PastaQueen reviews Mary Lou’s Weigh Platform and suspects Bela Karolyi might be a vampire.
PastaQueen reviews Mary Lou’s Weigh Platform and suspects Bela Karolyi might be a vampire.
The worst thing about weight loss is that I created a more perfect version of myself. When I reached my lowest weight of 170 pounds and looked in the mirror, my reflection spun herself off into her own world of possibilities where she still exists today. No matter how much I weigh for the rest of my life, I will always know that on one day in November of 2007 I was that thin.
I was never a skinny child. I never had a thin version of me to compare myself too. I only had the morbidly obese Jennette who spun herself into her own world of possibilities, one that exists in a parallel dimension from the skinny version. When I was losing weight, I would compare my current body to the fatter version of me. I could hang out with this fatter friend of mine in my mind where she made me feel skinny in her shadow. Even at 230 pounds I was 140 pounds lighter than the fattest me.
This year I’ve been dealing with chronic pain, the stress of a book release, and a variety of other happenings that are not ready for blogdom. Eating well and exercising shifted from being my top priority to being number four or five in my top ten life priorities, so I gained 20 pounds. On the way down I compared myself to the fattest version of me, but on the way up I compare myself to the thinnest version of me. Instead of seeing myself as 170 pounds lighter, I see myself as 20 pounds fatter.
I know this is silly. I know I’m not obese. I look in the mirror and think I’m pretty. I’m grateful that I can run and squat and cross my legs. I’m in better health than I’ve been for most of my life. But sometimes I resent making a slightly more perfect version of myself. I hate that I judge myself against her. I hate that other people compare me to her. I hate that I know I could be her again if I worked harder or cared more. I hate that she’s out there, existing as a possibility I one day made flesh, but faded out of reality and into the mirror world of what-ifs.
There is a box of clothes on my closet floor labeled, “Fat clothes (in case of emergency)” which is slightly less full than it was two weeks ago. Sound the sirens and alert the diet police because this is most definitely an emergency.
I stepped on the scale two weeks ago and a scary number appeared in the window, like a gremlin peering in. Aaah! It wasn’t so much a surprise as an inevitability, considering that I’d stopped exercising for three weeks are started eating whatever the hell I wanted. Oh, the cashiers at Kroger could tell some tales! Let it be known that I have discovered the secret to weight gain: eat more, move less.
I was sick of exercising. I was sick of eating salad. I was sick of seeing everyone eat donuts at meetings while I was eating carrot sticks. I resented how much time exercise took, leaving no time to work on my blog redesign. And most of all I was bored. Bored with Pilates. Bored with running. Bored with lifting weights. Bored, bored, bored. I’d done it all before and it had lost its mystery, just like my new kitten is fascinated every time I flush the toilet, but my seven-year-old cat is so over the wonders of indoor plumbing that he can’t be bothered to roll his eyes in boredom. All I could think was, “Running? Again? Seriously?”
And beyond all that, I started not to care. My book promotions were basically over, so I didn’t have to worry about looking like a bean bag chair on television. I’m happy with my body when I weigh about 180 pounds, so I didn’t feel a need to lose any more weight. So I went to BlogHer and I ate a lot of cookies. And I went to New York and I ate a lot of ice cream. And I went to the state fair and I ate a lot of deep-fried everything. And then I came home and sat in front of the computer, burning very few calories by typing.
I saw the weight slowly creeping up on the scale and in the fit of my clothes, but I didn’t say anything on the blog because then I would be expected to do something about it, which would have greatly interfered with my plan to eat a pint of ice cream in the Fresh Market parking lot after a stressful day at work. I still didn’t care all that much, even though my pants were one size larger and my face was a little rounder.
Then my pants got really tight and I had to move up two sizes larger than my skinniest size. I stepped on the scale and saw scarier and scarier numbers. Then I was lying in bed and heard my heartbeat as I rested my ear against the pillow. I counted and noticed that it was beating over 60 beats per minute. This above all things pissed me off, more than the pants and more than the scale. My resting heart rate had previously been a rather freakish 40-45 beats per minutes, which is very low and typical only in athletes. When I would visit the doctor’s office, the nurses always commented on my low pulse. It made me proud because it was proof that I was in shape. I was an athlete. But now my heart was beating faster, which meant it wasn’t quite as strong because I hadn’t been exercising it.
And suddenly all that apathy I’d been swimming in got sucked out with the tide and I started to care again. A LOT. Because while I expect my weight to fluctuate slightly up and down for the rest of my life, ultimately there has to be a line. This is the line. I promised not to buy new pants, and I’ve stuck to that promise, though via a loophole since I’m wearing old, larger pants instead of buying new ones. I can’t get any fatter. It’s rather amazing how quickly I gained back weight. It happened at a rate of over a pound a week, as if I was an actress preparing to play Bridget Jones. I didn’t even do it on purpose.
For the past two weeks I’ve been getting my ass back in gear again, working on ways to lose this weight I’ve gained. I’m not going to say how much because I’m sick of weighing in each month. I will say it’s between 10-20 pounds and I am going to mention that it happened. I’ve always thought it was bullshit when people stopped blogging when they gained weight. It happens to everyone. It’s why weight maintenance is so hard. There’s no sense in not talking about it. I’m not ashamed that I like to eat donuts. Granted, I tend to wait until I’m back on the straight and narrow before I mention any gains, but oh well, I ain’t perfect. That’s why this is a blog and not a 24/7 objective window into my life.
I’ll talk about everything I’ve been doing to lose weight again in my next entry. But now I should go shower because I’m all sweaty from running.
When I was overweight, I never understood skinny girls who looked at photos and complained, “I look so fat in that photo!” I always looked fat in photos because I was fat. The skinny girls looked skinny. Perhaps the camera didn’t catch them at the best angle, but they looked thinner than I ever would.
Then I lost about 200 pounds and I totally understand where they were coming from. I present exhibits A, B, and C.
These three photos were all taken on the same day, which is odd because it looks like I gained 10 pounds and then lost it again before noon. I ran a half-marathon that day, but running 13.1 miles does NOT burn 35,000 calories, nor could the lasagna I had for lunch make me that much fatter.
In the first photo, I’m striking the “skinny pose.” I have one foot placed in front of the other. I’m turning at the waist, but rotating my shoulders towards the camera. I’m jutting my chin out slightly. I read how to do this online and at first I felt silly and awkward arranging my limbs and torso like this, but then I noticed it actually works so I do it often. If you watch starlets on the red carpet, they use these tricks too. I’m also wearing a dark color on the bottom and a light color on the top to balance my bottom-heavy pear shape. All in all, I look pretty thin.
About 2 minutes earlier, the second photo was taken right after I finished my race. I eagerly downloaded it from the official race site online and was crestfallen when I saw it and immediately thought, “I look so fat in that photo!” I don’t know if it’s the angle or the lighting or post-race bloat that evaporated 120 seconds later, but I think I look fat in that photo. Which sucks, because it’s supposed to be my proud, victory photo and I don’t feel particularly victorious when looking at it.
Then, there is photo number 3, taken a couple hours later at my book release party. My face looks the thinnest in this photo to me and I’m rather satisfied with my size. Maybe the dark lighting helps? :) I’m sure some of you will comment that I look great in all these photos (or that I look like a bean bag chair if you’re a hater), but it doesn’t really matter what you think, it’s what I think.
It seems odd that all these photos were taken within hours of each other and yet I look so different in all of them. I know my face and my body better than anyone else, so I’m probably the most critical of my appearance, noticing the smallest variations. It’s amazing how different I can appear, not because of my size, but because of the way my body is turned or whether I’m wearing makeup or whether someone turned on the overhead light.
I might not be the best judge though. There are times when I don’t think I look particularly good or bad in a photo and other people compliment me on it. For instance, I got several compliments on my Jamba Juice photo, but when I saw it I thought it was far too dark and that I looked a little bit irked. I would caption this photo with a thought bubble saying, “Have you taken the photo yet? I want to pick up my orange dream machine!”
The worst was when I was still morbidly obese and I’d look at a photo in horror and someone would say, “What a great picture! It looks just like you!” Geez, really? That’s awful. Not only would I feel bad about an ugly photo, I would feel bad that I evidently looked like an ugly photo all the time.
Photos confound me. I like living in a technologically advanced society, but if I’d been born in the 1700’s without running water or electricity, at least I wouldn’t have to deal with the head game that digital imagery now provides on a daily basis. Am I fat? Am I thin? Who knows?
Somewhere all those skinny girls I never understood are laughing.