Okay, let me start this article by clarifying my fatness situation. I’m no skinny minny wishing I could squeeze from a size 8 into a size 6. I’m a size 14 in some shops, a size 12 or 16 in others. A previous personal trainer told me I had ‘a good shape’. I guess that means I’ve got ample boobs, a waist of sorts and an ample bottom.
But my BMI tells me I’m firmly in the overweight category (only at 67 kilos will I be deemed healthy), my stomach is far from flat, I suffer from a bit of a chinneck (my term for lack of chin-to-neck definition) and I have a bottom that clears tables when I squeeze through restaurants. I know I should get my act together and lose a few kilos, but I’m struggling to care enough to make that happen.
Maybe I’m not fat enough?
Unfortunately I suffer from – as a friend called it recently – ‘reverse anorexia’. Instead of looking in the mirror, seeing ‘fat’ and then starving myself, I look in the mirror, see ‘fine’ and then eat a Curly Wurly.
In my day-to-day life I just don’t feel that fat. Yes, once in a while I’ll try on a pair of jeans and resent my muffin top, but I just buy a slightly bigger size. And, of course, there are often photos tagged on Facebook where I have more chins than a Chinese phone book, but a quick untag and it’s all forgotten.
I sometimes wish I were just a little bit fatter. If my thighs chafed when I walked or if I had to book two seats on a plane, then there would be more of a sense of urgency. As it is, I’ve bobbed around the same weight since I had my son (three years ago). I’m not getting fatter, but I’m not getting thinner.
Just sort your life out
I could change my eating habits, but then I don’t eat like a beast: no takeaways, no added sugar or salt, no fizzy drinks, no chuffing down a pack of biscuits in one sitting. I’m a vego, I drink skim milk and eat plenty of fruit, veg, whole grains and protein, but I do love cheese, bread, pasta, cake and all that ‘good’ stuff. I also drink, on average, four nights a week (just a few glasses of wine but enough to bring on the guilts), and I’m known to buy a couple of post-dinner Curly Wurlys for my husband and me, then eat both. So, yes, I could do better with food.
I could, of course, exercise more than I do. Currently I walk four or five kilometres each morning with the dog (admittedly at a snail’s pace with a cappuccino in hand). We don’t have a car, so I’m often biking to the shops or the pool with my three-year-old on the back. I occasionally swim or do yoga and even have sporadic fits of more frantic exercise, but they don’t stick. I know the busy argument doesn’t wash, but seriously, if I had a spare 30 minutes of free time, which I don’t, I’d rather read a book, or lie prone in a dark room, moaning. Can you really be fit and intellectual? I’m not sure, I even wrote a poem about it.
Just stop thinking about it
My husband says that I have to either lose weight or accept where I’m at and shut up about it.
‘Just stop thinking about it,’ he suggests.
And I’ve tried. Often 20 whole minutes go by when I don’t think about my weight at all. But then I open a magazine or turn on the telly or check Facebook only to be bombarded with images of thin/healthy women, with messages about being fit. There is, of course, a HUGE industry devoted to making me feel sufficiently bad about my extra kilos for me to hand over fat wodge of cash to help lose it.
I’ve done it all. Weight Watchers, ready meal deliveries, diet shakes, Michelle Bridges, but none of it has lasted. I’ve bought expensive gym memberships, I’ve tried personal trainers, but I hate being told what to do so that never works out.
A quick note on personal trainers: it’s their JOB to be fit and healthy, right? No one asks them, after a 10-hour day of training, to come home and write copy for an hour for their intellectual wellbeing, but they think it’s reasonable for me write for 10 hours and then go out and exercise for an hour for my physical wellbeing. Not fair!
My biggest weight loss successes have been solo efforts; I ran the marathon last year and lost 14 kilos, mostly training on my own or with my dog. Once I got down to 65 kilos by cycling from Phuket to Bangkok in three weeks, but this took a lot of time and effort and, right now, I don’t feel up to a challenge like that again.
The health risks
Of course I know there are health risks from being even marginally overweight: heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure problems, etc., etc. But I guess they just don’t feel sufficiently pressing to seem real. I can play around with my son, manage several flights of stairs, run for the bus, carry copious amounts of shopping home and move heavy furniture. Isn’t that fit enough? My Curly Wurly addiction and those extra glasses of wine could give rise to heart disease in 20 or so years. But I just find it hard to sacrifice my enjoyment of the now, to eek out my existence for a few more years (probably in some smelly nursing home). I’m hardly a hedonist, but perhaps I’m burying my head in denial sand without realising it.
Ultimately, I know it’s all about balance, about working exercise and good eating into your everyday lifestyle. Intellectually, I know this but for some reason I can’t turn it into action.
Over to you
So tell me, my fellow women: Should I shut up and accept my current rotundity with good grace, or keep searching for the answer to a thinner me?
Hit me with your comments below:
Please note: Since writing this article I have enlisted the help of a personal trainer, who looks like Jason Stackhouse from True Blood, to help me get fit and healthy (and less fat). The quest continues.
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This article first appeared in Discordia.