At least half of the time, I wake up in the morning and feel as though I probably gained five pounds overnight. It could be because it was a Monday and I had just completed a weekend of baseball field snacking, movie munching and Saturday night dinner out, or it could just be a random Thursday feeling bloated, or maybe that my nightly sundae had gone off the deep end of the bowl.
Whatever the case, it genuinely amazes me when I do get on that scale and it informs me I am basically the same weight, which these days is a solid five pounds under my skinny weight.
It's a weight I haven't maintained for any period of time since my crazy mid-twenties, when I ate zero fat and skipped happy hours and dinners with friends for gym class. Even then I could barely pull it off, which is why I'm so amazed that after some months on Weight Watchers and some months after, I am still living the skinny jean dream.
I really thought that losing this amount of weight would liberate me. "That's great," my friend said, "Now you've got a nice cushion." I totally agreed, thinking I could loosen the restraints a bit. I was already imagining the enormous ice cream I could eat later.
But it's a lie!
There is no relaxing when it comes to weight management. Now at my thinnest point in decades, I still feel the weight anxiety almost every day. Who am I kidding? It's every day. Am I eating too much? Can I maintain this? The funny thing is that I was happy with my weight being five pounds heavier. I was actually still OK 10 pounds heavier. But now that I'm low, I have a hard time seeing myself -- or that number on the scale -- going up. So while my pants size is down, my general anxiety over my weight has not decreased at all. I feel no cushion. And I'm still having fat days.
I was talking with a friend the other day about the craziness of it. She is trim and exceedingly fit, but still tells me she can't relax. She feels she must exercise every chance she gets and she's got to work it hard. She knows her body needs days off; that it's literally aching for them, but her brain won't let her. If you do, you'll get fat, it says. Trust me, she's far from the only friend caught up in this cycle.
So when does this madness end? At 120 pounds? 110? What is the magic number?
The answer is... There is no magic number. It ends when we decide it ends.
I'm finally realizing that my body issues are not necessarily with my body, but with my brain. OK, stop laughing people who know me. Physically, I eat healthy and exercise regularly. It's obviously the mental aspect that needs work because it's become pretty apparent that self-image really is in your head.
So, I'm making a point to appreciate what I've got; to lighten up a bit mentally and indulge a bit more. I work hard to keep myself thin, so I'm also going to give myself the pleasure of enjoying my body.
And my ice cream.
This essay and others like can be found on my blog at Ice Scream Mama