When your 12-year-old daughter points out something like this, it isn’t encouraging.
I like food. Always have, always will.
I also like to cook. The more I practice, the better I’m becoming. Having a family of four to eat my concoctions is incredibly helpful. And food makes people happy.
I was never “that girl that doesn’t eat because she thinks she’s fat.” I was always “that girl that chows down like she means it.” And hey — my body runs on food. Doesn’t yours?
But once in a while, the malaise sets in. It’s the reality of being the fat person in the relationship, the room, the office, or the company. That’s when I seek to try something new.
I went bathing suit shopping last week, and it was pure hell. I took my two kids with me, because somehow my subconscious thought bathing suit shopping was not punishment enough by itself. Looking at the itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis from the “Women’s Plus” section was worse than depressing. Having rambunctious kids running around made it worse.
One way or another, I’ve been dieting since my daughter was born in 2006. I’ve gone vegetarian. I’ve done the South Beach Diet. Atkins. The 20/20 Diet. Keto. Even the paid plans like Isagenix. Right now, the book The Super Metabolism Diet — which makes a lot of sense, actually — is sitting on the end table in my living room.
I worked out like crazy in my early 30s and lost forty or fifty pounds of baby weight after my second child. I looked good. I felt good.
With my divorce, I lost more weight because of the stress. It seemed that no matter what I ate, I couldn’t gain weight.
Then I started gaining weight.
I was 175 pounds in 2011.
I was 190 pounds in 2013.
I was 200 pounds in 2015.
Now, three years later, I’m topping the scales at 221. And that’s after I lost five pounds. My metabolic slowdown is almost complete. At some point, I will certainly become a slug.
Until now, I never thought about weight limits on chairs or ladders before, but now I do. That by itself is bothering me.
So I read a lot of diet books.
Last night, when my 12-year-old asked me why I am “obsessed” with diet books, I answered, “Because I want to be healthy.”
But there’s more to it than that.
Ten years ago, I was a vegetarian. I exercised every day. My waist became trim and I was a size 10 — the smallest I’d been since I was 21. At 5'8", that’s about as thin as I’d ever want to be.
Today, I just can’t seem to summon the motivation to exercise. It’s not that I don’t want to do it. It’s just that sleep is so much more important.
So I read diet books. And I look for ways to absorb fat-burning tips from others. And with this last book, The Super Metabolism Diet, I’m learning a lot. David Zinczenko (author of the Eat This, Not That books) breaks down the science of weight loss and weight gain and explains it to his readers as if, well, they’re all like me: completely clueless.
So right now, the day’s food regimen includes a tall glass of water as soon as I wake up, one Brazil nut in the morning, and a ton of protein throughout the day. Like, ridiculous amounts of protein. Eggs and oatmeal and green tea for breakfast kind of protein. Tuna fish on salad and avocado and slices of cheese kind of protein. Eight ounce steaks and quinoa and green vegetables for dinner kind of protein.
Since I began writing this article, I’ve lost a pound and a half. Hopefully, I’ve rebooted my metabolism a bit.
But the truth is, all diets begin well. I lose a few pounds, and then a month later, I’m back to the same weight.
I’m tired of it.
This brings me back to my snarky kid, who pointed out my addiction to diet books.
She’s 12 years old, fit, beautiful, and loves to run around outside. She has always eaten her vegetables… ever since she was a baby. (Sure, she snacks like it’s going out of style, but most of those snacks are pretty balanced.)
My son, also a bit snarky, is 10. He frequently chooses fruit as an alternative to fries when we [infrequently] order fast food.
These kids are making good choices. Yes, I pushed them, but they are also their own people. They choose protein-rich foods and eat their vegetables. Although we always have a stock of ramen noodles in our pantry, my kids aren’t going through them like I did at their age — at a rate of one per day — just to fill their bellies.
I hope they won’t repeat the mistakes I’ve made.
So, kiddo, the reason I am — as you put it — “obsessed with diet books” — is not because I want to be thin.
It’s because I want to be healthy.
It’s because I want to lose the weight that makes me feel so tired all the time.
It’s because I want to have energy again — enough to run around with you outside and be able to watch a movie in the evening, instead of sleeping through half of it.
It’s because I’m tired of buying new clothes that only fit me for six months before I have to go buy the larger size.
It’s because I already have a DD bosom and size 10 feet, and I’d really like to get control of what I can in the middle.
It’s because my bone structure in my face is beautiful, and I’d really like to see it again.
It’s because being your mother means I need to set a good example for you and your brother by incorporating exercise into my everyday routine.
Above all, it’s because I want to be around when your children — my grandchildren — are born. If I’m lucky, I’ll be there when they graduate high school.
So, dear heart, thank you for the reminder.
I’ll be clearing off the treadmill tonight.
Esther Hofknecht Curtis, MSM-HCA is a freelance writer living in Dover, Delaware. Follow her on Facebook — go to https://www.facebook.com/TheArdentReader19977/