Five Christmases ago I was waltzing around in a grape colored sheath, nude platform heels, and a trim size six body. I passed on the gravy, eschewed the pecan pie, and worried obsessively that the half glass of eggnog I nursed would cause me to gain two pounds. Worried over my “enormous” thighs, I was back at the gym on December 26, pounding away in my well worn Asics on the treadmill.
Man have things changed.
Five Christmases later and fifty pounds heavier, my lips are flecked with white powder from a second slice of German stollen, and my billowy, inky black blouse – an XL – covers a protruding, menopausal belly. Although I’m not shoveling in ham and sweet potato pie in my cake hole at rapid speed, I’m not exactly saying no to it either. No longer holding the title of MILF, or accepting those “you look fabulous” compliments, I now smile fakely when yet another person says, “Oh you have such a pretty face,” which basically translates to – She got fat!
Yes, I got fat. And in the type of society we live in, and the pressure we women are under to look on fleek, you’d think I sent my children out to play in the cold without undershirts and hats.
Oh, right, I do that too.
What I’ve done is unthinkable. I’ve gone from svelte, hottie mom to a chubby, forty-something, hot flashing woman accidentally bumping into people with my barrel butt. But that’s not the unthinkable part. What’s shocking is I’ve managed to pile on pounds, lose my skinny girl status, and hang up my slim cut jeans all without giving a rat’s prickly ass. I just don’t care that much that I’m fat.
Five years ago I would have had a ridiculous panic attack if I gained a few pounds, or felt my paisley Garnet Hill sweater getting too snug, but priorities change. Life changes. I’ve changed.
To begin with, I am going through early menopause. I remember seeing commercials in my thirties, asking, Do you have night sweats? Mood Swings? Unwanted belly fat? and thinking that will never be me. Guess what? The struggle is real. Where there once was a taut stomach, now a layer or two of jiggly fat encompasses my middle. I’m sweating like a pig, and I burst into tears over the fact that I’ll never see Glenn on The Walking Dead again. Those commercials I used to scoff at are now speaking directly to me.
Secondly, I am working way more long hours than I used to, trying to stay afloat as a single mother. After standing for nine hours on chubby legs, I just don’t feel like coming home and dicing cucumbers and bell peppers, or meal planning. Some nights I’m so exhausted I end up tearing open a bag of Doritos and eating it while watching Golden Girls re-runs. And you know what? I’m not ashamed. Yes I should be making healthier choices, taking better care of myself, but I refuse to beat myself up for being human.
Probably the biggest change in my life, bigger than menopause, or working a new job, or being single, was the change in my attitude and outlook on how I view myself. I no longer measure my success by the number on the scale, by the number on the tag of that grape sheath. I’ve forged new ways to feel successful, such as publishing a new article, catching my children behaving well, having a full tank of gas in the car and a gallon of milk in the fridge. For me, this is success.
That’s not to say I don’t miss my formerly hot self. I mourn the loss of my firm ass, slender neck, tiny waist. But I’m also able to embrace my newly ample breasts, wider hips, fuller face. Hey I don’t need collagen!
I may not totally like my body and the way that pesky roll spills out over the top of my black slacks, but I do love myself and refuse to participate in the negative self talk that fills the heads of so many women. I am more than a measurement. I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a coworker, a writer, a practical joker, and yes, right now I am overweight. But that’s okay.
Therefore, this month I will NOT be making the resolution to lose weight. Nor will I be participating in diet’s cunning cousin, commonly known as “getting healthy.” That terminology makes me want to roll my eyes, because let’s admit it, whenever we say we aim to get healthy, we are not really interested in lowering our blood pressure, or being more agile. We are secretly wishing that the number on that scale will drop.
In 2017 I may vow to yell a little less, stress a little less, and spend a little less, but I refuse to vow to weigh a little less.
Because honestly, life is too short to obsess over thighs.