If you have never had a concern about your weight and just don’t understand why all those fat people don’t just close their mouths and order a salad (hold the dressing), then you can just go on browsing what bikini to buy for next week’s trip to the beach and skip this blogpost all together. No wait (no pun intended), read on. You might learn something.
Or….if you are like me and haven’t had a day go by without thinking about every mouthful, and worrying over what you can find to wear to ___________(your high school reunion, your daughter’s wedding, your cruise, your day at the pool, your own pool in your own backyard!!, you name it) then read on. It started at puberty for me. At about 12, I got very UNwanted womanly curves – ugh. As a child, I didn’t worry about what I ate and stayed a nice, normal size. Of course, puberty hit and like all tweens, the conversation with my friends turned to our weight and no matter our size, how FAT we all were. My mother (bless her soul) fueled the fire. She came from an entire generation that felt beauty was paramount in every respect. The roads might be icy outside but, “…honey, your sandals will look so much nicer with that dress….” – sometimes looking beautiful is uncomfortable/stupid! No matter that people thought I was crazy to be in Pappagallo slingbacks in January. My mother cut me to the core when she informed me that “…no man would want me looking like THAT!” Fat – that is. Even when I really wasn't. Now, we were getting to the real reason for being thin and “attractive.” I adored my mother, I truly did but she messed me up – on the weight front.
Flashing forward to now, age 63, and still, I am embroiled in the battle. I have been on every diet and plan known to man – make that woman – men don’t seem to care at all! My sister is 70 and she just sent me a bunch of Eileen Fisher tops (thank you!) – reason: they are TOO BIG for her! What?! Nothing has been too big for me since I wore a 6X. Please let that happen to me – I just have 7 years to wait.
All of this brings me to my most recent source of torture and desperation – Whole30. This is a 30 day plan that seems pretty simple – eat nutrition-rich, whole foods, fruits and veggies of almost all types, animal protein of all types, some fats like avocado (yum) and olive oil and almond butter – just NO alcohol, NO sugar/sweetener/honey, NO grains, NO dairy (yes, that includes cheese). 30 days you say? Sure, I can do that.
I’m on Day 25 and yes, I have lost about 10 of the million pounds I want to lose. I’m questioning if it’s worth it today. If I see another club soda with two tiny wedges of lime, I will scream (listen for it). Eggs – ick. The Whole30 book which is really excellent, actually – very readable with humor, some great recipes with beautiful delicious pictures, extremely convincing and encouraging, says – “This plan is not hard, fighting breast cancer is hard, getting off heroin is hard, this is not hard.” Agreed – compared to those things it’s not hard exactly, but it is boring and frustrating. I spend a lot more time being grumpy. My poor husband (who I’m convinced does love me despite this plague) is doing a great job of putting up with me.
I can hear you thinking, “…you only have 5 more days to go, big deal.” But then what? I don’t want to gain the weight I lost right back which all of you who are still reading know will happen – which means, I need to live on this “plan” forever. Hmmmm…….
My nearest and dearest know of my struggle and are probably sick to death of hearing about it.
All joking aside, here is what those of us who struggle with our weight want our naturally skinny friends to know. It is not a lack of will power. It is not because we have “let ourselves go.” It IS something we would do something about if it weren’t so damned hard. We will continue to try because this is a skinny-loving culture in which we live. But please don’t reach for a cookie and say, “oh…you can’t have that, right?” with a guilty look which means you want to be able to enjoy a cookie. Of course! Delight in your treat. Just don’t bring me into it. Because the answer is “YES, I CAN have that – I’m an adult – I can eat whatever I want – I might just not CHOOSE to eat that cookie right now.” I know this will sound strange but the best thing is for you to try not to notice – what we are ordering, what we are drinking, what we are eating. Do not ask me how my diet is going. I know you are just trying to be supportive but trust me, just don’t. Ugh. That’s just embarrassing for everyone. Plus I’m trying to make this “diet” a lifestyle choice, as a grown-up. And if at all possible, don’t let what I’m doing spoil your fun. You can drink/eat, to excess if you want, but please don’t make me feel guilty for not drinking with you or that I’m no fun. I’ve been fun for 63 years – I need a break. And, after a big weight loss, don’t say, “OH MY GOD, you’ve lost so much weight!!” What that means to people who struggle with this is, whoa! I didn’t know I was THAT fat!
If you run into someone or even if a family member has lost some weight and it is truly noticeable, you say, “Wow, you look great. I’m not sure what it is – did you cut your hair?” I’m only sort of kidding here. “Wow, you look amazing/so pretty/really happy.” Those all work too.
One of my successful weight losses happened when our son, William, was on his gap year. He headed to China for three months which was the perfect time for me to tackle my weight issue. It was the first time I didn’t have a child living at home for 25-ish years. I lost a bunch of weight while he was gone. He returned and after a few days, he hadn’t mentioned my weight loss. I asked him, “…well, do you notice anything different about me?” He said, in true teenaged fashion, “..not really.” I said I’ve lost weight! He said, “Well Mom, I never thought you needed to lose weight so I guess I just didn’t notice.” The perfect answer.
Ed. Note: I started writing this post a month ago. I’ve debated posting it but decided – what the heck. I am staying on Whole 30, for the most part, at the moment, and it is actually really good. I'm feeling healthy and strong.