This is the weight I was this morning. Last Wednesday I was 129.3. The week before that it was 133.2. For the last 5 years I have gone up and down between 128 and 135, struggling for that illusive 125 pound mark I had randomly decided was my goal.
Ten years ago, I weighed 150 pounds. 150 pounds is at the high end recommended for my frame, but not even remotely “morbidly obese” (which is what I told myself I was). At that time, I was going through some major life stresses that I had no control over. So, I latched on to the one thing I could control, and that was my weight. I dropped 15 pounds and have remained there, more or less, ever since.
Truth is, my entire life I’ve thought I was fat. I graduated high school at 100 pounds. I thought I was fat. Two months after I gave birth to my daughter, I weighed 115 pounds and everyone was telling me I was too thin. “Too thin?” Well, what a nice thing to say! When I was 28, I was delighted to see my weight in the 90s, and thought the aerobics were really paying off. Turns out, I had an undiagnosed cancer, but that is another blog.
I used to have this motto “You can never be too rich, too thin or have too many pairs of black shoes.” I said it often in my late 20s and early 30s and thought it was very cool. Now, in my 50s I think, “what a stupid motto.”
I have been a part of a private weight loss group for about five years. There were originally six women in our 50s, but two dropped out quickly with obviously better things to do than worry about their weight. The remaining four of us have carried on. We have weighed in once a week, offering a picture of the scale as proof of our progress or failure. Up and down, up and down. I’m certain that all of us weigh about the same as we did when we started. What has this given us, aside from stress, disappointment, and poor self-esteem? Absolutely nothing, but the realization that we all struggle with stress, disappointment and poor self-esteem. The four of us have had two or more children and have gone through most of life’s big stressors (marriage, divorce, moving, loss of parents or children). All four of us are great women, with generosity and grace to spare for others, but none for ourselves.
Since I turned 45, I’ve looked at my body, the way it sags and bulges from effects of childbirth, menopause and age, with disgust. Yes, disgust. This spring, I was determined to get this body in bathing suit shape by June. I even checked into pricing on tummy tucks and Cool Sculpting. The truth is, I never wear a bathing suit and it has less to do with the way I look in one, and more to do with the lack of opportunity. I probably wear a bathing suit on average 5 days a year. Last year, I wore a bathing suit exactly zero days. The same is true so far for this year. So, struggling to get myself into “bathing suit condition” makes as much sense as practicing my Oscar acceptance speech.
At the start of our last session, one of the women in my group asked me why I wanted to lose more weight, she said she would give her “right tit” to weigh what I do. My honest response? “I want to look good naked.” But there is exactly one person in the entire world who sees me naked. We met 7 years ago, so he has only seen this body in its post-perkiness state. He has never once told me to go put some clothes on. If the love of my life thinks I look fine, who am I to argue?
This morning I stepped on the scale and my weight had gone back up a few pounds. I was surprised to realize how much I did not care. I did NOT care.
My doctor told me that at 55 years old, 5’ 4 inches tall, with medium bone structure, 135 pounds is actually quite perfect. She mentioned if I were to work on anything it should be upper body muscle to stave off the dowager’s hump. Avoiding dowager’s hump is enough to get me moving in the right direction, much more than getting into a bikini (which I never in my life wore, anyway).
Honestly, at my age, after two babies and myriad health issues, I feel the need to thank this body for getting me here. I also want to apologize to it for not recognizing that it and I are beyond swimsuit season. We are now at respect season. To respect and honor this body that has carried me through this life is now my focus. I will fill it with nutrients and the occasional treat. I will not starve it. I will move the muscles required to keep my joints healthy and my bones strong. If I am to ask this body to take me into the next twenty years, I need to reset my brain. I can paint the house and put up new curtains, but if the foundation is rotted, the house will fall.
Today is the last day I will weigh myself.