I dislike my Google Reader on Mondays.
Mondays are the day everyone weighs in, literally, regarding their diets – especially the dozen or so bloggers I subscribe to who participate in a meme called “McFatty Mondays”. Now, I know the name is in jest and will not be writing an angry ranty post about something that’s not meant to hurt anyone. The people who participate are doing so willingly and no offense is meant. I also know the point of the meme is women encouraging other women on their weight loss journeys (and support IS very important when you’re making a life change like weight loss) but seeing McFatty McFatty McFatty over and over bothers me. But it’s not just that meme, it’s a lot of women recapping their weekends. “Oh I was so BAD! I cheated! I’m terrible! I’ll never fit in my jeans again!” It’s like a cacophony of everything a woman as ever said across the table to her girlfriend as she orders the cheesecake.
It’s taken me a long time to order the cheesecake. I like the cheesecake. The cheesecake and I, we are friends.
When I was 19, to hide from the cheesecake, I tried to disappear. Literally. I gave up most food and existed on diet shakes, diet pills and Diet Coke. I slept a lot, because when you are sleeping you cannot eat. I volunteered to ride the ice cream bicycle all day at work so I could squeeze in 2 or 3 extra hours of exercise. There’s nothing that says “Maybe you have issues with food” more than spending all summer riding a bike around a campground in blazing hot weather selling ice cream out of a cooler and never once having so much as a freeze pop because those 90 calories might mean the difference between losing 1 pound and 2 pounds this week. I was addicted to watching the numbers go down, the same way a drug user is addicted. I would do anything to lose weight.
I would like to fill in this part of my story with lots of reasons. I was in a really unhealthy relationship that mainly consisted of who could be the most screwed up and one of our daily dysfunctional rituals was fighting over who could eat less. My college had an unusually high proportion of gorgeous, tan, size 2 girls and comparing myself to every single one of them was my favorite hobby. I was on my own for the first time in my life and the way I chose to maintain control was through food. Maybe I read too many issues of Cosmopolitan and it brainwashed me.
But it doesn’t really matter. The point is I spent my sophomore and junior years of college very thin and very miserable. One of my most distinct memories is watching an MTV True Life episode about people who hated their bodies and thinking “Wow these people are straight up crazypants crazy” Until the girl on the show said she weighed 115 pounds and I cried because I weighed more. I used to daydream I passed out from not eating during work so maybe someone would finally say “You might need help” instead of “Wow, you look GREAT!”
Maybe I did look great. I don’t really know. There are very few pictures of me from those years because I was convinced I looked fat and wouldn’t let anyone take them.
So now, when I say cheesecake and I are friends, maybe you can understand why that’s a big deal for me. I don’t want anything to trigger those old thoughts and behaviors. I’m afraid if I start counting a few calories I’ll end up counting them ALL (I already had to delete a food tracker app from my phone because I freaked out about eating anything that wasn’t specifically listed). Losing 20 pounds is never enough. It has to be 30, 50, 80 pounds and it has to be now! Yesterday! I need to get my body back! (Because apparently my baby took it somewhere. Maybe I should just ask her.) Swimsuit season is coming! And then I am miserable again.
To be honest, all my pregnancy weight from baby #2 is already gone. Being sick so often was a really effective diet and fevers burn a lot of calories. Maybe this time breastfeeding is sucking out all my fat or chasing a toddler really was all the exercise I needed. (Wow, I’m practically a celebrity mom! Alert US Weekly!) My body is back to the weight it likes to maintain when I’m not trying to diet, a weight I’m not particularly happy with but one that isn’t going to hurt me. I have clothes that fit and can smile into a camera instead of running away.
That’s not to say I’m not trying to be healthier. I’m back at Stroller Strides and feel good to be working out again. I had a yogurt for breakfast and am proud of making a wise choice. There is broccoli in my fridge and I have plans to actually eat it.
But I also plan to eat the cheesecake.