I woke up fat not long ago. Not Lifetime Network and TLC fighting for the rights to my story fat, but definitely heavier than I’ve ever been. And logically I know it happened over time, but the older I get, the faster time seems to fly. Remember how long it took to go from your 16 year milestone of getting a driver’s license to your 21 year milestone of being able to drink legally? Eons! I had to drink illegally for years just to cope with time’s refusal to hurry the hell up. Those were the slowest five years of my life. Do you know how long the most recent five years took to pass? About 37 minutes. At this rate I’ll be dead before I finish this post.
Anyway, to the best of my recollection, I cursed the gods of menopause and their hot-flash, mood-swing bullshit, took a nap and awoke to find myself the proud owner of 40 new pounds. And I suppose that were I planning to climb Everest or compete in the Iditarod, I’d be glad to have this extra layer of insulating blubber. But I’m in Southern California where we’re already seeing signs of the summer to come, and it’s clear that fat will not be my friend when temperatures pass the 100 degree mark in the coming weeks.
But what’s really weird is how quickly the shame set in. I’ve been fat for less than a year and my confidence has already taken a major nose dive. I feel like I’ll be judged or mocked, like I’ve done something wrong or that it’s my fault. And, truth be told, I do need to take some of the blame. Menopause and depression chipped in, but I’ve never seen a fitness program than advocates laying in bed drawing cartoons, fortified by a variety of fast foods. So I need to take the hit on that aspect. The thing is, except for a few, scattered runs at healthy living, doing funnel cake bongs while prone has always worked for me. So my diet and behaviors haven’t changed, but my body’s willingness to let it slide sure has.
For most of my life I’ve been one of those annoying people who don’t have to worry about what they eat. I was always relatively small and just figured I took after my paternal grandmother who was also rather diminutive … and kept getting smaller and smaller as she got older. At family gatherings we eventually had to put her in a shoebox with air holes punched in the lid just to keep her from getting stepped on. So, since I never had to watch what I ate, it didn’t occur to me that I might have to start paying attention until it was too late. Now I’m concerned that the “losing weight post-menopause is damn near impossible” rumors might be true and I’ll be stuck with this gut forever.
It’s odd that becoming a bigger person makes me feel like less of a person. And it’s not because of the tasty little irony nugget tucked into that result. It’s because if a friend complained about a putting on weight, I’d be the first person saying, “Don’ t be ridiculous! You totally rock that bombshell figure.” But now that I’ve got myself in shape to be Lena Dunham’s body-double, I find that while I love curvy women, I don’t love being one.
I know that walking a mile in fat shoes doesn’t compare to the experiences of those who’ve faced a lifetime struggle with weight. But, among other things, my little glimpse into that world has taught me that 1) I don’t like it, and 2) telling someone who’s feeling bad about her appearance that I personally prefer a little meat on the bone is neither relevant nor helpful. So I’m going to stop doing that immediately.
And on the bright side, new body = new wardrobe. BONUS!!