Let’s start with kindergarten. I weigh roughly sixty pounds, through no fault of my parents, or even myself at this point. My body just happens to weigh sixty pounds. I don’t have snacks between meals because my mother is a diabetic and she is terrified I will be, too. I don’t eat junk food, save “sugar cereal” during Saturday morning cartoons. Yet, I weighed sixty pounds.
And so, never in my youth was I not on some kind of diet.
There was Atkins, and South Beach, and general food withholding, which was the worst. I believe now, as an adult who makes her own meals, that if I were allowed to eat differently, I would have at least maintained my weight as I do now. I am a grazer. I’ll eat one big meal a day, but I prefer small meals throughout the day, which is exactly the kind of way someone with gastroparesis is supposed to eat, so it works out. As a kid, however, it was three meals a day, small ones, and snacking (especially on junk food) was frowned upon. My mother would hide a box of cookies rather than let me eat them, and this would only cause my rebellious and hungry self to steal the cookies, because half a sandwich does not a lunch make, Mother.
(Sidebar: I love my mother. She did the best she could with what she had and as an adult I understand everything she tried to do. I think if she hadn’t been diabetic she would have been a little more chill, though. Like, gum with sugar in it wasn’t going to turn me, Ma.)
When I was twelve my mother took me to Weight Watchers and as I observed several overweight middle-aged women talk about their problems I realized that it would be easier to kill myself then lose the weight. That was my first suicidal thought. We left there and I never let her take me back.
In high school, I started the different fad diets, going particularly hard with Atkins and losing a bunch of weight but also messing up my entire digestive system in the process. I developed diabetes. I was sixteen, and it was Type 2, which is different than my mothers. So, in the end there was sort of an “I told you so” on both sides
I had a friend who was also always on a diet, and we bonded some over that. She was trying a few different fads like I was, as well as a supplement plan that I was considering but also kind of waiting to see how it worked out for her. Recently she posted a photo on Facebook, and she must be at least fifty pounds less than she was in high school. I am so proud of her, I know how hard she must have worked and hope that she is proud of herself. In fact, a lot of my friends are going through body transformations. One just got a personal trainer and tried clean eating. Another lost like half her body weight and could probably bench-press me. These women are amazing to me.
See, I plateaued my weight in my 20s, and I have maintained it. This isn’t so bad, in that lots of people gain weight as they age, but I have stayed within the same ten-pound range since 2005. However, I don’t lose weight easily. I would love to lose 30 pounds. If I lost 30 pounds I would weigh what I did in eighth grade, when I was certainly a chubster but also not as tall as I am now. I would still be overweight but I wouldn’t mind because the truth is, I don’t care that I’m fat.
A lot of people do not understand that. I mean I know I’m overweight, I know it affects my health, but I also know that I don’t look down on myself because of my weight anymore. I have a ridiculously high level of self esteem for someone who was once a four-eyed fatty with emotional problems. I do not care about other people’s opinions of my body. If they like to share those opinions, I respond with my opinion about their body. It’s not nice, but neither were they. Fortunately, adults don’t tend to make these comments to your face the way kids do, so I’m insulting a lot less people these days.
I write all this because I am going on my first “diet” in maybe ten years. I am combining a high-protein, low-fat diet with intermittent fasting and, god willing, I will also be frequenting the gym because I fell off that bad boy, hard. I don’t think I would have had the courage to try this a few months ago, but I quit smoking so I guess I’m feeling invincible at the moment. I can do anything. So let’s try this.
I’m going to take the same approach as I took to quitting smoking. If I slip up, that’s cool, just pick yourself up and keep it going. Don’t give in to your one misstep and let it consume you, that’s probably the best advice I can give anyone. Right now, I am counting down to noon so I can eat some eggs and toast. I’m trying to decide if I feel well enough to go to the gym. I’m considering what to make for dinner that will be low-fat but also please Mark. I’m wondering if I can do this.
I kind of think I can.