I’ve been overweight for the past 13 years. Of course my weight did the obligatory yo-yoing, but I haven’t been within a healthy weight range since the Clinton administration. Literally. I never had a real weight struggle, and I thought that with time, the weight would just melt off. It didn’t. Gaining weight didn’t really have an impact on my family, social or dating life, so losing weight didn’t seem like an imperative to me. I’m not diabetic. My blood pressure is slightly below normal. My knees are a little worse for wear, but that was going to happen at 35 anyway, right?
Except, this New Year’s Eve, I spent twice as long in the mall than I should have, and spent twice as much as a thinner woman might have. And if that weren’t enough, my relationship with food is not normal. I’m from the South, arguably from a food Mecca, so a good meal borders on artistic expression. It’s how we show love and give comfort. That’s not new to me. I always enjoyed pastries and good meals. Just now, it seems to be more of a compulsion.
I want to go back. My relationship with food has to change. I’d like my relationship with food to NOT be dramatically referred to as “my relationship with food.” I think the way we gain weight is a disorder, but the obsession that this country has with losing weight is equally dysfunctional. Because it has so little to do with the actual losing of weight, and EVERYTHING to do with how the people surrounding you perceive you and how you perceive yourself.
If you look at daytime television, particularly channels geared toward women, it’s commercial after commercial for diets, “lifestyle changes,” diet products and anything else you can think of, and it’s slightly overkill. How do we find a happy medium, where food does not have to be the difference between victory or defeat? Have we gone so far, that we can’t just see how normal it is to enjoy a good meal, then stop after we have enjoyed a normal sized portion?
Year after year, I’ve come up with a plan of attack on my weight, and year after year, I’ve watched myself get larger and larger. I talk myself right into failure sometimes. “Well, I want to be smaller, but not AS small as I was.” It leads to me not pushing myself, and falling deeper into this dysfunctional relationship I have with my dinner plate.
So I’m trying a new strategy, where I begin to incorporate meals as normal parts of my day, rather than the parts of my day that I live for, then regret 20 minutes later. I’m also exploring what activities I should take up that I can enjoy without relying on the gym. When I was younger, though I did spend time at the gym, I also had a lot of activities that didn’t involve going to the gym at all. Simply put, I want my life back. And I’m gonna get it too.