The Stranger in the Mirror
Have you ever woken up to see a really large, awful number staring at you? Mine is a blue monster, glowing up at me from below.
The monster grows larger sometimes, and it’s damn hard to shrink it.
I never used to struggle with weight. But sometime in my late teens at an all-you-can-eat college cafeteria, something happened.
Gone was my metabolism. Whatever had kept me rather svelte during high school vanished with a poof into three jeans sizes in college. In the past eight years, I’ve bounced back and forth between a size four and a size ten, the latter of which may not seem that large. But somewhere in the middle of last night’s Midnight Baking Spree, I looked down and had the horrible feeling that I was pregnant.
I sucked in my stomach as far as it would go — and it wasn’t far.
I’m not pregnant. The bulge isn’t in my stomach (or rather, uterus). It’s on my stomach. I’m wearing a suit I can’t take off.
Many people struggle with weight loss, especially in America where one in three-ish (I’m assuming this hasn’t changed) people are overweight. And judging by the blue monster, I’m one of them. By about fifteen pounds.
People here also tend to assess this issue on a comparative basis. Which is to say, if I wear a smaller pants size than someone, I therefore have nothing to worry about. I disagree.
Here’s what I’ve noticed since putting on 25 pounds in the last year (two pounds a month since my wedding):
- I’m sluggish
- I eat when I’m not hungry
- I get out of breath faster
- My knees hurt
- My mentality has shifted
- I feel resentful if I try to cut out foods
- And every single day, I tell myself tomorrow is going to be different.
I know I don’t look like it, but I feel like this:
Part of it is stress, but if I keep blaming external stimuli for my body becoming something I don’t want it to be, nothing will ever change. It’s something that is completely within my control — I’ve just been neglecting to do the right thing.
I look what my frame is wearing, and it’s not something I’m comfortable in. I can’t decorate it the way I want to, and it makes moving around awkward. It makes me embarrassed to go swimming (which is one of my favourite things to do), and while at five foot ten the pounds don’t show up as distinctly on me as they do on someone several inches shorter, they’re still there. And I know that when I moved here to Maryland, I was happy and healthy and almost forty pounds lighter.
If you struggle with weight, think of how much stands between you and your goal. Now go find something that weighs that much. A sack of flour, or a bag of bulk rice. A box of lemons or a few gallons of milk. Pick it up. Carry it around for a little while.
That’s what your body is hauling around.
My body is hauling around a forty pound sack of rice. Every day. Everywhere I go. Up stairs and across streets. Into my bed and the shower and everywhere in between. Forty pounds of extra stress on my bones, my joints, and my cartilage.
So today, gentle viewers, I’m vowing to change it. It’ll take some time, but I am going to get this weight off. I am going to put down the sack of rice once and for all. I’m going to say goodbye to the stranger in the mirror.
Besides, it’s tough to survive the zombie apocalypse when you have to carry a sack of rice around.
Do you struggle with weight issues? If you’re not in America, do you find it easy to maintain weight? If you are in America, what do you feel holds you back from making the choices you need to go from obese or overweight to “healthy?”