By Patti Samar
I feel like such a fraud.
As editor and publisher of a women’s magazine, I try to encourage women to just be themselves. Ignore media hype. No body shaming allowed! Just be yourself and it is, indeed, enough.
All of that is absolutely true. It is.
But I didn’t believe it about myself.
The long story short is that over the past five years, I slowly but surely gained a rather sizable pile of weight.
Remember Oprah pulling the little red wagon full of almost 70 pounds of fat? Yeah, I gained almost half that.
The first 10 to 15 pounds weren’t so bad. Most (most!) of my clothes still fit (suck it in!!!). “I’m more than 50 years old…this is just destiny, right?” I lied to myself.
Sure it is destiny if you eat a lot of ice cream and nachos and drink a lot of (okay, probably way too much!) wine. And your exercise habits aren’t what they used to be.
In the end, I stepped on the scale and discovered I had gained 30 pounds. Ouch.
That is like three 10 pound babies. It was as if I was pregnant with triplets. (“Belly? Oh yeah! This belly! I’m pregnant with triplets!” says no 55-year-old menopausal woman ever.)
Remember when, on “Friends,” there was a flashback to when Monica was really heavy in high school? And Courtney Cox wore a “fat suit” to play her younger self?
Yeah. That’s how I felt. I was walking around feeling like I was wearing a fat suit…but where was the zipper to take it off?
And the thing is, I felt really, really terrible. Not just physically, but emotionally. I beat myself up, inside of my head, every single day.
I read a ton of magazine articles that told me, “Be comfortable in your skin no matter what your weight!” It didn’t work. I continued to feel miserable on a daily basis.
Almost a year ago, I began a serious quest to find fitness, and my “old self.”
First, I joined the YMCA of the Blue Water Area. Second, I hired a personal trainer. Mary McKay has been more patient than a saint as she has listened to me whine and complain about every ache and pain known to womankind. She listens, and then she hands me a heavier weight and says, “Do it again.”
Ouch. Nothing like tough love.
But weight lifting and running and working out, in general, alone will not help you lose weight. Weight loss is very simple: calories in versus calories out.
Over the past year, I experimented with food and calorie intake before finally finding a way of eating that works for me and a) is full of good, fresh, tasty, healthy food; b) taught me when you pay attention to your portions (What??? You mean you can’t eat the whole box in one sitting???) it really makes a difference, and c) taught me that a kitchen food scale is actually a tool you can use and not just shuffle out of the way when reaching for a box of cookies. Result? I am seeing the numbers on the scale slowly go down.
I have more weight to lose before I feel like I am in my personal “comfort zone,” but it amazes me how much more comfortable I am in my skin at my current weight than I was a couple of months ago before my slow-but-steady weight loss journey began.
Yes, I know my value is more than a number on a scale. But the moral of the story is this: If at first, you don’t succeed in feeling comfortable in your skin – whether that means your weight, your relationships with other people, your work life, or something else – keep searching until you find a path that leads to success and self-comfort.
We all deserve that. Yes, even you. Most especially you.