Guess what? I’ve achieved my ideal weight! I’m sure if you know what I look like, you’re going to say, “What?” And I’m not going to tell you what it is... not because I’m embarrassed, but because it’s not really a number. It’s a state of mind.
My weight and I have had a rocky relationship since... well, since I was nine and noticed that my gut stuck out. At that point, it was probably just the way a girlish tummy is shaped, but I, who had a mom who looked like Jackie O, thought it was a situation that needed fixing. So... I spent my teen years dieting, then my twenties as a weird-looking, tortured anorexic, and a great deal of my thirties as a person who just really watched what she ate. I ate low fat, no fat, high protein ... and I exercised. Like crazy.
Anorexia is sort of a superpower... and not a good one. It gives you SUPER willpower, so that no matter what logic is presented to you, you will follow your diet. It keeps a body running on little to no food, and if you really work the superpower, you can also function – hold a job and maintain relationships (although I won’t say they’ll be that good.) You can do your work, interact with people, and count calories and calculate energy burned – all at the same time.
Of course, people know that something is wrong with you because, well, you look, in the words of Bridget Jones, like a stick insect. Also because you don’t eat and always have to run home and exercise. I don’t think they know the extent of it, though. They don’t know your mind is constantly counting and calculating... and when it’s not doing that, it’s beating you up with a giant, spiky guilt and fear club.
Finally, though, I lost my superpower... and my body won out. I think it was so tired and so hungry that I just began to eat. And eat. My body had missed a lot of meals! I struggled for a while to recommit myself to my diet, with no result... Fortunately for me, that crazy period ended after a short time – because I actually let myself eat and rest.
For that time, I am extremely thankful for my friend Grace who taught me how to love food – and that there was nothing to fear... and my husband, Tom, who has known me at all sizes and loved me at each and every one of them.
And I don’t remember when it was, but I do remember having this moment of clarity at one point: When I am able to just live in freedom – eating what I like and exercising a reasonable amount... without worrying or thinking about food or exercise beyond what is needed... whatever I weigh at that time – THAT will be my ideal weight.
And I’m here! I grocery shop, plan meals, enjoy eating out and trying new foods... but I really don’t EVER think about it beyond what I need to do my job as the primary meal maker in the home. And I exercise a reasonable amount, but nothing too strenuous or excessive.
So... celebrate with me! Pot luck at my house! Bring something delicious and fattening!