I gained 10 lbs.
I just stepped on the scale and to my horror I saw that I gained 10 lbs. The scale showed me a number that I haven’t seen in years.
Actually, I gained more like 13 lbs, but I’ve decided to round down.
I had been exercising every day for the last little bit and I do eat healthily (for the most part, except for my new Kettle chip addiction) but I had stopped weighing myself months ago, weighing myself only intermittently and not obsessively everyday like I did for the past four years. When I last weighed myself two months ago, I was satisfied to see that this method had worked since I saw that I hadn’t gained anything. But this morning, the bomb shell dropped.
This year has been less than glamorous (to say the least) and this 10 lbs is just evidence of the effects of the past 9 months (9 lbs plus 1 more for good measure I suppose).
As soon as I stepped off of the scale, I went through an array of emotions:
Denial (But I still look the same! It’s hardly noticeable. My clothes don’t fit differently… Stupid scale.)
Recognition, realization and acknowledgement (I have weighed myself in the same spot, with this same scale, on this same exact ceramic tile over the years. The only changed variable is my weight. The scale is not lying. I have been a little more sedentary lately…)
Frustration (Really Simone? Really? I have been here too many times before…)
Discouragement (I have to try to lose weight again… but what will I do this time? I don’t want to do this…)…
…and an annoying need for validation (I need someone to tell me that I’m okay. I need someone to tell me that I’m not fat. Who can I call? Who can I text? Who can I lament to who won’t think I’m needy or overly insecure or searching for attention?)
I was then soon flooded by an avalanche of thoughts:
How could I have let this happen? You loss 30lbs before and managed to keep it off for four years and now they have started to creep back on in the span of two months…*Argh*
Remember what you looked like when you were heavier? Do you want to look like that again?
Why can’t I just have a high metabolism?!! Stupid thyroid…
Should I even eat breakfast? Do I even eat food today? Suddenly I have lost my appetite…
I don’t even know if I even remember how to lose weight. I don’t want to go on this journey again. I hate the weight loss process. The last time was so hard…
Who will love me now?
I couldn’t use the “maybe I gained muscle mass” excuse because I know I didn’t gain 13 lbs of muscle mass in 8 weeks. I couldn’t really use the “water retention” excuse because I’ve never had trouble with water retention and plus I had peed before I stepped on the scale.
I felt like trying on all of the clothes in my closet to prove to myself that they still fit — and that I wasn’t fat.
I sat down on my couch with the blinds closed, naked, looking down at my belly, feeling defeated and hideous.
And I thought to myself: “Boy I could really use an encouraging inspiring word right now but I don’t know where I would find it… It would be really nice if I could read something encouraging that meets me where I am at now – right at this very moment.”
And then I thought, “I could blog about it…” I mean, that is why I blog. I write the things I want to read. People might think I’m trying to establish a platform, or seek attention or encourage others. But the real reason I write (both online and in my journal) is so that I can register my discontent, so that my discontent is no longer intangible but rather intelligible, codified and “made real,” and so that I can go back and read what I have written, so I never again have to be in want of something inspiring to read in a time of need. I find that there is something deeply satisfying about that.
And I know that I am not alone in how I’ve been feeling or how I felt this morning about my body.
So I wrote this post. I wrote what I need to read and hear.
What I want to read and what I needed to hear is that:
- I need to remember what the scale shows and what this number actually means. The scale only shows the numerical relationship between my body and gravity. It shows nothing else beyond that. It doesn’t show my BMI (which I know is BS). It doesn’t show my muscle mass. On its own, it isn’t a marker of health and it does not indicate athletic ability or strength (physical or emotional). It cannot account for the many changes that have happened in my life. It’s just a number. I am more than a number.
- I am still worthy of love and life and success and all of the good things this life has to offer me – whether or not I gain or lose weight.
- I am still drop dead gorgeous. I am still the same person I was yesterday. I am still a great daughter, sister and aunt. I am still a good person.
- There are many women larger than me who are rocking their curves. I know full well that I can still be hot and heavy, full-figured and foxy, voluptuous and very sexy.
- The weight came on one pound at a time so it can be lost one pound at a time. I’ve done it before. I can do it again.
- I know my body, and I know I’m not a skinny chick and never will be. My life will be one of various weight fluctuations. Depending on what is going on in my life at the moment, I will gain and I will lose and that’s okay. Today is just an example of one such fluctuation. I had a hard year. I need to forgive myself and cut myself some slack. I’m gonna let my body just be, and sometimes that might mean fat and sometimes that might mean fitter. I’m doing the best I can. If and when I can do better, I will. No biggy.
I find that in the rare instances when I do work up the courage to voice my body image woes, people will sometimes say all manner of things to me. So, to be clear:
I know I have put this out in the open in the public sphere. However, this is not an invitation to bring my weight gain to my attention. If you see me, this is not an invitation to comment on my body. This is not an invitation to start weight-related conversations with me, because no matter what size I have been or am, such conversations have always been uncomfortable. Also, as evidenced by this post, I know that I have gained weight (and commenting on people’s weight in general is problematic – I’ll have to write about that another time).
This is not an invitation to tell me about juice fasts, new diets, P90X, HIIT or any other exercise or nutrition program that I should try. I don’t need unsolicited advice.
This is not an invitation to police my body or what I put in my mouth. I’m an adult, and personal agency is important to me. If I need your help or want your opinion, don’t worry — I will let you know.
This is not an invitation for your pity and sympathy. Just talk to me normally, as if you don’t notice anything different.
This is an invitation, however, for connection, compassion and empathy.
This is an invitation, however, to show grace: For me to show grace to myself and to show grace to you and others and for you to show me grace and extend the same grace to yourself and to others too.
I don’t know about you dear reader, but I am going to put on some clothes, draw the blinds, let the rays of sunshine stream in, and go for a walk. I may even go to the gym. I am going to bask in the beautiful fact that I still have a body, bathe in the idea that I still have breath, and revel in the revelation that I can still move.
There. That was freeing. I feel so much better.
We’re quick to post our best selfies and accomplishments on Facebook. But that only shows one side of the story. No one ever posts, “I gained 10 lbs!” like I just did, or “I had a still birth!” or “I have beef with my family!” or “I’m depressed!!” on social media. Yes, there is something to be said about privacy, but I’m always wondering about how wonderful it would be if we were all just a little more authentic. What if we were real?
I think the following song, “What if We Were Real” is apropos, and coincidentally it is sung by a woman who has struggled with her own weight but has always been classy through it all (and the song just so happens to be one of my gym jams):
Ooh…and I’ll post this for good measure, especially for the first 3 minutes of the video: