To Be, or Not to Be (Thin, that is)

This picture was taken in my kitchen about nine years ago, when I weighed sixty pounds less than I do now. The weight gain started about eight years ago. I promise you, this change did not result from suddenly becoming a foolish, intemperate glutton. Whatever happened?

After our youngest child was born eleven years ago, my natural, post-baby weight loss plateaued at 185 pounds. I joined a ladies’ exercise group and did a combo of aerobic exercises and mild weight lifting. The result was very pleasing. From that beneficial activity, I lost my desired 25 pounds, taking me down to 160 pounds. Being a tall girl, that poundage was fine with me, plus the class was fun and I was feeling great.

Then . . . BIG MISTAKE HAPPENED. Whatever was it, you may ask? I went on an extremely restrictive DIET for one year. I didn’t want to go on this diet, but succumbed to social pressure. My exercise instructor, who had been so helpful to me after all, wanted the entire class to try the same diet she was on. I faithfully weighed all my food to ensure that the portion sizes were kosher. The food allowed on this diet was all healthful, nourishing food, but in amazingly small portions. After one year, I had lost a total of only 10 pounds, and was the extremely thin person you see in the above picture. I was also very unhappy with my lot in life, since the simple pleasure of dessert was nevermore to be heard of in this diet. I felt like an anorexic, obsessing over the exact amounts of everything I ate.

I stopped the DIET, and resumed eating the temperate portions of healthful foods which I had been eating when I weighed 160 pounds. I was also still exercising at the gym three times a week, and had even graduated to a more intense step aerobics class. The speed with which my body packed on the lard was amazing! I was so dismayed.

This is my theory about what went wrong:

  1. By depriving myself of a normal food intake for such a long time, I convinced my body that it was starving. My poor body was pushed into a mode of saving everything it possibly could to keep me from starvation. Weight gain mode was switched on.
  2. I was in the midst of menopause, when a lady’s metabolism naturally slows down. Double whammy.
  3. I think I was exercising TOO HARD. I forget where I read that this does not help with weight maintenance, but merely burns whatever carbs one has consumed. I’m a bit hazy on this part, not having read about it for a while. All I know is that gentle exercise helped me to lose 25 pounds. On the vigorous exercise regime, I gained weight FAST.
  4. I was going through some mega-stress in my life, which contributes to weight gain also.

So, here I am today at 210 pounds. The children say I look healthier and happier than I did at 150 pounds. I could really be happy with 170 pounds, though, or even 160. I’ve been carrying this weight for about eight years now. I still eat temperately and healthfully. I almost daily go for a one to two-mile walk. However, there is definitely room for improvement, and I have a plan. But . . . Guess what is NOT part of my plan? A diet!

2 Responses to “To Be, or Not to Be (Thin, that is)”

  1. kerri says:

    My mom struggled with eating disorders all her life. When I was very young, she was extremely thin, looking back now, probably border line anorexic. She was ALWAYS on a diet. She was ALWAYS eating sugarless candies, going to weightwatchers, weighing things, weighing herself, comparing herself to every woman in the room. She died of heart failure at 55, weighing around 450 lbs. I can’t even think of dieting. I might cut back on sugar or something, but you could never get me on that diet bandwagon.

  2. Joyce says:

    Oh, Kerri, I am so sorry to hear about your poor mom, and poor you, too, to have lost her so soon. Think of how hard she worked for so many years, but ended up harming herself.

    I am eager to keep talking about this subject, but am restraining myself so I can get some baking and other domestic things done today. 🙂

    I have your blog on my Google feed, and enjoy reading what you have to say.