Pondering weighty matters


I always remove my ponytail tie before stepping on the scale. Everyone knows a scrunchie adds 10 pounds. If I gain (I do that more recently), I blame it on salt or particularly heavy socks.

I lost quite a bit of weight two years ago. That was fun. These days, I prefer to stay firmly in denial about weight gain. They’re making pants smaller these days, right? I blame it on those tiny overseas figures. Or the sheer amount of carbs I eat. Could go either way. Probably the carbs. Although I’m still keeping my eye on the size of those jeans.

Speaking of jeans, or genes, genetically, it could have gone either way. I have sisters who say things like “I just can’t gain weight.” Fortunately I just absolutely love them, or I would have to consider hating them. I don’t deny that being “too thin” can be as great a burden as carrying too much weight. The “too thin” burden is simply not one I have ever had to bear.

Lost and found

I am a person who lost weight, and then found it again. Maybe it was not so much “lost” as “on vacation?” I was effortlessly thin when I was younger. I ate a steady diet of Popsicles, rocky road ice cream, soda and potato chips and wore skinny jeans all through high school. I can’t even blame parenthood for my widening load. I weigh more now than I did the night my son was born.

No, I blame age (and my continuing fondness for rocky road ice cream and Popsicles). Where once I was an “I just don’t gain weight” type of person, I’ve now turned into a “well I brushed up against a cookie and my pants don’t button” type of gal.

Moment on the lips

I’m pretty sure when I turned 40 every fudgesicle I ate from age 9 on reappeared on my hips. Those sugary cereals I scarfed down by the bowl fulls in front of Saturday Morning cartoons? The cookies I balanced on my chest while reclining on the sofa reading books all afternoon (nerd alert)? They weren’t so much gone as lying in wait to pounce. All those take out tacos I scarfed down after midnight in my 20s. Oh those came back full force in my 40s.

There was a total midriff takedown I blame entirely on early 1990s fast food.

Mind over matter

The thing is that I know what works. I’ve done it. I can eat anything I want, I just can’t eat it all the time. I love fresh vegetables, prefer lean meats, and will choose water (or black coffee) over soda any day.

So why do I, and so many Americans, struggle with weight? Basically, I like food.

I am blessed to be overweight, honestly. I live in a time and a place where food is so plentiful that I have too much of it. Where others risk starvation, I risk gluttony. I am ashamed to say that I probably throw away more food than many families get in a day. That is not OK, but it is real.

Fortunate ones

Even as we complain about rising food prices, the truth is that we live, overall, in a country where food is still affordable and plentiful. Good food and not so good — it’s there for the taking. I need to get back to taking more leafy greens and lean meats and less ice cream eaten straight out of the carton with a spoon. This is not to say that there isn’t room for ice cream cartons and spoons. Rather, it is to say that as with all fun things, food must be enjoyed in moderation.

So far I really enjoy being middle aged. I know that youth is fun but wisdom is pretty great too. I know who I am. I am responsible for myself. Most importantly, I am comfortable in my own skin — even if there is a bit more of it than I am comfortable with.

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