were left to my own devices to make breakfast or get myself some lunch, I just wouldn’t eat. Or if I were busy, I would sometimes lie and say I had eaten so I could keep on with what I was doing without interruption.
When I was married, I had two pregnancies that helped me gain 65 pounds, both times. That means I was 200 pounds. In the midst of those cumulative few years, I gained alot of weight. I was at a miserable time in my life, dealing with post partum, lack of support from family and husband and just sort of lost. I heard about the weight gain from my mom. My sides were pinched by my husband at the time and eventually I made sure I changed in the closet or bathroom and wore clothes that hid what I hadn’t lost. The husband raised his eyebrow when I went to get something to eat and when I was eating, he’d take some food off my plate so I wouldn’t eat it all.
If and when we were driving and passed a fit woman who was running, it was inevitable that my husband would look in the rear view mirror as that runner got farther and farther away, and it wasn’t until they were no longer in view that he would look over at me and say, “wouldn’t it be great if you started running again?”
I’ll bet you are thinking, “Oh, she divorced him and lost weight and got happy again and is keeping the weight off.”
Well, no exactly.
I divorced him and unconsciously, through stress and lack of thought to food, lost weight and got terribly thin.
And then I got happy.
Worked on loving myself (ongoing process, still happening now)
And then I gained some weight back, a normal healthy weight.
Sounds simple, it isn’t, but I am just keeping this post from being longer than it really has to be.
Basically, I found that when I am under stress or unhappy, I forget about food. I don’t eat. I just don’t. If I am having anxiety, I don’t eat. If I feel sad, I don’t eat.
When J was in town, I found that I ate super healthy with him around. We cooked. I made SALAD. We went out. We didn’t indulge in any one thing. It was balanced.
When he left town before the holidays, I was stressed out with my work and art shows and feeling lonely and sad and wondering if he would change his mind and not come back. (I was wrong, he’s coming back! He hasn’t changed his mind!)
I lost ten pounds.
While I was on the island with him, I ate naturally again. We ate meals. Dessert.
I dipped Oreos in PUDDING.
I ate Yoplait.
The last morning I was there, he took me back to a French bakery that I loved. We ordered omlettes and crepes and cappuccinos.
And I couldn’t eat it.
I had just spent the best week with J and I was leaving. And I couldn’t eat.
“You have no appetite?” he asked.
And I shook my head.
“You feel sad?”
I spoke as little as I ate that morning, but he knew why and he was okay with it. He held my hand and we lay down on his bed until it was time to go to the airport.
And in the end, I know a handful of M&Ms isn’t a healthy lunch, or many of the things I have mentioned in my blog that I have resorted to for a meal while hanging over the kitchen sink.
But what I do know is that a) I don’t have an eating disorder, even though I could have one based on my upbringing. b) I don’t take care of myself the way I could.
On Saturday, a storm was coming. J Skyped me and I was thinking about staying in all day but mentioned perhaps a jaunt to the art supply store for some new paper. He nodded, “you should go, get out of the house before you’re stuck there.”
“Yeah, I probably should,” was my reply.
“And stop off at that Starbucks and get yourself something,” he said. “Get it and have it while you browse through the art supplies.”
Basically, me, a Starbucks latte in an art supply store is the ultimate experience for me. Better than watching “Secret Millionaire” marathons on television in bed, on a snowy night.
(note, there is no Starbucks in our city, so the closest is way out of the way, but happens to be near the art supply store)
I kept saying to myself, “No, I don’t need that, I can do without that. I don’t need to spend money on that.” And then I thought, “I WANT that and that would be a good thing for me today.” Because ultimately, talking myself out of it was saying “I don’t deserve that.”
I haven’t been over my “comfortable weight” for about 5 years. This past summer, I gained a little due to sitting on the beach with the kids and snacking and eating donuts in the mornings from snack shacks. When my pants got tight, I cut back a little. When Fall rolled around, I ate healthier and moved more and then J left and I was busier and I lost ten pounds, which enabled me to fit into EVERY pair of jeans in my drawers instead of just half of them.
I prefer that because I feel better that way than having a muffin top…I feel better that way because I don’t want to lose consciousness to a point where I have to go buy new clothes in a bigger size.
After years of hearing things about my weight (lack or gain of) from those close to me, I find that J is the only one who has never made mention of it. I don’t talk about it really, except when I lost my recent weight and flew down to see him, I was happy to show him that my jeans were no longer like a tourniquet around my waist and that my bikini fit.
But he just shook his head, because he couldn’t really tell, he didn’t notice before and if he did, it wasn’t important.
Because there are more important things, like how when I lose weight, I tend to lose it in my boobs.
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