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Beacon Senior News

How I learned to finally be happy with my weight

Dec 23, 2021 09:27AM ● By Laverne H. Bardy
Close up photo of someones feet in colorful socks on a scale

It seems the entire world is consumed with weight issues. 

Most people want to lose weight. A smaller percentage would like to gain. I will admit to feeling a degree of annoyance for people who are underweight and complain about it. I’m certain that their problem is real to them, but I can’t relate. I would love to know what it feels like to not have to leave the top button of my slacks open and concealed with an over-blouse, or to slip into the ladies’ room to loosen my bra.

My mother had a lovely figure, so she must have known something. All I recall is she drank a lot of water, took a daily multivitamin, and ate a lot of fish. Weight was never discussed, and I didn’t hear the word “calorie” until I was in my 20s and pregnant with my first child.

Until then, I ate any and everything I wanted without guilt, and so did my friends. We all had nice figures despite the fact that we stuffed burgers, fries, milkshakes and chocolate bars down our gullets several times a week. It never crossed our minds that there might be a connection between eating and weight gain because it never occurred to us that our bodies would change.

No one I knew exercised. It simply was not an issue until Jack LaLanne entered the picture. The father of fitness showed up on our tiny TV screens in the early 1950s, working up a sweat as he lifted enormous barbells and did an endless number of push-ups and sit-ups. He pushed himself to the limit even though doctors back then were advising that such strenuous exercise could lead to a heart attack. He proved the doctors wrong when he died of natural causes at 96 years old.

I rarely missed one of his shows. The man had me mesmerized, but I knew better than to do something that might cause me to break a sweat or mess my hair. So I simply watched from the comfort of my couch, nibbling Twinkies and wondering how much larger his biceps could stretch without exploding.

My concerns about weight started with my first pregnancy when, for the first time in my life, everything I ate turned to fat. Apparently, my metabolism had changed because, with the exception of a weekly scoop of ice cream, I wasn’t doing anything different than I had my entire life.

Back then, when women were pregnant they were told they were now “eating for two,” which was all the excuse we needed to occasionally sidestep caution. In my seventh month, my obstetrician betrayed me when he changed his attitude and said, “If you don’t lose some weight, I will not be responsible for the results.” 

Talk about speaking from both sides of his mouth!

From that point on, I’ve spent most waking hours obsessing over what I should and shouldn’t eat, ignoring the rules, focusing on the rules, accepting myself and hating myself.

I’ve joined, quit and rejoined various weight loss groups an infinite number of times. One of my group meetings was held next door to a donut shop. I never knew who the genius was who came up with that plan or how sales and weight were affected, but I can take a wild guess.

At one of my early weight loss meetings, the speaker attempted to convince our group of desperately deprived overeaters that when we make a bologna sandwich, we could replace the bologna with lettuce leaves and, she assured us, we would not know the difference. She failed to consider the fact that even though we were hungry, we were not idiots.

My weight is pretty stable now. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t afford to lose a little more, but I’ve finally come to terms with who I am. I can honestly say that I like myself. After a lifetime of weight loss successes followed by disappointing failures, this yo-yo has finally come to rest.

Best of all, instead of obsessing over food every waking hour, I’ve learned to focus on and develop other interests that allow me to live with a high percentage of positivity and barely any negativity.

I look back at my past versus my present weight-related happiness, and can best sum it up this way: My first husband used to put his hands around my waist and his fingertips touched, but he wasn’t satisfied. My second husband does the same thing—but around my ankles—and he thinks I’m perfect.


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