At 48, my weight creeps up quickly. Two years ago, I wrote a piece called, " Am I Really Fat?" which went viral, I believe, because I discovered, despite my intense self-criticism, that I was a completely healthy weight for a woman my age.
It's been a cosmic shift for me to feel that 140 lbs. at 5' 6" is not just a healthy weight, but an attractive weight. I spent my young adult life weighing about 120 lbs. I could eat whatever I wanted and that weight just felt normal to me. So, shifting to 20 lbs. up felt sinful. But writing the post and taking the subsequent TASTEFUL nude photos at age 46 helped me accept my now-mature woman's body.
I was at peace. Until I stepped on a doctor's scale a few weeks ago and was told I weighed 147 lbs. What the what? OK, I was wearing my clothes, but my shoes were off. What did this weight MEAN? Did it mean I was now on an ever-upward spiral that would end on "The Biggest Loser"?
I stood naked in my bathroom and perused my body from every angle. Maybe I was crazy, but it looked pretty much the same as it had for the last five years. I couldn't really locate the extra seven pounds. I could find them when I tried to button my pants, but naked, well, I still looked pretty good to myself.
Then, I stood in front of Henry naked. "I've gained seven pounds," I said in a funereal tone.
Recognizing he was not in sensual, but rather dangerous waters, he replied, "I don't see them," with the flat affect of a person who recognizes the hitchhiker he just picked up is deranged and carrying a shiv.
"I don't see the seven pounds either," I said, "but apparently, they're there."
"How dare they?"
"They're sneaky little asshats."
"Maybe I do see them. They've gone to your breasts. And maybe your inner thighs, which is good because you were too bony there and I was always getting bruises when we had relations."
"When you say 'relations' it makes me never want to have sex with you again."
"I'm a recovering Catholic. The seven pounds is hot."
"I love you even if you almost have no hair."
"I love you even if you have too much hair. And a slight mustache."
Me with the extra seven pounds. If I'm not transparent enough, this is me fishing for compliments. Because I'm needy that way.
My friends busting my balls.
Even with my husband's approval and my own favorable impression of my naked body, I decided to lose those seven pounds. I had to close the floodgates somewhere and 140 was my Little Big Horn.
I got the MyFitnessPal app (this isn't a sponsored post) because it's free and I began logging everything I ate. I was startled to discover that I eat enough food to fuel the entire USC defensive line. Part of the problem is the wine. Not that it's so many calories, but after a glass I feel impervious to weight gain, so I eat brownies followed by kugel, which, if you haven't had it because you're a shiksa, you should think again.
My daughters noticed me documenting all of my food, which worried me, because I don't want them doing the same thing and die from starvation. Yes. I go right there into the deep dark pit of hell. It's the Irish in me.
MyFitnessPal told me I needed to eat only 1,290 calories a day in order to drop the weight. 1,290 calories is basically a stick of cheese, a spoonful of peanut butter and air. I didn't meet my calorie goal for EVEN ONE DAY since I started my quest to reclaim 140. Not. One. Day.
So, I cheated and decided to try to eat less than 2,000 calories a day. That just seemed like a more sane approach. And then I ran across the most amazing article in HuffPost. Iris Higgins' An Open Apology To My Weight Loss Clients.
In it, she specifically apologizes for putting women who were a perfectly healthy weight on a 1,200-calories-a day-meal plan. Her conclusion was that anything between 1,200-1,500 calories a day is potentially damaging to a woman's health!
This was a relief to me. I'm glad I've started tracking my food intake. I've been eating somewhat mindlessly. And also simply out of boredom in the late hours of the evening after spending a day working, picking up and driving children hither and yon and loading and unloading the dishwasher 5,623 times.
I will continue keeping track for a few more months so I can know what it feels like to be satiated and not overly full. So I will be aware of food before I've already put it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed. I want to eat mindfully, healthfully and in a way where I respect my body.
But my ultimate -- and elusive -- final goal is to simply love and appreciate my body in all its incarnations. I'm a work in progress, but in writing about it I've found I'm not alone. That many of us grapple with loving our bodies and living in them fully regardless of their form.
I'd love to hear all the ways you love your body. This earthly vessel. So I can steal what works for you.
Follow Shannon Bradley-Colleary on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShannonColleary