Saturday, August 27, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Weighty Issues 

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to do something about all the weight I had gained due to a combination of bad diet, sedentary lifestyle, anti-depressants and an ill-informed birth control choice. I would say that I probably put on 15lbs because of lifestyle choices and 50lbs because of and/or/both medications. Add that to the 15lbs I was already overweight, and I had to do something pronto. I'm not the kind of person who is overtly aware of her body. Plus, all this weight gain happened in a scant year and a half.

Not typically aware of own body + it happened really, really fast = me not noticing the weight gain until I was probably about 50-60lbs in.

Working out to lose 80lbs is completely out of the question. For one thing, a person needs to burn 3500 calories to burn 1lb of fat (average workout burns 200-300 calories). For another, I could never be a gym rat. I don't like sweating, I don't get the endorphin rush (and it's been scientifically proven that not everybody gets that rush) and most of all, I hate working out in a place where most people are half my size in perfectly coordinated nike-sweatwick outfits. Granted I have a membership at Curves where the women are normal but each 30 minute workout only burns 140+ calories. It just wasn't going to happen quickly enough for me. Forms of physical activity that I enjoy include swimming and cycling. Those activities are incredibly difficult to enjoy when you're overweight.

So I'm on a diet. Doctor supervised and incredibly strict, I'm losing 0.75-1lb/day for an average of 20lbs a month. Perhaps more. I've already lost 14lbs. I'm already drawing up lifestyle plans for maintaining my goal weight once I reach it. It's rather exciting, even though I haven't personally noticed any difference the people around me have started commenting on it. Which brings me to the real point of this entry: My family is obsessed with weight. Well, really more like my mom and her parents.

Initially I didn't want to let them know I was on a diet but when they started noticing they pestered me hard enough that I spilt the beans. Now that's all my mother, grandmother and grandad will talk about. I even suspect that my mother is trying to sabotage my efforts, although I have no concrete proof. She is making bitchy asides about it, but then again, there isn't much she doesn't make bitchy asides about. Heck, it's one of the main reasons I moved out. In fact, today I had a 30 minute conversation with my grandma (I often have conversations that long with her) solely about how I would look after I had lost all that weight. It's the first thing they ask of me after the standard "Have you eaten?" greeting. The standard conversation now is:

"Have you eaten?"

"How much weight have you lost now?"

"You know I'm so glad you're on this diet. You are going to look so pretty..."

Can you say "eating disorder"? Not to mention my grandma now peppers me with questions on whether she has to lose weight, and if so, what the best way to do it is. Good grief.

I've grown up being told that I am fat. Even that period starting from the year or two before I moved to Canada when I really wasn't fat (I was looking at old photographs the other day...). I also grew up being told that a fat person was deplorable. You can imagine that I didn't have a very positive body image. Compound that with the fact that my mother had weight issues of her own and I have a 4 in 5 chance of being an obese adult. Well, that's what I am right now, but that's going to change.

Along with my diet, I'm also taking concrete steps to be more in tune with my body. I try not to eat until I'm hungry and eat slowly so I know exactly when I'm full. I've long since not been able to accurately ID those feelings in myself. Thanks to Jim, I've abandoned the idea that self-worth is in any way tied up with a number on the scale. Now I have to learn that this is true in all my relationships, not just with Jim. I'm going to take yoga lessons in the new year (and of course I'm going to keep up with my Curves workouts) because one of the core tenets in yoga is to listen to your body. First and foremost I'm going to understand the relationship between what I eat and what I am. (Also, I'm going to rigorously research any medications I take in the future.)

I refuse to be that 4 in 5. I may have been prey to my upbringing and circumstance so far, but not anymore. That's what turning 21 is all about isn't it? Establishing oneself as separate and in control. It's so liberating to, for the first time in my life, see myself accurately in a mirror and take steps to influence that reflection.

posted by Joie! at 8:11 p.m.


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