Friday, August 29, 2008

weighty matters

It was nine years ago this weekend that I decided it was high time to lose some pudge. During my early-to-mid 20s, I had steadily been putting on weight. I know that everything you read about weight gain comes down to an emotional issue - food as friend, food as comfort, food as religion -whatever. For me, it was -and remains - the fact that I enjoy eating. I find it pleasurable. The things I like to eat the most are total crap for you. The end.

But it was a random day at the beach in the summer of 1999 that I decided enough was enough. I was asked to be a bridesmaid in yet another wedding, and I was sick of being the biggest girl going down the aisle. I gave myself a deadline for the following June to lose 60 pounds. (Yes, I know approx. how much I weighed then, and yes, due to a scale obsession I certainly know how much I weighed at the end, but I'm not giving numbers up, my friends.) I headed to the store, bought a Walkman, a new pair of sneakers, and hit the road.

And, boy, did I ever hit the road. Over the following 10 months, I walked my ass off, literally. I was never much of a runner, but I can power walk with the best of them, and finish a mile faster than some (slow) runners. I walked in hurricanes (seriously), snowstorms, freezing temperatures - yup, I was that asshole that you see out in the pouring rain trotting away. I walked and walked and walked, and restricted my calories like nobody's business - all the while leaving myself free days every week - and made my goal. And then lost 10 more pounds, for a total of 70 pounds lost in just under a year.

I cannot tell you how fabulous it was to have people see me, do a double take, and tell me that they didn't even recognize me. I cannot tell how awesome it was to have that damn bridesmaid dress taken in, then taken in some more, and then some more. I cannot tell you how annoying it was when people accused me of being anorexic, starving myself, binging, and all sorts of eating disorder-like behavior. No, I would say. I've been doing this steadily. You just didn't notice the first 25 pounds that came off.

The hardest part of weight loss, they say, is maintaining. That is definitely right. Once you decide, OK, I've lost enough weight, how do you stop dieting? It was a struggle to figure out what I could eat without putting the weight back on. I managed OK, until a new relationship came along (hi, Greg!). Then all those dinners out and my abandoned exercise routine caught up with me, and I put 20 pounds back on.

I put the brakes on the weight gain pretty quickly though, and walked off 30 pounds, managing to get myself to my lowest known adult weight for my wedding (wedding stress, anyone?). After gaining 10 back (because really, that's where my body should be), I leveled out for a couple of years.

Then came pregnancy. And while at first I looked at it as a free pass to eat whatever the hell I wanted (and could stomach), a combination of the realization that I would ultimately have to lose it and a diagnosis of gestational diabetes put the kibosh on my food frenzy. In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten healthier than I did in the third trimester. And while Jane was a healthy 7 lbs, 3 oz, I had a total of 30 pounds to lose.

This past year has been difficult. I lost the bulk of the baby weight quickly, but I had a remaining six pounds that refused to budge. As I get older, my calorie reduction tricks don't work as well as they used to. My metabolism is shit. I hate/don't have time for exercise. It was a combo of three stomach bugs since December that finally rid me of the final pounds.

I think I will always have self-image issues regarding my weight. It's funny -now I weigh about what I did when I lost all that weight nine years ago, and at the time, I felt so impossibly skinny. And now I sure don't. I want to resolve this kind of thinking so I don't somehow pass along my crappy body image attitude to Jane.

Perhaps I should stop writing this boring post and hit the treadmill? Or maybe I should have a snack.


lgaumond said...

Your clothes must do you well because, although I didn't know you when you lost the first 70lbs, I've known you through the wedding and the babe and the stomach bugs and I think you look the same (and lovely)! I can't imagine that you ever had 70lbs to lose. Or even 30 lbs after Jane!

Body image issues suck and I wish for Jane to never have to deal with them.

And remember, your prego photo on my Flickr stream is still the most popular photo I've taken. Jane's got a hot mama, apparently.

The Diva said...

I know what you mean about always having issues, but regardless of what your metabolism tells you, you'll always have your Amanda-like determination...praise it.