I’m coming to the conclusion that I just will never love my body. No matter how far I have come or how far I will go, the fact is, my body image is ingrained in my brain as much as I know 2 plus 2 equals 4. Sadly, it’s not a good body image, and it seems in some ways it’s gotten worse since I’ve lost weight. I managed to get away with being heavy for many years. Either I was in denial, or I was just living my life and feeling happy with the way I was living it—my career, my friends, my marriage, and yes, even my sex life. I was confident, had lots of good social skills and friends, and my career was pretty good; I was complimented often on my work, promoted regularly, and given more responsibility as the years went on. I knew my husband wasn’t happy with my weight, but as I have mentioned many times, we just didn’t talk about it and I never doubted his love for me.
As the years went on, so did more weight. As my weight ballooned, I couldn’t deny any more that it was affecting my life, but I still managed to be happy even though I tried every possible diet out there—never with any success.
Interesting to note, though, that during the last 10 years of my obese days, I did not own a full-length mirror. I just realized this the other day. I guess I never wanted to see just how bad my weight really was, probably because I felt it was a hopeless cause.
Now I do own several full-length mirrors, and for the most part it’s been fine and even fun. I mean, I’ve lost 85 lbs, I’m not officially overweight, I can wear normal clothes, and I should be so proud and happy, right?
Well at the moment I’m not that happy. I was for the first couple of years. But right now, I not only don’t feel thin, I feel really fat, old, wrinkly, unattractive, and I don’t feel very good about myself in general. It’s been coming on for a few months now. For the first two years after I lost all the weight, I felt like a small person and I even felt a little bit pretty at times. I felt petite, I felt feminine and desirable. Now I just feel like crap, and the insecurities that come along with that can really mess with my mind.
My husband and I took a very fun dance course (Lindy Hop!) last weekend. There were probably about 20 people there. It was held in a rec center that is used for dance classes and there were floor-to-ceiling mirrors all along one wall so you could see how you were doing. I actually wasn’t so bad at learning the steps, but when I looked in the mirror and compared myself with all the other women in the class, all I could see was an old, flabby woman. Not someone who has worked so hard to finally be normal weight or someone who should be proud of being able to learn a new dance at 61 years of age. Even though I did love taking the lessons, looking at myself in that mirror for three hours next to all the young thin women was very humbling and a bit depressing.
I realize this is a very different post from me—if I look back on the 60 or 70 posts I have written, they have all been positive, inspirational, exciting, and sometimes sexy! All of that has been genuine and sincere, and I feel guilty complaining even now because I have a dream life. But just for tonight I am having a little pity party for myself. I go to the gym 3–5 times a week. I eat 1200 calories a day and fewer than that twice a week. I ride my bike to get around (I don’t own a car). I walk 50,000+ steps each week. I eat one-third of what anyone else eats when we have company or go out to dinner. And I can’t seem to lose one fucking pound!!
My husband is my best friend and the love of my life, but he often says the wrong things when I talk about how hard I try when it comes to my weight. When I was really heavy he never said anything, even when I managed on the rare occasion to lose 5–10 lbs and was so proud of myself and was looking for encouragement to continue. The other day I told him that I was at the gym on the rowing machine and had been rowing for about 10 minutes when a young person got on the machine next to me. We both fell into a rhythm of rowing together (same settings). After only six minutes the other person stopped and was soaking with sweat. Me? No sweat, nothing, not even a drip, and I had been rowing longer. In fact, I rarely if ever sweat. I found this fascinating, came home, and Googled “why don’t I sweat?” I learned that people who are unable to sweat have glands that don’t function properly so they don’t burn calories efficiently. Wow. That was validation that indeed, I do work at it, but my body doesn’t have functioning sweat glands. I wasn’t happy about it, but at least it made me feel like less of a failure. My husband’s comment? “The other person must have had the machine on a harder setting.” I know he didn’t say that to make me feel bad, he’d never want to hurt my feelings intentionally. But he has often made me feel like I must not be doing something right, when all I really want is some empathy that, “Yeah, you got dealt a crappy hand of cards. I know how hard you try, and I’m so proud of you for what you are doing.”
Am I perfect? Not at all. But sometimes I’m sick and tired of it all. After all I have been through, I just want to have a nice body and feel desirable, but at age 61 it’s finally hit me, it’s not going to happen. No matter how much I lose, no matter how much plastic surgery I have, I need to buck up and face the fact that a nice firm body is not in the cards for me. That ship sailed a long, long time ago. Come to think of it, that ship never came into my harbor, not ever, not even for a one tiny moment in my life.
I know, I should be so happy that I am healthy, I am at a normal weight, and I have a great life. And you know what? Since I reached my goal weight in September 2012, I have been happy and grateful 364 days a year. I am healthier and stronger now than I have been since I was in my 30s. I am more flexible; I can now sit Indian-style and I can sit on my heels with my knees bent. I can row for 30 minutes and then get on the treadmill for another 30 minutes (and not break a sweat… HAH!). I can do weights and I can ride my bike for 40–50 miles in a day. I can have a lot more fun having sex than I used to.
But at the end of the day, I take off my clothes and I still see a big stomach and flabby, wrinkly skin, and when I get some of that removed in April I will get to look at a big ugly scar for a year or two or more. And I didn’t do this to myself! If I smoked for 40 years and got lung cancer I would have a hard time denying my own responsibility. But I wasn’t a binge eater, I didn’t have an eating disorder, I didn’t sit in front of the TV every night and snack (in fact, I’ve never been a night eater!), or go to fast food places, or eat gallons of ice cream or even potato chips! I wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t horrible. And sometimes I get pissed at all the tall beautiful slender women who are eating so much more than I ever did, even when I was fat.
Sorry, but it just pisses me off and makes me sad.
Just for tonight.
I’ll be better in the morning.
Writing this helps… I know many of you can completely relate to how I feel. Thank you for listening.
Queen of Crop