07/22/2013 12:35 pm ET Updated Sep 21, 2013

I'm Not Fat But My Clothes Are Tight

Jennifer Cullen

I'm fat.

OK, so I'm not fat, but I'm heavier now, by almost 10 pounds, than I was a year ago. And I liked my weight a year ago. Really liked it.

But now my clothes are tight.

And I know what has happened.

I can't blame the gain on my 47-year-old metabolism, though I would like to. Or on some sort of thyroid disorder, since I had my blood work done recently and it was perfect. Even my cholesterol.

No, I've gained weight because over the last 12 months, I've eaten too much and exercised too little.

I was forced to face this reality yesterday when I went shopping with my 14-year-old daughter. I wanted a new little casual dress for a few events I have coming up. There were tons of dresses to choose from at our local mall. And I tried on a dozen or so. But every one that I tried on made me look round. Like a pumpkin.

And I don't like pumpkins.

To make matters worse, I had to be super-aware of what I said to my daughter about how I thought I looked. I didn't want to say "I'm fat," or "I look fat," because I know that my attitude towards my body affects her own image.

She's at an age where her body image is changing because her body is changing. She's already had to deal with negative statements about her body, but her issues are the opposite of mine. She's a petite thing and a friend or two of hers has told her she looks too thin, and that upsets her.

At the last store we went to, my kid picked out a dress for me to try on. Stripes. And I assumed I'd look like a jailbird. But when I looked in the mirror, I saw that the dress looked surprisingly flattering on me. And it was on sale to boot.


I walked out of the store with a new dress and with the thought that yes, it's time to make a change.

But not quite yet.

You see, I have a little traveling to do first. Food and drink are going to be highlights of this trip. They always are. But so are long walks exploring a new city and hiking in the mountains. Hubs and I have also agreed to make use of the hotel gym. My goal is to retain my weight status quo while I'm gone.

I'm not going to let a few, or 10, pounds put a damper on this amazing experience.

But when I get back, I'm going to make a few changes. I have to. I don't want to buy all new clothes. And I want to feel really good about my body again because that feeling permeates every aspect of my life. As a woman, a wife and especially as the mother of a teenage girl.

I'm thinking about documenting it online because that will keep me honest. We'll see. Either way, by Halloween, I'll be a pumpkin no more.

Because I really hate pumpkins. But I love my new dress.