Journey up the Scale, Part 2

I continue to gain weight. Oh well.

I am really happy with how I’m eating. It floats through my mind, “should I cut back”?, and the answer is a very clear “no”.

It’s actually no surprise that, evidently, I’m not meant to be particularly thin. Deep down inside, I always knew my body wanted bigger. I have spent a lifetime staring at larger women who looked happy and comfortable. I would check to see if they were married (I was under the impression that men only like thin women. Huh?) If someone paid a compliment to a heavier woman, my ears would perk right up – could I be plump AND attractive? Could I be big AND happy?

The shocking (to me) truth is that I like this new body, all lumps and bump and jiggling and jostling. I feel like a grown up. I feel free.

WAIT. DID I WRITE THAT? I have to go back and re-read that last paragraph. Did I, Melissa Jane Statmore, really write it? Yes, yes I did!!!!!

Let freedom ring.

“You Look Younger”

When I cut my hair off in a whacky spontaneous moment, everyone told me I looked younger. Personally, I hated the haircut – my hair tends toward frizzy and weirdly wavy when it’s short. Now, on a bad hair day, I can’t do a ponytail, a bun, a braid…Instead, I’m stuck walking around with weird hair.

The thing is -why does anyone think I want to look younger? I don’t. I’m surprised that I don’t, but I don’t. I’ve lived every minute of these 52.5 years, and there’s no denying it.

For the first time in 42 years, I didn’t get my period this month. I’d assumed this would sadden me– the end of an era, a true sign that youth had faded. Nope. I’m delighted! From the day I first got it at 10, I’ve said in all seriousness, “I’m waiting for menopause”. My periods were worse than anyone I’ve ever met – horrible cramps, diarrhea, sometimes vomiting and wild and crazy mood swings. During my period, I’ve quit my job, broken up with boyfriends, and worse, all while under the influence of hormones. Miss this? NO.

Now that I’m in my 50s, I don’t get treated like a piece of meat on the street. No one wolf whistles or stares. Yay. And so what if I don’t get hit on when I’m out – well, none of those “hits’ every worked out anyway.

I am finally comfortable in my skin and after years and years of eating disorder, am actually okay with my weight, even though I weigh more than I have in decades.

Yes, I suppose getting older means growing closer to death, which I suppose is the appeal of youth. But if it’s fake, and you’re not actually young, what’s the difference? I’ll be 53 in June and no amount of filler or hair dye will change that. Doesn’t mean I won’t use filler (I won’t) or hair dye (I do), it just means I’m not fooling anyone, particularly not myself.

It’s sad that we’re so afraid of aging, that we’re so “anti-aging”, because, God-willing, we’re all going to age. I refuse to buy anything that says “anti-aging”. THAT sounds like death to me. If I’m not getting older, I’m going into the grave. Sure, I moisturize my skin so it’s not dry, itchy and flaky, but I’m not looking for a product to turn back the clock. I’ve not yet found the clock that works backwards anyway!

So, you can tell me I look nice, but no need to say I look young. And by the way, I’m growing my hair back. 🙂

Food and Body Questions

Food and body have been an issue for me literally since birth. In the hospital, I finished more bottles than any baby before me, and was so fat at six months, the doctor put me on skim milk.

Prior to the last ten years, I don’t remember ever not being on a diet, obsessing about food and worrying constantly about my weight. Weight and food defined me – I 100% believed I was my eating disorder. It defined my existence.

I don’t know another way to grow up really and am, therefore, so interested in the way others think about food and their bodies. I wonder how often other women weigh themselves and how much does that number mean? For many years, an unwanted number RUINED my day – nothing else mattered.

How many women want to lose weight? How many don’t care? How much time is spent thinking about weight? about food?

One thing I’ve never done is exercise. I hate it and would always rather have starved than moved. But I know plenty of people who feel driven to exercise to stave off weight gain. Who exercises solely so they can eat more? Who’s scared of not exercising because of potential weight gain?

Who eats when she’s sad or lonely or bored or tired? Or happy? Who eats to avoid feeling?

Do you feel guilty after a big meal? Do you try to starve for days after? Do you like yourself better when you’re eating less?

I have many more questions. Do you have any of your own? I’d love to know what other people wonder about.

And if you feel comfortable sharing some answers, please do. I truly believe ever one of us has a story. I also believe there’s much comfort to be found in knowing we are not alone.

Come join in.

The Temptation of Thin

I’m just back from a little shopping excursion at Marshall’s. With ten extra pounds, many of my own clothes don’t fit.

I have to say, it’s a little different shopping with the new ten. It took a moment, but I AM comfortable picking mediums instead of smalls for the first time in many, many years. However, ten pounds ago, I never tried clothes on. I’d pull something I liked off the rack and knew it would look fine. There were no lumps or bumps to cover. Nothing pulled or gaped or gapped or looked even vaguely obscene.

Standing in the dressing room, with the mediums, staring at the new belly, little muffin top and boobs popping over my bra, I thought, “Hmm, maybe I do need to lose weight”.

That idea sat well for a few minutes. I pictured myself with my old body, fitting into my jeans and bras and underwear. Ahhh, didn’t that look nice?

Then I remembered the food part. The part where I’d have to eat less. For one thing, I don’t eat all that much more than I used to – I think some of my new weight is age and (lack of) hormones. So, even if I ate like i always used to, I’d still carry more pounds.

But, being perfectly honest, I am eating a bit more than before. I realize now that I used to always feel just short of satisfied. I’d eat just a little less than I needed or wanted, in order to maintain ‘thin’. Now, I NEVER feel shortchanged or restrictive. I realize I used to think about food more because, I guess, I wanted “more”. These days, that’s no longer true. I love the way I”m eating – not overeating but eating to satisfied.

While standing in the dressing room, contemplating my hips, my phone rang. It was a dear friend who recently lost a loved one, calling to say she was feeling sad and wanted some company. Rather quickly I lost interest in my hips, belly and bra. In the scheme of real things, it doesn’t matter if they’re a small, medium, or large. And I know that when I’m eating properly and enough, I’m much less focused on food and much more focused on things that truly count.

Decision made. It’s time for lunch with my friend, a meal I used to skip.

The “Morality” of Thin

I didn’t have a chance to eat much yesterday. When I woke up this morning, I felt light.

The first thing I did was commend myself for being good yesterday.

Then I caught myself. After all these years, do I still equate weight loss with “being good”. A low calorie day has moral value?

The fact is – two days ago, I did much more real good. I visited a friend in the hospital, volunteered at an animal shelter, and cleaned out all my closet ending with a trip to Goodwill.. And i had a big dinner. No commendation here, lol

Yesterday, I slept late, lounged around in bed, read all day, took a nap and then watched TV.

And yet it was yesterday that got the gold star.

This crap is really embedded. Time to get rid of it!!!

“Fat” Camp

When I was a fat kid, losing weight was my only goal. My mother drove me to diet doctors, Weight Watchers, Behavior Modification specialists, therapists. We attempted every diet – eating only protein or only fruit or only rice. We cut out sugar, carbs, eating after 5 pm, eating before dinner, white food, anything but grapefruit……..

My mother lost a lot of weight. I got fatter. We tried another diet.

Defeated and disgusted, I believed myself to be the ugliest, most unlovable girl in the world. I was teased mercilessly for my weight (and frizzy hair, coke-bottle glasses, braces, acne.)

At one point, my mother suggested “fat” camp, but my aversion to exercise and the label, “fat”, put an end to that idea. I cringed at the thought of being weighed and made to exercise and put on more diets. Imagine being judged all summer by your weight? Awful. The school year was bad enough.

Instead, Mom sent me to regular camp, where my lack of athletic prowess made life, well, miserable. An insomniac since birth, I couldn’t sleep. I was the only one in my bunk without a boyfriend. What did I do at camp? I ate.

And dreamed of a summer camp where I could be free. Free to read and rest and watch movies and lie in the sun and maybe participate in gentle non-competitive exercise like dog paddling around a pool or going for an easy walk through the fields.

No one would chastise me and my fellow campers for lack of weight loss or lack of coordination or lack of dates. We would be accepted and cherished for just being us.

I suppose no parent would send their kid to my camp, not in today’s world where skinny is synonymous with all things good. Such a shame

Beginning of Recovery

For most of my life, I was lonely and scared. Each night I’d use food to fill the emptiness and dull the fear. Then, terrified by all I’d eaten, I’d throw it all up until morning. Horrified by the night before, the next day, I’d starve until I was desperately hungry, and the compulsive eating would begin again. Life became an endless loop of starving, binging, purging, starving, binging, purging….

In this way,I passed the time and many years of my life. In this way, I tried not to feel anything at all, not misery nor even minor discomfort. Something as simple as boredom could lead me to food, to binging and purging.

Hurt, pain, loneliness, fear and sadness got buried deep inside. BUT they were still there, deep down within me, and I would use food to anesthetize them.
I had to be willing to let myself know the pain and face the fears, or I was doomed to repeat my endless cycle forever. But if I did face the truth of what troubled me, I could be free. I had to learn that it’s okay to be sad and afraid, and I can tolerate any discomfort, big or small. I can face anything life shows me and be just fine.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone who has an issue with her weight has an eating disorder or uses food to soothe herself. Some people love food and eating and end up weighing more than they’d like. Others, like my best friend, aren’t interested in food, forget to eat, have fast metabolisms and work to keep their weight up.
For these folks, dealing with the food IS the solution. If my foodie pals really want to weigh less, they can cut portions or limit desserts or burn more calories with a Zumba class or two. Or they can decide they love to eat and make peace with their weight. For my best friend, sometimes he drinks Ensure and sometimes he makes himself eat when he’s not hungry. Mostly, though, he accepts that he’s always going to be skinny and that’s just the way it goes.

But not me. My problem has nothing to do with the food. My problem was thinking that food solves ALL problem, when in fact, I need to deal with the actual problems. And then I can truly be free and food can solve the one problem it’s meant to – hunger.

More on this process and recovery in blogs to come.

You’ve Lost Weight!

Is it a compliment to tell someone they look like they’ve lost weight? Such a loaded question for me. I try so hard to remind myself constantly that weight doesn’t matter, but old habits die hard. “You lost weight!”, is still a knee jerk commit, and I always assume it’s a huge compliment. I’ve even said it when it didn’t look like the person had lost weight – I just thought it was a great thing to say!

Of course, who even knows why someone lost the weight. Are they ill? Are they going through an unhappy time?

And the ultimate question – why have I always thought that weight loss is such a great thing anyway?

Let the Journey Begin – Up the Scale

I have stopped dieting, really difficult for me. And I’ve gained 10 pounds, also difficult – BUT life is truly too short to spend tethered to a scale and restricting food.

I’ve loaded up on leggings (the old jeans aren’t willing to zip), but more than that, I’ve loaded up on determination – no scale is going to own me!

The fear is, where will it end – will my weight climb to old highs? While I hope not, I just don’t know. And I have to let go.

We’ll see where this goes…. To be continued

Why Skinny?

I was in Manhattan yesterday and everywhere I looked, I saw a super-skinny, exquisitely dressed, incredibly chic woman. And when I say “super-skinny”, I mean pretty literally toothpicky.

Now I’m sure there are exceptions, but REALLY – is anyone that thin naturally?

So the question becomes – why do a large group of women want to be that skinny? These women on the Upper Eastside, where I was visiting, have the means and often, time, to look anyway they like, and this is what so many choose.

I’m an average weight now, but once I weighed 40 pounds less, and I was STARVING all the time. I thought that was somehow virtuous. I called myself “good” if I didn’t eat. I called myself “fat fucking pig”,
The thinner I got, the better I thought I looked and I would do anything to stay skinny.
For breakfast, I ate the paper wrapping of a muffin. I’d head to Dunkin Donuts, order my black coffee then stand for a few minutes, pondering which flavor of muffin to order – kind of silly, considering I really did just eat the paper it came in. Lunch was iceberg lettuce and raw veggies with balsamic vinegar. For dinner, perhaps a coffee yogurt, preferably frozen so it would last longer, more veggies, and then my big reward – one oreo cookie.

I was dizzy and weak all the time but even more, I was angry. I hated everything and everyone, particularly anyone who seemed comfortable eating. If you offered me food not on my “plan”, I resented you even more. How dare you!

Finally, I couldn’t live that way anymore and I began to binge constantly. Terrified of weight gain, I discovered bulimia and purged as often and as violently as possible.

It was a horrible, miserable, sick existence, but I did it for years. To stay thin.

Desperate not to eat, I turned to alcohol, hoping I would drink and not eat. And stay thin. Finally, I discovered crack cocaine, which killed my desire for food and got be back to skinny . But then it wasn’t just weight that I lost.

I lost everything.

Of course, all those women I saw yesterday most likely do not struggle as I did or perhaps not even at all, but I still want to know why skinny is their ideal.

Or anyone’s.