Finding the Happy Medium
I always love telling the story of my mom getting her Driver’s License and encountering the Universal DMV Dilemma of what to enter as her weight. She worried about it for weeks until her 16th birthday finally came around and she was forced to settle on a number. In the end she chose 112 pounds because she hoped she could pass for that. Anything to avoid divulging that her true weight was 108 lbs because OHMYGOD that just sounded soo skinny! Honestly if we didn’t have photographic proof from the hospital I would question whether or not we were actually related.
I have never in my life felt compelled to downplay my skinny. In fact, I have always taken after my dad’s side of the family which is a combination of One Part German Stock, One Part Career as an NFL lineman, and basically yields no genetic chance that I will ever be able look down at my thighs the way my mother did in her adolescence and curse the fact that they don’t touch. At 5’10 I’m one of the shortest people in my family and after years of fighting it, I have come to accept that my family excels in the category of making big people – it’s just part of who we are – we are all unique snowflakes, right? (Although with multiple babies born at over 10 lbs and a set of twins weighing almost 18 lbs, don’t even get me started on my fear of childbirth as a member of this family.)
Despite accepting the fact that I come from big people, I’m sort of at a crossroads in my life when it comes my size. There is a big difference between acknowledging that you will never be a certain body type and using that as an excuse to let yourself maintain a weight that is just unhealthy and the truth is right now, crazy genetics or not, I’m carrying a lot of extra weight. So much extra weight, that if I told you, you would probably gasp audibly. I’ll save that for another post, maybe. Coming Attractions! It’s crazier than the end of Inception. You can’t wait, I’m sure.
When I think about the big picture of my life though, I don’t want to measure it in pounds. The thrilling yo-yo diet decade that was my 20s really underscored that for me. I’ve lived the obsessive calorie counting, the points documenting, the exercise tracking kind of life. I’ve been on a diet, or felt guilty because I wasn’t on one, since my first foray into Weight Watchers when I was 8 and my ballet teacher told me I would be perfect if I could “just lose 20 lbs.” With all of that experience I have, of course, had some successes but they cost me my sanity a number of times and now that I’m older and wiser (ha!) I’m much less willing to compromise on that issue (god I love my 30s!) because what kind of life is that? However, and this is a big however, I’m still heavy. And even though I don’t want to become obsessed with my weight, I also don’t want my life to pass me by and have my health hold me back.
I bring all of this up for a few reasons. One is that I have this burning desire to share TMI with the internet. I don’t know how that happened, but it did, and there’s no turning back now. The other slightly more pressing reason is that in the next two years I want to have a baby (please hold me if it ends up being more than 10 lbs) and I know that starting a journey of that importance carrying all of this extra weight will not do me, or my baby any favors, and I can’t in good conscience knowingly do that to my child. Something’s gotta give, so here we are.
Having broad shoulders and muscular thighs may not be my favorite NFL lineman body type I was dealt. But there was one fantastic thing that came out of being raised by a professional athlete: tenacity. I’m never going to give up trying to be the best version of myself. I firmly believe that I can do anything if I put my mind to it, and even though my weight is this monkey on my back that I just can’t seem to free myself from, I am not ready to give up. So thanks in advance for letting me share my journey in this space – if nothing else, it should be a wild ride.