In the winter, you can pretend you’re not fat. Big sweaters, down comforters, and being stuck inside due to two dozen ice and snowstorms makes it easy to pretend those cute shorts from last summer are still going to fit. But spring is finally arriving and those damned shorts aren’t going to fit.
I have gained and lost the same 20 pounds probably a dozen times, with a bunch of pregnancies and four childbirths thrown into the mix. So you’d think, when leaning toward the 50 side of age 45, it wouldn’t matter anymore. But this is a world full of people who care; we’re surrounded. I have several hot, fit women friends including a personal trainer and even a triathlete who jokes around on her blog about all her accomplished-athlete friends and how they eat donuts after races.
I eat donuts and don’t have races. I need chocolate and bacon, am cranky and hungry at the prospect of eating granola and yogurt in the morning, and do not like dieting. I dieted and lost 50 pounds and looked great and felt hot and it was fun and then a bunch of shit happened and suddenly about half that weight is back. I don’t want the rest of it back. It’s not like there’s a possibility of wearing a bikini on the beach this or any summer, God help the beach, but it’d be nice not to hate walking by a mirror. Entire blogs are dedicated to fat acceptance, and though it would be easy to slip away into a full-time elastic waistband lifestyle, I seem to have a mental weight max (the size 12-to-14 range, the average American size for a woman), and though I tried going into a plus-size store once, I felt evil glares, like I wasn’t plus-size enough. There really needs to be a store for women my size; there is not.
Upon approaching 50, it seems clear that there are exactly three main approaches to being a little bit overweight. One is to quit bitching and lose weight. The second is to become wealthy so that you can get a tummy tuck and breast reduction (and liposuction and Botox and laser skin correction) and become hot through the magic and talents of skilled plastic surgeons. And a third is to accept yourself the way you are and stop caring what anyone thinks.
Since I hate dieting, it’s apparent that undertaking a deprivation program would make everyone around me miserable, dealing with an abnormally high weather forecast chance of bitchnado with strong gusts of psycho. But with the warmer weather comes a thawed Chesapeake Bay and the opportunity to take a kayak out (after a false start) as well as a new bike. Maybe an increased exercise level will help out a little, since there is no viable budget option for the surgeons.
It’d be nice not to care; to smile at the triathlete blog posts and personal training women jogging by while you’re about to drive through McDonald’s for a sausage McGriddle with cheese and hash browns, pondering how impressive and admirable they are but realizing that if you were the last one picked in volleyball in gym class and love carbs, you’ll never be one of them.
It’s officially my goal to get this straightened out before turning 50. Women who turn 50 and are satisfied with their lives, settled and happy and relaxed are inspirational; it would be lovely to have some of that self-acceptance. Maybe women of different sizes have harder or easier times accepting their bodies, but the in-between weight roller coaster thing is for the birds. Somewhere in the middle of “hot” and “self-loathing” is the idea.
—Follow Mary McCarthy on Twitter @marymac.