Body By Taco Bell
When I was a kid, my nickname was "Bony Butt". I weighed only 65 pounds from fifth through eighth grade. I was in gymnastics and my whole family (a lovely rotund group of people) marvelled at where I got my metabolism. Then I hit high school and started going out on weekends to the movies (popcorn and soda), to the local drive-in theater (hot dogs and those awesome, delicious big pickles) and our town's cruising parking lot, Taco Bell (of course we had to go in for burritos!). By the time I graduated I weighed 160 pounds. Not obese by a long shot, but believe me, no one called me "Bony Butt" anymore.
Then I met my husband. A wonderful man, he loved me just the way I was. He didn't think I was fat; I was "voluptuous, curvy and sexy". I could live with that! Right after our first anniversary, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces, which completely explained the 45 pounds that I gained. I mean, I was eating Snicker Blizzards for two, right? But it was after having my daughter and seeing pictures of my family and I at Christmas that I decided I was going to go on my first diet.
Feel the Burn? I Think Not!
I had taken off some of the pregnancy weight when I decided to try Weight Watchers. Several of my family members had success with the program, and a woman I worked with had lost 100 pounds and kept it off for five years! I didn't have nearly that much to lose, but I knew that taking about 40 pounds off would make me look so much better.
I attended my first meeting with some trepidation. I was afraid they were going to weigh me in front of everyone and scream to the crowd "175! We've got 175 here people!!" But that didn't happen. They were a very nice group of people of all shapes and sizes. I wasn't the only newcomer that day, and those of us were made to feel very comfortable by the rest of the group.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the group leader say "EXERCISE IS THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS". She may as well have said "WE SACRIFICE KITTENS AND SMALL CHILDREN HERE EVERY SATURDAY". BLASPHEMER!! Exercise?? Me??? Noooo. I didn't do that. First of all, sweating is for longshoremen and prostitutes who stumble into churches. I was neither, therefore, no sweat. Secondly, I was far too busy chasing a toddler. Wasn't that all the exercise I needed? Needless to say, I lost ten pounds and bid adieu to Weight Watchers with nary a dumbbell lifted. I celebrated my swan dive off the wagon by going to the Chinese buffet and going to town. It's healthy, right? All those veggies? Not that there are any veggies in crab rangoon, egg drop soup or sweet and sour pork; all my faves. But still, just by being there I was healthy by osmosis. Wasn't I?
Round IS a Shape!
That foray to Weight Watchers was my first of many attempts at weight loss. I tried TOPS, Curves, Atkins, Sugar Busters, South Beach, the grapefruit, veggie soup and wet, microwaved socks diet. You name it, I tried it. I put a rubber band on my wrist and snapped it when I was opening the refrigerator. All I got was a bruise on my arm and a weird aversion to evil rubber products. I tried cleansing fasts, colon cleanses (nothing like a roto-rootered colon to start your day off right!) and vegetarian diets. (Speaking of vegetarians, I have nothing against them. I just love when they say "You know what they do to cows, right?" and I say "No, but it's delicious!!")
Nothing, nothing was lost except my sense of self-worth. My husband (a naturally thin guy who runs marathons, jogs, bikes and plays pick-up hockey twice a week; oh, and he's in the Army too, and still looks damn good in his uniform!) continued to berate my attempts to lose weight. "But there's nothing wrong with you! You look beautiful! I love you at that size! You're driving me crazy with this obsession and I WANT TO EAT REAL FOOD AGAIN!!!" I was driving my whole family nuts with a quest that I wasn't going to give up on.
I finally went to my doctor and talked to him. He said "Yes, you could probably lose a few pounds. However, you're healthy. You have great blood pressure, your blood sugar level is perfect, no cholesterol issues and frankly, I don't see why you are so worried about this. You do NOT need to lose this weight for your health". It made me realize how crazy I had been all these years.
Jumping My Chunky Butt Off the Merry-Go-Round
It was only a couple of years ago that I had that conversation with my doctor, and I am so thankful that I did. My family and I love to travel, and we've been several places the last couple of years that, had I still been a dieting freak, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy nearly as much. On our last trip to Savannah, Georgia (a GREAT foodie city!) we ate at some of the most wonderful restaurants, and I drank sugary sweet tea with abandon. I walked every bit of it off there, as well, but that's not even in the forefront of my mind anymore.
Sure, some days I still wake up and think "I'd love to wear a mini-skirt again" but then I realize that I'm 42 years old and that would probably make me look ridiculous anyway. I have started celebrating my body for the healthy temple that it is, and I've stopped despairing of wearing sleeveless shirts while hailing taxis or doing the "fist pump" at rock concerts. I stopped dieting and gained a life! Yes, I do exercise now. Walking is the best and frankly, it's a good excuse to get out of the house and away from two bickering pre-teens every day. Plus my dog keeps me motivated and I even run a little when he decides to chase squirrels (and the swearing I'm doing at him probably burns extra calories!)
When I put my life in perspective and realized that I was wasting my time wishing for a size I would NEVER be again, I started doing things that I'd stopped doing. Riding roller coasters, going to the pool with my kids and sliding down the water slide, actually EATING at buffets without worrying what everyone thought about the chubby woman with the full plate! It's been so liberating. And as I love to tell people, I've got a fantastic body, you just can't see it for the fat!