I want to talk about the weight loss but it feels disingenuous. As we all know, there are rules – oh God, RULES – when it comes to how women can talk about their bodies, especially as it pertains to weight.
1) You can talk about the weight you’ve lost, but you have to be completely and totally emotionally disconnected from having done it, because OF COURSE you loved yourself 100 percent with the weight, and it has no bearing on how you feel about yourself or others, because OF COURSE your own personal choice to lose weight speaks VOLUMES about other people and their bodies.
2) You cannot talk about weight loss if you haven’t done it in a manner that pleases everyone and passes the myriad yard sticks they use to gauge whether it was a) healthy b) long-lasting c) not at all filled with self-loathing d) full of feminist power. If you so much as hint that you’ve lost weight in any fashion the masses deem inappropriate, we don’t want to hear from you. You’re likely to set off an entire generation of young girls into a dieting tizzy, and how responsible is that?
3) You cannot actually talk about weight you’ve gained unless you’re absolutely forthcoming as to a) the emotional turmoil that certainly resulted in it b) the self-loathing that all of the “sacrifice” and “healthy eating” left you with, because OF COURSE saying no to a second helping or eating more vegetables instead of chocolate is ANTI-PERSON, to say nothing of ANTI-INTELLECTUAL and OF COURSE only DUMB PEOPLE watch their weight or c) the fact that you don’t really care because OF COURSE you have more important things to do.
4) You cannot actually talk about weight you’ve lost unless you’ve incorporated all organic, non-processed, unrefined, whole-wheat, Omega 3s-filled, clean, raw whozeewhatits into your daily diet, I mean, LIFESTYLE, and also have figured out how to devote an hour, each day, to exercises that combine the best of kettleballs, Zumba, plyometrics, Bikram yoga and Tai Chi every blessed time you strap on your running shoes. Oh, and a heart rate monitor. DON’T FORGET YOUR HEART RATE.
Oh, I could go on.
Here’s the thing: I don’t care whatsoever about you and your body. I’m 36, I have a family, a full-time job, friends and loved ones, a mortgage, a dog, a monthly cell phone bill that rips at my soul, an upstairs bathroom that seems to exists solely to attract centipedes, to say nothing of the wiry hairs that have taken over my chin and refuse to be contained. In short, I don’t have the – excuse the phrase – bandwidth to worry about what you do or do not do to your body.
Don’t assume I judge you because you don’t work out. Or because you work out every day. Or because you’re thin. Or fat. I am absolutely over the condescension that comes with what people do or do not do with their bodies. Do I believe health is a gift? Yes. Too many people are at a disadvantage in ways immeasurable to count, so when folks disrespect their bodies it’s a shame, and, you know, weight isn’t the only fashion in which this happens. Do I think someone is a less of a person because of it? Oh God NO. What a stupid waste of time. Do I wish it was OK for me to want to lose weight and workout daily? Yes. In some circles, it seems to be OK. In others? Well, not so much.
Which brings me to my current state.
I get comments almost daily from folks about the weight I’ve lost. I don’t pretend that it was something other than being sick for nearly a month that caused it, but I also should cop to the fact that I’m also working to maintain the loss. After all, I’d been committed to losing weight and regaining my health since I got the All Clear from my doctors right after Abigail was born, and up until the stress fracture in November, I’d been steadily succeeding at my goal. It wasn’t as though I didn’t want to lose those 13 pounds, thanks. And so when my surgeon said I’d lost more than normal, and that because of the less-than-optimal circumstances in which I lost the weight, I’d likely see it all return, I left his office deciding that, oh hell no, I’m not going through that again.
It’s been a month. I’ve kept it off. And that’s without working out.
I would like to be sheepish about it all, but screw that. I love wearing some of my old favorites. It’s nice to feel less frumpy. The compliments are fine, but I much more enjoy not feeling as though my insides are being pulverized in a pair of boot cuts.
Not for nothing, I even have some pajama pants I’d forgotten about that fit again, too.
What I’ve said before is true: I truly don’t want to experience again what I did in March. It’s only this weekend where I’m able to lift my daughter again to put her to bed. It’s been awful to not be an active participant in my life, and it’s given me resolve to take seriously my health and my desire to be present for my family. I miss dairy, I do, and I miss big helpings of food, and I miss pop and coffee (though I’ve taken to reintroducing a half-cup into my mornings again) and wine every night but it’s just a choice I’m making today.
The fact that it’s also made me more pleased with how my ass looks in a pair of jeans is just a welcome and happy side effect.
I have another week before I can do anything resembling working out, which stinks. I am still have some residual soreness at my side, but as long as I’m careful about my diet and rest I seem to notice it less. I won’t be lifting any time soon, but we’ll try some walk/running. I will see the inside of a boot camp class again.
For now I am enjoying my health and my weight loss. So help me God, I really am.