I used to be so thin that the cafeteria ladies gave me extra large helpings of food on those rare days when I had money to purchase lunch. I had a difficult time finding clothes that would fit without looking baggy. When I married I was five feet six and a half inches tall and weighed eighty-eight pounds soaking wet. I had to alter the wedding dress that I found to keep it from looking like it was hanging on a coat hanger. I was able to eat as much as I wanted and never gain a pound, but I often wondered if anybody thought I might have an eating disorder because I was able to keep pace with an athlete when it came to chowing down.
Even after I had two children I only weighed one hundred ten pounds and stayed that way for years without dieting or doing a great deal of exercise. I enjoyed being able to eat to my heart’s content without worrying about calories. People whose girth slowly increased over time often told me that they were jealous that I had no need to worry about what or how much I ate. it was actually quite wonderful, and I usually gave away unstylish clothing that I wore for years before it began to look too dated to use any longer.
When I turned forty years old all of that changed. Suddenly I only had to look at food or think about it to gain a pound here and a pound there. I began doing pilates at home and carefully portioning what I consumed. Nothing worked. it did not even seem to matter whether I worked hard to count calories and eat tons of vegetables instead of carbs and fat. I continued to grow heavier, adding weight a little bit each year. It was terrifying.
I joined a gym and worked out five to seven times a week. I walked all over my neighborhood. I tossed out anything that had salt or sugar or any other fattening ingredients. I drank water like I had just returned from a trek across the desert. Still I gained pound after pound. In addition I began to shrink, which made my situation even worse. Over time I lost my reputation as a tall girl by losing two and a half inches of height. My once long waist became short and fat popped out in my mid-section. I became obsessed with returning to my former svelte glory.
I invested in healthy eating cookbooks and magazines. I controlled my portions and pushed deserts away. I followed all of the rules of multiple weight loss programs with very little progress. Sometimes I would actually go down five or six pounds only to regain it almost overnight. My feet and ankles would swell and on those days and I would be four pounds up. With water and a bit of elevating of my feet I would be back down overnight, and so the yo-yo went.
I’ve been in a larger size than I care to admit for about ten years. The good news is that I seem to be in a stable place, but I would still love to lose a bit each year until I reach a more comfortable point. It does not seem too much to ask given that I really don’t over eat anymore and haven’t for at least a decade. I make sure to drink the right amount of water each day and to include green vegetables and healthy fruit in my diet. I’m not a great fan of meat and I don’t like to consume a lot of bread so by any standards I am being good.
My mother thought I worried too much about returning to my former thin self. She often urged me just to enjoy eating whatever I want as long as I don’t overdo anything. She pointed out that with my osteoporosis I I probably needed a bit of extra padding to protect my bones in case I fall. She thought I actually look better than when I was more like Twiggy.
My mother-in-law had a theory that there is always a reason when even the most careful dieting does not result in a loss of weight. She used to theorize that my body had just decided that I needed to have more weight for some unknown reason. While I liked her encouragement, I still felt frustrated that I worked so hard for very little progress.
Of late I’m just happy that I am still rocking along with lots of energy and no real health problems. I feel fortunate that I am able to purchase good healthy food and try to not worry as much about whether or not it is leading to weight loss. I work out on my stationary bike and my treadmill and do exercises for my arms with weights and elastic bands. I go for walks whenever I can. My new goal is just to stay healthy rather than to develop a slender figure. My clothes still fit and I am a grandmother, so how I look just does not matter that much any more.
I still have binders filled with recipes from Cooking Light and Weight Watchers. I follow a rule of moderation and staying active every single day. I won’t turn back the clock to a time when my metabolism was so fast that I did not have an ounce of fat on my body. I have wrinkles now and my hair is thinner than it used to be. My knees tell me when it is going to rain or turn cold. Once in awhile my back halts my heavy lifting and I’ve given away all of my stiletto heels. I am not so much acting my age, but deferring to its changes. I feel good and that seems to be all th at really matters. My doctor seems to think that I am going to be around for a very long time because other than a bit of arthritis nothing is wrong with me. I feel proud of myself and the efforts I make to stay as healthy as I am. If that includes a bit a fat, then so be it. My only diet is an easy one…I eat small meals and try to avoid fatty or sugary foods. As long as I continue to feel upbeat I suppose that I am on the right track. My search for the Twiggy version of me is done.