This post originally appeared on my tinyletter, Where is my Mind?
Disney was wonderful. It was a perfect family vacation, as perfect a family vacation as you can get given that we were four very different human beings spending an intense amount of time with each other over five days. But it was what our family needed and, I think, something we’ve earned.
But when I got back, I got on the scale. I had put on almost 10 pounds to my already overweight frame. I began to spiral. The trip that had brought me so much joy was now filling me with regret and self-loathing. I pulled myself out fairly quickly, much faster than I would have in the past, but I was still reeling from the number on the scale.
I’ve been ok with my weight. I’m a size 14, and I’ve found clothes that I love from designers that I love. I’ve built a closet of clothes that I adore. I wear two-piece swimsuits and take selfies in them, sharing them on social media. I follow body-positive instagram accounts, and my shopping at more innovative inclusive-sized stores has changed the kinds of models and ads I see on sites and social media.
And yet, that extra almost 10 pounds was too much.
My husband, too, has gained a not-insignificant amount of weight. He suggested that we go on a diet together. And not just, track-what-we-eat-and-work-out-together diet, but a pay-a-bunch-of-money-for-a-bunch-of-shakes-and-program diet. A sister of a friend was part of one of these plans, always filling her timeline with fitspiration posts. I had to unfollow her because of it. But, I was also desperate.
(And, my husband is in no way pressuring me to lose weight. He just knows that my weight makes me miserable.)
So I took the call and I paid the money and I watched the videos and I felt icky and hopeful and icky for feeling hopeful and feeling like a bad parent and role model and a hypocrite. They said “lifestyle change”; I know they mean diet. She asked me my goal weight and I said I’d be happy losing 10-15 pounds so my clothes fit better. Dream bigger, she said, don’t you want to be a size 10?
Last time I was a size 10 was in college and it coincided with a major depressive episode. I do not want to be a size 10 again. I don’t want to be a size 10 and hungry and lethargic and buy all new clothes that eventually won’t fit anyway because I will put the weight back on, it’s inevitable. I just want my clothes that I do have and actually love (and not just tolerate) to fit a bit better.
So I drink the shakes and the gallon of water a day and clean food and portion control and supplements because fuck it. The green apple and almond butter I just had as a snack wasn’t so bad. I force myself to stop at one, instead of cutting another one up and spooning out more almond butter. I explain to my kids that their parents are doing this to get healthier, to create new and better habits around food and eating.
I am hungry and cranky and can’t believe I’m doing this again and disappointed in myself and wish it wasn’t so fucking hard. I don’t wish I was thin; I was thin and it didn’t make me any happier. I just wish…
I just wish none of it mattered as much as it does.