This morning I’m eight pounds away from achieving my fifty-pound weight loss goal. Hell to the yeah.
I’d like to say that my weight loss journey started with an empowering goal of getting healthy and nurturing myself.
My weight loss journey started when I met a guy I wanted to get naked with.
I had that startling realization about ten minutes after meeting him. Startling because I hadn’t been really—and I mean holy-crap-hello-hormones really—attracted to someone other than The Ex in so many years I’d forgotten how delicious that feels. A nanosecond later I realized that no matter how flirty this new guy was and how seemingly okay with my body he was, I wasn’t comfortable with my body. I hated the forty-five pounds of bad marriage weight I carried.
Bad marriage weight is what piles on when you’re sucking down wine and cramming Oreos in your mouth every night because you’re miserable, and unable to face just how miserable, so you stuff those feelings with alcohol and sugar.
I did fifty pounds of stuffing over the last ten years of my marriage. By the time I met Hook-up Guy, I’d accidentally lost five pounds, but that left forty-five extra pounds to confront as I stood naked in front of the mirror the next morning and took stock.
Most dieters have this moment of reckoning. As someone who’s battled weight her whole life, I’ve had more than one.
On this particular morning in December, regret sank through me as I stared at my full-length reflection. My body was a manifestation of how much I’d neglected myself over the years, how shutdown I’d become to the things that make me happy. Not happy in the moment—that’s the wine and Oreos—but the things that make me deeply joyful. Although during the first half of our relationship, The Ex and I were good for each other, during the last half, I racked up loss after loss. My body was one.
You have to be ready to confront reality in order to truly look at yourself for the first time in a long time. You may think you’re confronting your physical reality, but what you’re experiencing is emotional truth.
I turned from the mirror and surveyed my closet. I flipped through hangers and riffled through drawers. Every item of clothing strengthened an undertow of sorrow. A year-and-a-half past my break-up, this was not a new feeling.
This was my body? These were the clothes I lived in?
When the hell did this happen?
I returned to the mirror and made my Scarlett O’Hara vow. “As God is my witness, I will lose forty-five pounds and burn every piece of clothing in this closet.”
Every ratty T-shirt.
Every pair of fat Mom jeans.
All the worn-out cotton underwear.
Every ugly, stretched-out bra.
The prospect of sex always kills my appetite so going back to healthy eating and getting my butt to the gym was easy-peasy. Actually having sex makes me ravenous. Since I’ve lost 37 pounds in the last five months, you can tell how my sex life is going.
But all those nasty, I’m-too-sad-to-care clothes are gone. (To a charity. I didn’t actually burn them. Okay, the underwear is in the landfill.) My closet is filling up with clothes I love. But the best part is I feel good in my body.
I never did get naked with the Hook-up Guy.
I got naked with someone else instead.