I’ve searched my entire life for the perfect diet and tried just about every single one, from Atkins to Paleo, to the 4-Hour Body, to fasting. I’ve never been more than about five to ten pounds overweight at any given time, but the thought of letting it go beyond that scares the crap out of me, so I have become obsessive about diet and good nutrition.
I have a pair of brown corduroy cutoff shorts from when I was eighteen. Those shorts have become my guideline—my measuring tape, if you will. For the most part, I don’t go near those bad boys if I’m feeling fat. It’s only when I’m starting to feel skinny again that I pull them out. The big test is whether I can zip and button them—even if they’re tight.
I tend to lose weight when I’m depressed, like when I went through all three of my divorces. Each of those times, I probably weighed in at about 110 lbs. My sisters and my daughter would all yell at me about being “too skinny,” but I loved being that skinny, and I fit into all of my clothes—even the brown corduroy cutoffs. When I was that skinny, some of my “fat clothes” were so loose that I could pull them off without unbuttoning them (ahh, those were the days).
Ideally, I’d like to weigh 125 to 130, since I am only about 5 ft 3. I refuse to get on the scale, since I’m sure I can tell how much I weigh by how my clothes fit. I look at the dust-covered scale hidden under my bed with disdain, believing somehow that it holds the key to my happiness. Whenever I feel fat, I pretend all my jeans still fit because they have a touch of lycra in them so the stretchiness lies to me.
Most women can attest to the fact that buying jeans is one of the most stressful things in life. Who hasn’t tried on at least ten to twenty pairs before finding the only one that compliments your butt? I hated it when hip-hugger jeans came back into style. Whoever said those were flattering? Okay, so “Mom” jeans look goofy, but let’s face it, they flatter a womanly shape much more than hip huggers, which display “muffin tops” on anyone over thirty-five with hips or a butt. Nevertheless, I jumped on the hip-hugger bandwagon, but I found myself tugging the back of my jeans whenever I sat down, lest I reveal the dreaded “plumber’s crack” or my thong underwear (but don’t get me started on those).
“Someday I’ll be confident enough to get on it again,” I think to myself. But it has been years—I don’t even let my doctor weigh me. It’s my right, after all, to refuse, although they always make you feel that you have to step on the scale. I have this secret fear that there is a scale hidden under the examination table. And yes, I realize it’s probably just a table…
I know by how my clothes fit that I have not been below 130 lbs. since my last divorce, about seven years ago. And that was the last time I tried on those corduroy cutoffs.
It's the little things, like when you throw on a pair of capris that have always fit comfortably and are now tight, or when your favorite sundress is hard to zip up the back, or when you notice you have bra overhang and back fat. BACK FAT! That’s a new one for me, and I’m having real trouble with it.
When those things happen, I throw on my sneakers and start running again, and I pick up the latest fad diet and go at it with gusto.
"Hmm, THE WHOLE30® PROGRAM. That looks new and interesting!” You only have to give up sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol for 30 days. But wait, isn’t it just like the last one I tried? The new name intrigues me, and my daughter is doing it, so why not!
I am always dedicated to my diets, but, invariably, once I lose the weight, I go back to being relaxed and careless about what I shove into my mouth.
“Kale, schmale—are those Doritos you’re snacking on?” I say to my husband, as I lick my chops. Suddenly, the rules of healthy eating fly out the window as soon as I “feel skinny” again. And thus the wheel turns. It never stops. But I have realized that my carefree non-diet, if you will, is an indication of my happiness, so I think I will trade in my weight obsession for happiness—at least for today.
For those of you who have been on this roller coaster like me, try this: Stop obsessing! Eat simply, eat raw, cut out most carbs, reduce alcohol and sugar. There is balance in everything. Cut out some, indulge in others, but approach your eating with moderation. I have found that some combination of all, or a few, of my old diets work best. Above all, attitude is most important. Once you learn to think thin and healthy and adjust your attitude, you can achieve great results… Just believe in yourself, and believe that you are beautiful!