I'm working really hard on not being hard on myself--especially here at the holiday season. But I've gotten fat.
In 2006 when my mother died, I weighed exactly what I weigh now - let's just say in the low 200s. Because of a long-running bout of strange illnesses and health events, I decided to listen to my doctor and take matters into my own hands. I went on Medifast and, over time, lost 60 pounds. I even got to that point at which I looked a little too gaunt, bringing back memories of bad days in high school, when I was anorexic. Honestly, that's what makes losing weight a little scary for me. It becomes an obsession.
My cardiologist wanted me to get under 140. My primary care doctor said, "No. That's too low for your age and health." I agreed with him. I gained back about 10 pounds and kept it there. Because I did a lot of work around the farm when I was living with my ex in NC, the weight stayed off, even when I didn't exactly eat right. It wasn't too hard to keep the weight off, really. I was so incredibly destroyed by the death of my daughter that I spent many days praying for my own death. I know I was impossible to live with. I wanted to go back to MD to be with my son, and in the end, that's exactly what I did. He was my reason for living. I needed that constant reminder.
Then he moved to Raleigh and put on a great deal of weight himself. I was in MD - alone again - and I rarely ate a decent meal. I was hollow inside. Never had an appetite.
When I met Margaret, I don't think I had smiled - really smiled - since April 3, 2009. She made me smile, and laugh! She became my best friend, and I had a huge crush on her but she was with someone else. I hung back. I had had another failed relationship, so I figured it was just better for me to be alone.
But I was falling in love. HARD.
When Margaret and her girlfriend split up, I waited for exactly a month. Then I sent her a message saying that if she ever watned to start dating again, I hoped she would consider going out to at least get a coffee with me. She was shocked, and for awhile, she tried to tell me all the reasons why she didn't deserve me, or why I deserved better.
In the end, of course, she finally went out with me. And the rest is history. We are now married (almost 3 months now) and living happily together. We enjoy having healthy dinners together, sharing some ice cream, snacking on popcorn during a movie. We don't count the calories; we just enjoy ourselves.
Both of us have put on weight and have had to get bigger pants. She often says that she'd rather be fat and happy than skinny and unhappy. Whenever she's been thin in her adult life, it's during periods of extreme stress. For me, though, this is a little more complicated. Some days I feel fatter than others. I am disappointed in myself when I look in the mirror, that I am no longer fitting into my nice size 12 Levis. In fact, Levis doesn't make my size at all now.
But I am happy with her. I don't mind her size. I love her. I want to love me, too. I have lots of friends who are bigger than I am, and I don't judge them. Why do I judge me?
I've picked up several books on the subject and have read blogs by women in the fat acceptance movement. Margaret is fond of telling me I'm only a little overweight - not fat - but I usually dread getting dressed. Have I grown out of this? Do I need a bigger shirt? Do I have ANY sweaters that fit me anymore?
I'm trying to love me. My mother and grandmothers went through a period during menopause in which they got fat and had to let out the seams in their dresses. I remember my mother and her mother picking on each other. Mom said, "Mama, you've gotten big!" Granny said, "No I haven't." She smoothed her hand down the rather flat front of her dress. "Well, it's all sticking out in the back," my mom said, smacking her on the butt!
I know I'm in full-blown menopause, because every night, I could get up two or three times a night and change clothes (though usually I just throw off the covers and lay under the fan). I am probably ballooning up like my fore-mothers did.
I could fight it and fight myself and be miserable, or I could choose to be okay with myself.
I'm a work in progress.
Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate. I hope you enjoy some good food and don't beat yourself up for it. It only comes around once a year, and then we're plunged into the dead of winter. Get some cookies while they last.