As many of you know, I gained about 20 pounds last year. Do you remember the episode of friends when Rachel’s sister Amy (Christina Applegate) comes to visit and she proudly announces that their sister Jill gained weight? Rachel asks: “Hips or thighs?” Amy says, “Ass and face.”
I gained mine in the hips and thighs. And ass.
The truth is, I didn’t have 20 pounds to gain. I had at least 20 to lose. So I’ve battled and struggled all year to lose the 20, as well as the additional weight I carried before. It sucks. I had a biometric screening in February and all of my numbers were perfect – aside from my weight. I’m healthy. But I continue to battle every single day with wanting to feel better about wearing a bathing suit and jeans and just wanting to live my life. I’m never going to be a person who deprives herself. I’ll work out regularly, but you’ll never see me eating a couple of pieces of turkey while the rest of my family enjoys a full Thanksgiving meal. I want pizza. And the occasional beer and bottle of wine. I’m not sure you can have it both ways, and, it can be disheartening when you see those who do. Those who regularly eat fast food and drink soda and eat cake and have rock-hard abs. How? I track my food and exercise and haven’t had McDonald’s fries in years. I don’t drink soda. Rarely eat bread. I’m fairly certain I gain weight by simply breathing in a coworker’s lunch. And yet I can’t help but feel like Emily from the Devil Wears Prada when I look at these women: “you eat carbs!” It’s not their fault, of course. But there are few things more alienating than being on the weight loss struggle bus.
I’ve been attending a diabetes prevention class once a week at work in hopes that it would help me break through my wall, but it’s only intensified my frustration. One week the scale said I’d gained 9 pounds (in the course of a week – I think that’d have to be an intentional weight gain) and I threw an Axl Rose-style tantrum. In class. I was hungry, you know? I want everyone to be successful, but it stings a little when you feel like you’re failing.
I want to strike a reasonable balance between working and living. Moderation is key in everything. I obviously feel better when I eat healthy, and choose that route more often than not. I have more energy and sleep better when I maintain a workout routine. But I want to continue to do those things without obsessing over every single calorie eaten and calorie burned. Without spending my entire evening at the gym. Without turning down homemade treats and date nights and pumpkin ale. Without thinking about it all.the.time. Does a happy medium exist?
Because it’s all overwhelming, isn’t it? I never know if I’m eating enough. Or too much. Or exercising enough. Or if I need more or less protein? Is butter a carb? It’s exhausting to the point that I give up and eat cereal for two meals a day.
And I think that’s why so many women deal with an unhealthy obsession. I’m sure I’ll get comments about how being overweight is unhealthy and I hear you, but I’m also here to tell you that that’s not the whole story. I’m overweight, it’s true, but I’m also healthy in every single way. My heart is healthy, my cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure are all perfect. I’ve followed a woman online for years who has lost about 100 pounds. She looks amazing but continues to work out for hours a day at the gym and eats like a bird. Is that healthy? It’s never enough. We don’t love ourselves enough. We don’t give ourselves (or others) enough grace. When is it enough, friends?
All of this non-eloquent ramble is to say that if you’re struggling, know that you are not alone. Weight will always be a sensitive topic in our culture, and women (especially) suffer quietly. It’s not easy to be vulnerable and say: I know I need to lose weight, but it’s really fucking hard. This society is keen on making everything look easy and perfect- but we all know that behind every “perfect” Instagram shot are hundreds of others that didn’t make the cut. Remember that it’s okay to show the not-so-perfect parts, too, friends.