I hate talking about my weight. The reasons why may surprise you, but mostly it’s because—as with my age—I don’t lie about it. If you ask, I will tell. I’m not ashamed of my weight, even though it’s massive. I am who and what I am, and I gave up filtering when I gave up my husband. That was 40 pounds ago (it turns out that losing a lot of weight for a narcissistic borderline sociopath will not, in fact, make him happy even if he claims it will!).
I have to admit I’m very fortunate in the genetic department. This is largely (pun intended) due to my mother. We have two rather amazing characteristics in the lineage:
- We don’t age.
- We hold our weight so well that we typically look 50 pounds lighter than we actually are.
No, that’s not a typo. It’s five-zero: fifty. Which is why I would rather not tell people my weight before they see me in person. Even a photo won’t do me justice: Digital cameras play havoc with proportions. If you doubt that, take a picture of yourself, and then take a picture of yourself with your arm/hand extended. You will instantly drop 10 pounds, but your hand will appear to be that of a giant’s. I learned this trick after always being the fattest person in the photograph. I started posing my kids in front of me—as opposed to beside me—and I could bear looking at myself (I photograph horribly, especially since the demise of film).
So, with that acknowledgement of lucky genes given, I have to say that I truly do not understand why women (it’s typically a female characteristic) lie about their age and/or weight. First off, these things are generally easy enough to figure out. Secondly, it’s just begging for snide comments (maybe not to your face, but definitely behind your back: “If she’s 29, I’m 12!” and so forth).
I could easily go around telling everyone I’m 38 (I’ve upped that from 36, btw). Most people would believe it (I’m just now getting a bit of a crease in between my eyebrows; it looks less like a wrinkle and more like stress). Instead, when people ask my age, I tell them: 46. Invariably I get looks of skepticism and expressions of doubt, which—of course—are highly complimentary because people doubting you are as old as you are means you look much younger than you are. I am only reluctant to give my age in an online dating situation (I used to say “early 40s”; I guess now I need to up it to “mid-40s”) because far too many people lie about it. Despite having a recent photo of myself on my online profile, the natural tendency is to think, “That picture must be old, because you don’t look 45 in it.”
Which brings me to my weight. I have gotten horribly sloppy. For me, weight is not a number or a size. I was always heavier than my peers growing up, which was in part why I ended up with an eating disorder in my teens. I no longer mind being 50 pounds heavier than many will guess my weight to be. However, I do balk at how I look in photographs of late. I need to shape up and slim down… not because society tells me I’m fat (I don’t give a shit; my size hasn’t gotten in the way of my love life, let’s just say), but because it’s not healthy. I don’t feel good.
My problem is three-fold:
- I loathe and abhor exercise. When I was in college (and that was, in fact, 50 pounds ago), my roommate told me I was the only person she ever knew that looked worse after a workout than before. I don’t get that endorphin buzz either. Even when I was in amazing shape at times in my life, I never felt good while exercising; I felt good about looking better and being stronger.
- I work in craft beer… and I like it. I drink way too much beer, and with so many new craft brews coming on line, it’s tough to forgo, both in terms of professionalism and recreation.
- I eat too much. Happily, I eat good food, so I don’t have to get rid of much “bad” stuff. Other than pasta and cheese, I don’t have any demons lurking in my diet; I just eat portions that are too large for my daily calorie burning (see #1).
If I were to break down how much each of these contributes to my current state of “unhealth,” I’d say 70 percent of my problem is a lack of exercise (hey, even Tina Fey was fat when she was a full time writer!); 25 percent is my beer imbibing; only 5 percent is portion control/food choice.
When I decided to write this post, I wanted to make it “private” with the intention that if I lose some weight, I will publish the posts so that my readers can see the before (ew, gross!) and after (yay me!) shots. However, another one of the reasons why I struggle to exercise is that I have no one to exercise with. Studies have long shown that people with partners in a weight loss program, tend to keep up with their regime.
And then, late last week my alma matter (well, one of them; I have three degrees from two different institutions) sent me the monthly newsletter that included findings from a study that shows people who use Twitter to post updates about their weight loss/exercise efforts were more likely to lose the weight. I can understand why this is: It’s having a community to whom you are responsible. Just like having an exercise partner means you’re less likely to skip your workout, knowing @puckbunny54321 (no, that Twitter handle does not currently exist) is checking in on you means you’re accountable to someone other than yourself. Sometimes we all need that extra little nudge to take better care of ourselves.
I’ve lost weight on my own (in fact, the illustration above was not about “keeping” my husband happy; it was about keeping myself sane as my marriage deteriorated), but I need some nudging. So, rather than make this post private, I’m putting my big fat ass up there for all y’all to see. I want to lose 40 pounds, but I would be happy to lose 20+.
I am 46, afterall. I’ve lived long enough to look a little plump through the middle.