I have put on weight. Two stone, over a period of 18 months. Some of it has gone on my face, some on my bum, but most of it has gathered around my middle, where it hangs like a half – cooked, dimpled doughnut. And I hate it.
My weight has increased because I have been eating more food, drinking more alcohol, and doing less physical exercise than I used to. I should actually weigh more than I do, given the amount I have been scoffing, and so I consider myself lucky to only be around 30lbs over my ideal weight. I do have a very busy life, I walk the dog every day, and I exercise sporadically. However, there is no denying the fact that I have let myself ‘go’, as they say, and I can only blame myself.
So why have I allowed this to happen? Am I just lazy and greedy? Is it down to my age? Maybe a little bit of both of those, but mostly it is psychological and emotional.
I always function better when there is something definite I am working towards, something I know I have half a chance of making happen, even if it means I scrape in at the very last second. I worked in advertising sales for years, and became target/goal oriented, selling my socks off and then tearing around like a maniac to get the copy in, with seconds to go before deadline (my supervisor regularly wanted to kill me). Working towards the achievement of a particular goal helped me to keep going when there were situations I couldn’t control, too. At a particularly difficult time in my life, I lost 4 stone in a short space of time, and I was ruthless in the process; walking for mile after mile, exercising, and going to bed hungry every night…I was absolutely determined. I kept that weight off for years, too, but looking back, I recognise that the pound shedding was something I had some degree of control over, at a time when so many things in my life seemed beyond my control.
Fast forward 12 years, and I weighed 7st 12lb. I could easily fit into my motorbike leathers, and despite having a little jelly – belly (that no amount of exercise could shift), I was fit and nimble, and didn’t overeat. It wasn’t hard for me to maintain this weight, it wasn’t a big effort. And going to periodic motorbike rallies was an incentive to me, as was riding my bike. This might seem silly to other people, but it was important to me. I could still go to rallies, of course, slim or chubby, but I really preferred being slim. But then my bike broke down, and my partner had an accident, badly breaking bones in his heel, meaning he could not work or ride HIS bike, which had developed an oil leak that seemed impossible to sort out. For months he was unable to walk, and so I was having to work extra hard to try and cover the income, as well as doing the stuff that he would normally do, such as cutting the grass and hedges, as well as having to do all of the housework and cooking etc. There were no bike rallies, and not enough money to repair my bike, and not much of a light at the end of that particular tunnel, as it became clear that his recovery was going to be a long one.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a pity – me story. We actually managed really well, and I was impressed by how much he pushed himself to do, on crutches, or hopping on one foot. But it all became about getting by, and I lost my charge, my motivation, where my weight was concerned. I started to reward myself with food and drink at the end of a long, busy day, and as the summer disappeared, so did my waistline. And then winter clothes covered up the developing blubber, and I just kept adding to it. This spring came and went, and he is a whole lot better, but still not able to walk properly over too long a distance. There is still not enough money to get the bikes sorted, and my beloved leather jacket and waistcoat are hanging in my office, colourful badges reminding me of happy times, and my heart lifts every time I walk through the door. “I’ll be back!” I promise them…”I WILL fit into you again!”
And today, 4th September 2017, I glanced at myself in the mirror whilst getting dressed, and felt sad. I recognised that the excess 2 stone is not just about weight, it is about hopes and dreams put on hold. It isn’t about food or diets or exercise, it is about hibernation. And of course none of this really makes sense, because it is about emotion, rather than logic. The weight stands between the old me and my bigger hopes and dreams. The weight is tied up with the idea of failure, in my illogical mind, and the sadness comes from the sense of being the child with its nose pressed up against the sweet shop window, longingly looking in without being able to enter. I could have made the effort to lose the dimpled doughnut, but somehow, weirdly, it became the doorkeeper. It had to stay until the other things I really wanted to do and be became possible. It became so tied up with them it couldn’t be released until I was in a position to make the headway I so wanted to. As I said, none of it makes sense, and I am now determined to break free of this frustrating catch – 22, shake off the layers and reclaim myself. The rest will follow.
I am not saying that no – one should carry extra pounds. I think curvy women look great (I am not curvy, I am apple shaped), and I prefer men with a bit of a build…I don’t even mind moobs. This is not about judgement. We each have our own sense of self, and we decide for ourselves how we want to look and feel and be. It’s always an inside job. Overeating is never about food, is it? It is about comfort, or reward, or habit. It is about self – protection, or self – sabotage. It is also about deflection. If I am honest, although I have been proud to have managed to keep going, I have also been disappointed to yet again be delaying some of the things I want to do. Rather than express that in the outer world, I have expressed it through comfort eating. But it really, really is time to sort it out, not for vanity’s sake, but for progression and forward movement. And for the clothes I haven’t worn for so long, packed away in bin bags in my wardrobe. And for my bike leathers. I am sixty years old this December, and I swear, I am going to ROCK my sixtieth year!