Trigger warning: This article discusses weight loss and should be read with caution if you are in recovery.
I never thought about weight until I started gaining it fairly easily in college. Being a very tall girl early on, I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted for the first 19 or 20 years of my life.
Then, everything just slowed down. It turned out that getting my pity letter in track and my j.v. workouts on the swim team had actually been countering weight gain, and without that, pretty soon, all of the calories from college started to add up.
Still, I didn't care too much.
I had a boyfriend and then he became a husband and it was really only right around the time I got divorced that I started to reconnect with more of a feeling of self-control in my life. That included with my weight. I started doing Morning Pages, and one of the happy results of that was successfully losing about 40 lbs and going from a size 14 to a size 6. I loved the way that I looked, and it felt good. But once I moved to New York in 2005, I started getting too skinny and too restrictive -- and then when I decided to stop that, I went in the opposite direction, binge eating and gaining weight quickly. It was a vicious cycle: restricting, binging, fasting, and just feeling out of control and crazy.
It honestly took me not obsessing about food and weight to develop a healthy relationship with food again and stay around a 6-8 in my sizing over the years, which felt good and right.
But there was something else that helped me during this time, and I have to be really straight about something, even though it's going to make me sound like a jerk. A huge factor and one of the main motivators for me to stay as fit as possible is wanting to look as hot as possible for various men. I used to joke that when I needed to lose weight all I had to do was go on "The Asshole Diet."
The Asshole Diet is essentially this: You date a guy who you know cares primarily about your appearance, makes comments about how you look ("Why not make yoga or running a daily habit?"), and in some sick way, it motivates you.
It's the competitive shapeshifter in me that makes me want to see if I can compete with the other women who can get these guys. But now that I'm older and more concentrated on my work, I'm on the DGAF diet -- and it's having its consequences.
As in: My clothes aren't fitting me.
Here's how in denial I am. I seriously thought my dry cleaner was shrinking my clothes...until I bought a scale last week. And holy crap, no wonder my clothes don't fit. (Although it's weird -- there's like a 10 lb. difference depending on if the scale is on the wooden floor or the carpet, but whatever, that's beside the point. Although if I ever want a quick-pick-me-up, woohoo! Carpet weight!)
So I guess now the asshole in The Asshole Diet is just plain old me.
I'm doing a Paleo delivery food service because I never cook (I know, bad) and for treats instead of getting candy as I've fallen into the habit of as it gives me a great rush for writing, I'm doing caramel ricecakes or fruit. And I'm not restricting. I'll have ice cream or a treat that comes my way, but I am trying to stay away from super-processed stuff like Twizzlers or gummy bears or candy, which definitely triggers the addict in me and I just want more, more, more.
So far, I've lost 5 or 6 lbs. and I feel better overall and proud of the progress.
Of course, if ultimately I can't lose the weight, then I do accept myself for the size and shape I'm at -- and I'll be okay throwing out my old clothes that my dry cleaner, um, didn't shrink. But it feels good to get back into my old healthier habits. Namely: less emotional eating, more exercising, more real food, less processed crap and eating earlier in the day with breakfast the biggest meal of all.
I'm not weighing myself every day, but buying this dumb scale has been a helpful reminder where I am and where I want to be.
Today, I fit into a pair of jeans I haven't worn in a while that I thought the dry cleaners had "ruined." And, at the end of the day, I took them off and moved the pants to a new drawer in my dresser. It's a very special drawer: for clothes that actually fit.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.