Why are women so odd about their relationship with their bodies? Actually perhaps I shouldn’t generalise, I don’t know about you, you may be perfectly relaxed, but I wish I were more like my husband. When he thinks he has put on a bit of weight he cuts down for a month or so and loses it. A couple of years on he might say again “Think I am getting a bit too heavy” and back he goes, cuts back a bit on the cream and the beer and the second helpings and gets back into his 34” waist trousers. None of it is very extreme or intense. Mostly he just eats what he likes, is very active and doesn’t think about it too much.
I, on the other hand, think about it a lot. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t look in the mirror and think I could do to lose half a stone. The odd thing is that I think I have been doing this all my adult life although I am now about a stone heavier than I used to be. So that is thirty years of there being an elusive perfect weight at the end of the rainbow, never reached and clearly not a real weight, more a sense of never quite being satisfied. Sad eh?
When I was ill I lost over two stone and was the weight I must last have been at about thirteen. My collar bones stuck out and you could see my ribcage. My trousers hung sadly around my non-existent bum and my jawline was sharp for the first time for years. I hated it. There were many reasons at that time for not feeling like me but my thinness was certainly part of a sense of frailty. I felt I would break if you dropped me.
As I got better I moved through “ideal weight” territory, somewhere around nine stone, and kept going slowly upward, deliberately indulging in doorsteps of Ian’s homemade bread with great wodges of butter, my particular weakness. I ate chocolate and cheerily made cakes and had several slices. I have a friend who, like me, had a cancer scare and who says she felt that she had wasted so many years of her adult life dieting, going to the gym, determinedly keeping herself at the eight stone weight she had been when she was twenty. When the cancer struck she felt her body had failed her and as she recovered she decided she would just give up weight control and eat whatever she liked. Now she is about two stone heavier than she was before her illness and, with her calm and beautiful face, still an attractive and striking woman. The only loss she says is that she has stopped being interested in clothes, as in fashion, because clothes shopping depresses her now she is heavier. So she wears a sort of uniform of soft linen shirts and trousers and is happy in her skin.
I am now about a stone heavier than I used to be and have been thinking in recent months about whether I want to do anything about it. I understand my friend’s point of view and see what she means. Do I want to do it her way and let it go, accept that I am older now and lucky to be here and stop weighing myself and looking in the mirror? Or do I want to return to the way I used to do it, always slightly restricting myself, never really satisfied with my body but liking being a size twelve and regarding maintaining that as a priority? Or is there any chance at all that I could do it Ian’s way, a man’s way? More low level but constant activity, a pair of trousers as a guide, just eat a bit less. Not a big deal.
Answers/experiences/advice on a virtual postcard please. What do you do?