It's no secret that I am xoJane's resident yo-yo dieter, in the grand tradition of Delta Burke, Oprah, Britney and all the other celebrities past and future whose fluctuating body weight dramas will unfold before us until the end of time.
The problem is that I know how to lose weight, but not how to maintain my weight. So I basically just diet until I'm at a weight I'm happy with, then stop dieting until I gain about 20 pounds, then start dieting again. It's an inefficient system.
I would like to eventually see a nutritionist or other eating professional to help me stop functioning as the full-body version of an inflatable breast implant, but right now I've got a lot on my plate (FOOD! hahahah). And also, more pressing psychological needs, which are canoodling with the mashed potatoes on one of those giant serving platters.
So what I really need is to accept the fact. As my awesome, wise friend Heather put it after splitting her pants, that I'm just going to be kind of fat sometimes. And to learn how to move about in the world feeling fat and just kind of, be cool, man -- like a teenager with a joint in the car.
And I don't know if it's the continued influence of Lesley in my life or impending motherhood or what, but lately I feel like I'm getting there! The other day, I finally weighed myself and realized that I am slightly above the top of my usual weight range. Normally this would make me feel devestated. But I realized, stepping off the scale, that I just ... didn't really care that much. I mean, I've been here before. I'll be here again. I'm healthy. I have a pretty good life, with a comfortable apartment and an asshole cat. What's the big deal about some extra padding?
"I've gained 17 pounds," I said to my boyfriend.
"Nice work," he responded.
I choked out a giggle. We high-fived.
I Tweeted (breaking my resolution), "Just weighed myself and I've gained 17 pounds. What an accomplishment!"
"Mazel!" The congratulations poured in. "How did you do it? You look incredible!" "It took a lot of hard work and dedication," I responded.
Reframing my weight gain in this way tickled me, but it also made me feel better. I mean, if were going to fawn over each other for every small change in the downward direction, why couldn't we take a moment to recognize how many cheese danish curls and pepperoni pizza sessions it took to move the other way? This weight didn't gain itself, you know!
Here are a few other things that are helping me celebrate my body as is:
1. Buying bigger clothes
I had been whining for weeks about how none of my skirts or pants fit anymore before it finally occured to me that I am totally capable of walking into a store and purchasing a skirt that fits. Which is when I realized that being bigger doesn't actually suck that bad; being bigger than my clothes does.
I know the last thing a lot of women want to do is go up a size, but I cannot tell you the psychological benefit of having a black pencil skirt that zips easily, instead of trying to cram myself into one that is just a little too small every morning. I look better; I feel way better. Ignoring the weight doesn't make it go away -- at least getting a few basics like jeans and a skirt in the next size up keeps me from setting myself up for failure and devestation every morning.
2. Harnessing my sexy.
This is where I've been following in the footsteps of Christina Aguilera, patron saint of sex clowns everywhere. Christina Aguilera, despite taking heat for sporting a slightly curvier body type as of late, has retained the movements and demeanor of someone currently wearing a remote control vibrator. Bitch just seems like she feels sexy. I love that!
As she told reporters at a Television Critics Association conference recently: "As long as I'm happy in my own skin, that's all I need. I'm happy with where I'm at. I have a boyfriend that loves my body. I love my body."
And just imagine for a moment, that a woman who looks like that -- hair so blond it's like staring into the face of the sun, boobs packed to the chin, Marilyn Monroe makeup and a tight-ass dress -- walked into your workplace/party/local bar. You'd be like "Daaaaaaaaaamn!" Because she is bringing it. And loving yourself is half the battle.
While Googling pretty, pretty pictures of Christina Aguilera, I stumbled upon this annoying interview in which Howard Stern tries to get Adam Levine to talk about Christina's size and admit that "when you're plus-size you can't wear tight clothes anymore."
Which, ugh, she is not plus size and also, sure you can! It's easy! Tight clothes, short skirts and cleavage all make me feel hot, and when I feel hot I'm thinking about the filthy smutty things I want to do with my body instead of how many units of mass it contains. Even if you don't want to put it all out there, some fake hair, a red lip or sexy lingerie (garter belt! garter belt!) can go a long way to putting some wiggle in your waddle.
3. Being thankful for my health.
Think about the last time you were really, really sick. What would you have given for a healthy body? I've had food poisoning before, and while I was vomiting up ice chips for the 5th time in an hour, I gladly would have made a deal with Satan to be forever 10 pounds heavier if I didn't have to see the contents of my stomach anymore.
For that matter, we are all just obliviously trudging the road to inevitable demise, anyway, you know? If tomorrow, I'm diagnosed with a terminal disease, I don't want to be kicking myself for having wasted so much time taking this perfectly fine body for granted.
When I think back to happiest moments in my life, not the huge events with pictures that have been burned into my brain, but just nice afternoons, good times with friends, etc., I never remember how much I weighed. Nor was I ever paying attention to how much anybody else weighs. In fact, 90 percent of the time when someone I know is complaining about gaining weight, I literally cannot see a difference.
When it comes down to it, it's such a tiny, silly thing I spend huge chunks of my life obsessing over, 10 pounds up or down. When I remember that life is temporary, I don't want to waste one more second on it.
In fact, the next time someone calls me fat, or calls themselves fat, I'm going to try yelling out, "We're all gonna DIE, man!!!"
4. Squishing my fat together and making my belly talk, especially about how hungry it is.
5. Eating stuff.
I mean, clearly the best part of gaining weight is eating delicious food. When I start to feel down on myself for being a size 12 instead of a size 10, I just think, "Yeah, but you get to eat delicious cake." And it's kind of hard to argue with that. Especially if I then put a delicious piece of cake in my mouth.
When I'm dieting, I live in a place of "I can't." I can't eat this, I can't have that. When I'm gaining, I actually can, if I want to. It's thrilling, the novelty of ordering what I want for lunch instead of a salad, or buying ice cream at the grocery store even though I know I will eat it in servings that are way above the recommended half-cup (I'm only human!). I'm sure, actually, that the key to learning how to eat sanely lies in the "I can," since it's all that "I can't" that makes life on a diet unsustainable.
But like I said, I'm not there yet. I'm here, taking up a little more space. And that's actually cool with me for once.
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