Whenever I plan to get together with people I haven’t seen in a long time, the first thing I stress out about is my weight. I gained fifty pounds with my first pregnancy. By the time I got pregnant again 17 months after Viva was born, I’d lost forty of it. I gained thirty-five pounds with my second pregnancy and lost nothing. This weekend I got together with people who haven’t seen me since I was wearing a wedding dress I’d spent five months starving my way into .
I worried obsessively that Odie’s friends were going to take one look at me and think, “Whoa, the years have not been kind to her!”
Lately, I am at home in my own skin. Not so much my loose, saggy neck skin that belongs on a 70 year-old version of me, but the rest of it. That is not to say I am happy being 40 pounds overweight. I’m just comfortable. I have things in perspective.
When I was 25, I took a steak knife to my right thigh and sliced seven parallel gashes into it because I hated my thighs. I still don’t like the way they look, but I dislike pain even more. And Gwyneth Paltrow even more than THAT. If she’s the most beautiful woman in the world, then I’m doing okay.
Every vacation I have ever taken was preceded by weeks of me planning to lose “x” number of pounds by “y” date. Unlike most people, I love algebra, but these equations never worked out. I was going to be a size 4 on my 1997 trip to Paris. Mais, non! I could barely snap my pants when I got on l’avion. In 2002, I accompanied a boyfriend to a wedding in Hawaii. Good thing I purchased a back-up dress, because my slimming plans went down in Flaming Hot Cheetos.
There are so many more trips, each one a collage of memories of self-denial, self-rebellion, and self-loathing. The only reason I actually got into my wedding dress is because when I brought it home from David’s Bridal (well aren’t I fancy?), I put it on and the zipper went up about 3/4 of the way. With one month remaining before my wedding, I had no choice. Unlike the Hawaii wedding, I couldn’t dash into a store at the last minute and buy a different dress.
We planned the camping trip six months ago, so I figured I could easily take off sixty pounds in that time. At the end of each month, when I saw how ineffective my Ben and Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake ice cream diet was, I shrugged and decided “next month.¨ You don’t need much algebra savvy to recognize that come March, a 60 pound weight loss by April 5 is incongruent with reality.
I only had one choice: Show up fat.
It turns out, no one was there to see me looking fantastic by the campfire. We shared meals, drank beers, chased kids, pretended we gave a shit about every single lady bug the girls caught, and had a fantastic time!
We’re going to do it again next year.
I have about 10 months to lose 50 pounds. Wish me luck.