by Helen E. H. Madden
Seriously, I have to ask, because I don't usually blog about my weight. I'm considered the skinny-minny in my circle of friends, thought I'm not really skinny. Not fat either, just somewhere in between. However, I have friends who are overweight and I don't usually feel comfortable talking about what I weigh, even though weight does seem to be the topic to discuss among mommy bloggers (of which I am one, as well as an erotica writer).
So what is it about weight and fat, anyway? Why are we so obsessed with it? It's already been pointed out in previous posts this week that we have an obsession with what other people weigh, as though we like to point and stare and say "Hey! Look at the fat people!" Stupid isn't it? Like people who are carrying extra weight deserve to be ridiculed and punished.
I've often heard people say that being fat is a sign of over-indulgence. People who are fat don't just eat too much; they're lazy, slothful, indolent. I don't think I have ever been lazy or slothful. Certainly not in the past couple of years. Between two small children and my writing career, I've been exhaustingly busy.
I've also been overweight, in spite of the fact that I am a so-called skinny-minny.
I haven't been a lot overweight. I've just been stuck with 10 pounds left over from my second pregnancy that I haven't been able to lose to save my life. It's only a problem because my favorite clothes don't fit very well, and because my bum knees ache more at with those extra 10 pounds hanging around my ass. There's also the little problem of the extra weight affecting my menstrual cycle. I don't know why, but weighing an extra 10 pounds causes me to retain more water during my period, so that I'm suddenly carrying an extra 15 pounds and nothing I own fits. Plus they make my period more painful. It's kind of a bummer, you know? So I decided the extra weight needed to go.
But the weight didn't want to budge. I did my damnedest for two years to exercise and eat right, but nothing seemed to work. I went swimming two or three times a week, cranking out the laps. I lifted weights and hopped on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes at a time. I spent five hours a week in karate classes. I sweated and strainged. I fit as much exercise as I could into my busy schedule, and I always looked for new ways to fit in more. Because exercise and activity would burn calories and make me lost weight, right?
Wrong. I'd exercise one day, and be dead tired the next. With two kids and a full workload, I didn't have the luxury of sleeping in, so I'd get up and push myself through my schedule. Even though I ate healthy meals, I was constantly hungry, craving snacks I knew I shouldn't eat - sugar, fat, caffeine. Bad stuff, but those snacks were be about the only thing that could keep me awake so I ate them and trudged through my day - a day that usually ended around midnight, thanks to my workload. Then I'd crawl into bed, get up five hours later and drag myself through the whole routine again.
I went through the past two years like that, always tired, always hungry, and never losing any weight. Things finally came to a head around last Christmas when I got pissed off about not having enough time to enjoy the holidays. My schedule was packed with exercise, work, my daughter's school, and that was it. My inbox was overflowing to the point of craziness. I had no time for anything else, no hobbies, no fun, no lazing around. I had pared down my life to the bare minimum just so I could keep up with my crazy schedule, and it sucked. I wanted to bake cookies, dammit! I wanted to laze on the couch and read the Sunday paper while sipping a hot coffee and eating a piece of toast! I wanted a hot bath with bath oils and smelly candles and a trashy novel!
In short, I wanted back the simple things in my life that I had given up to keep pace with everything else that was going on.
It has taken me four months to turn things around. Slowly but surely I have cleared stuff off my calendar, and in light of this year, I am rethinking next year's schedule. I don't want to work myself to death. I want my simple pleasures, my self-indulgences, back in my life for good.
To give myself more time to enjoy my life and my family, I cut way back on exercise for a while as I straightened out my work. When I got the work under control and could finally get to bed most nights before 10PM, I found a way to exercise that wasn't going to demand too much of me. The Hubster bought me a Wii Fit, and I've been having a blast playing silly games on the thing, all the while losing weight. Not much, just a few pounds, but I'm finally on my way back to my prepregnancy weight.
It seems so strange and yet so wonderful to finally not bust my ass all the time and just relax instead. I had a nice lazy day this past Sunday. I ate breakfast while lingering over the funny pages. I had a long hot bath and read one of my trashy shojo manga (Japanese romance comics - SWEET!). I folded some laundry, had some tea, played around with some artwork on the computer, read stories with the kids, drank a glass of wine and hopped onto the Wii for a bit. A lazy day. A fun day.
A day of indulgence. I want more of them. I want to spend a day over Spring break baking pie with my oldest daughter. I want to pick dandelions with the youngest. I want to sleep in curled up next to my husband. I want to soak in a tub surrounded by flickering candles while reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (it's a real book, no kidding!).
The more I relax and take time to indulge myself, the better I feel. The fact that I'm losing weight as I calm down does not surprise me now. If I can work too hard, if I exhaust myself trying to do everything, I have to pay for it somehow.
If you're having trouble losing weight, try taking a break. Enjoy a nice dinner, enjoy a nice life. Enjoy yourself, no matter what you weigh.
Zaftig Goddess, by Helen E. H. Madden