I consider myself an expert on matters of weight. When I was born, I weight more than 8 lbs. I was overweight. All during my childhood, I was overweight. This was in the 1960’s when frankly being overweight was not the norm it is today.
I have shared that my mother suffered due to my weight, though I am willing to say that the excess pounds never amounted to more than 10 during my childhood and around 30 during adolescence. It never bothered me much, the excess weight. What bothered me and made me feel really guilty was my mother’s constant criticism, suffering, remedy-seeking and other ways in which I was made to feel inadequate.
My mother was a wonderful and successful social worker and family therapist. Her success, however, did not extend to her family and although I considered myself a good daughter, my weight was a constant reminder to her that she had somehow failed as a mother and that others were judging her for my “problem”.
She tried everything from scolding, to being supportive, to joining Weight Watchers with a view to not only losing weight herself but also to having me join her so I could lose weight. I concentrated on other aspects of my personality, developing the ability to entertain others (a gift inherited from my always-slim father) while taking care of the many household chores that would guarantee me an honored place in the family. I don’t think I have ever really put it in quite these words but I think I was looking to become indispensable so that my weight would not be a factor in my being loved and accepted by Mom.
The many and varied weight loss methods always worked: for a while. Soon after losing and getting to goal weight, the pounds magically reappeared. When I was around 19, an offhand and nasty comment from a coworker spurred me to lose 30 lbs. quickly. That was the extent of my overweight, a number I don’t consider as extreme as I was always made to feel. Perhaps it is because I am very short. I always felt I carried it well, though, wearing nice (I made my own clothes) outfits that complemented my coloring and personality. I do have to admit, though, that after losing the weight, I was happy to go shopping and purchase outfits right from the racks to wear (after hemming of course!). My rapid weight loss was instrumental in forcing me to assess my situation. I decided to apply the good eating habits I learned at Weight Watchers in 1971 and stayed within 5 lbs. for the next 25 years. I gained weight during my two pregnancies but then went right back on a sensible diet and always went back to my new normal weight.
But let’s move on. I am now in my 60’s. In the last couple of years, I have gained weight and although I have lost 20 lbs. in 2018, I still have another 30 or 40 to lose! I am once again following the Weight Watchers method on line because I live overseas. WW has always been my friend, I feel. This new plan, however, is a bit too lax or maybe what I mean is that it has us be completely in control of our eating and I guess I need someone to more or less tell me exactly what to eat. I am a Virgo, after all. Anyway, I stopped tracking for a few weeks and although I did some tracking mentally, I managed to gain back at least 6 lbs.
2018 was a difficult year. I lost my mother in the beginning of it. Later in the year, my older sister died which I have still not fully grasped. We had an odd relationship. I believe she thought we were friends…I could never be myself around her narcissistic person so I never let her see the real me because I sensed that she wanted to take my happiness and get rid of it. It is a terribly lonely feeling which I have yet to address, this lack of sibling solidarity, yet there it is.
2019 is the year I promised myself I will get my office in order and devote myself to writing, which has always been my passion. I owe my mother (who I adored and admired despite her shortcomings) a biography of whatever I have available on her life which is plenty. I also have two novels that I am currently working on.
Yesterday I was tackling the filing system in my office. I am a secretary by profession (well one profession) so I devoted a lot of time to taking a piece of paper at a time, reading it, assessing its place and filing or discarding. I feel that although it is not apparent to the observer, I know that the drawers are in better shape, that alphabetizing has taken place and that much more needs to be done.
While in the office, I saw several weight-loss books that I have purchased over the years. I handled them lovingly, dusting off their jackets and deciding to assign them their own space on my bookshelves. I have realized that I hide my weight loss guides because I am ashamed of being fat. I cannot believe I allowed this to happen to me at a time in my life when weight and its issues should not be important. But here we are. I am determined to giving Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss a proper try. The first time around, I was half-hearted. This time I am committed to it. I am not sure whether I am a food addict (I believe I am not) or just an overeater (I am often). I am eager to get back to the place I was in my late 20’s when I needed no scale and ate what I wanted but remained a normal weight for my age, size and current life situation. I am embracing getting back to that place.