I Lost Weight And It Didn’t Make My Life Miraculously Better

We’re all supposed to dream of the day we lose those last ten pounds and finally reach our ideal weight. Right?

I had always been quite thin. Being nearly six feet tall makes this fairly easy. But then my Dad died and I had pound cake and ham for dinner while planning his funeral and some extra weight crept on and just sort of stayed there.

I wasn’t too worried. I assumed that it would creep back off when the grieving ended. Little did I know then that grieving doesn’t end. You just get used to it.

I did lose it for awhile when I went to Africa and there wasn’t any lunch. I would eat a decent hotel breakfast and then spend the day asking small children what it felt like when their parents died of AIDS and trying not to be intrusive about it. Many nights, I’d get back to our hotel and feel too sad and angry to go down for dinner, so I’d dip into the package of arrowroot biscuits a member of our party had given me one day when I looked like I was going to pass out, and call it a night.

By the time I got home I was completely traumatized and practically willowy. But I arrived back here the week before Easter and we went down to Windsor where there was dim sum and ham and by the time the weekend was done, I was back to my grief weight.

Hmmm…. there’s that ham again. See, this is why it’s good to write out your experiences – you start to notice patterns!

And it’s stayed with me ever since, not really bothering me, but I’d sometimes wonder if I’d look and feel better with it gone, like everyone tells you you will.

When I was diagnosed with arthritis, I went to see my naturopath who put me on the Elimination Diet. How it works is you make a list of everything you like to eat and then you eliminate those foods from your diet. For six weeks. Actually, it’s a lot more considered than that, but I’m leaving the science part up to her. The idea is that you let these foods completely clear your system and your symptoms clear up and then you add them back in very slowly, noting any untoward reactions and, hopefully, it’s as simple as ‘coffee makes my knees hurt’ and you cut out coffee and life is good. It worked for me with chocolate and migraines many years ago, so I was pretty hopeful.

But it hasn’t exactly happened this time. And I got kind of cranky. Foraging for food is hard for me at the best of times (like when Alan’s cooked me a yummy dinner and all I have to do is sit down and eat it) but with all those limitations and all of my go-to’s off the list, I’d frequently just give up, maybe eat an apple and have a nap.

I lost weight. At least as much as I did in Africa and likely a little more.

We don’t own a set of scales. They’re a major tripping/toe stubbing hazard so it’s better not to have them in the house. Plus you have to dust them. So I don’t know exactly how much I lost, but my pants don’t fit any more. None of my clothes fit. Those last ten pounds are well and truly gone.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but with all the hype that surrounds the ‘thinner is better’ idea, I thought a free baby unicorn at the very least. And a whole lotta glitter.

But, actually? I don’t really like it. I don’t feel any better. Or sexier. My life did not become any more glamourous. People don’t like me better. Although a fair number of my friends have taken to leaping up out of their chairs and urging me to sit down, either because I’m limping so noticeably or I look like I’m about to fall down from hunger. I have lovely friends.

We went to a party on Sunday. It’s hard to know what to wear when the only pants that fit are leggings and your knees are two different sizes. Like, one looks like a normal, slightly lumpy knee and the other looks like it belongs to a 300 pound footballer. But I tend to be overly critical of my own appearance. ‘Likely no one will notice,’ I told myself and went with the leggings, instead of the different-knee-size-hiding pants that were likely to fall down and trip me.

Partway through the evening, my friend Karen asked, “Is that just your knee???”

I looked at her funny, cuz whose knee would I be borrowing and how? But she meant had I wrapped it in a whole bunch of bandages or something.

“Nope. That’s all me!” I said, feeling strangely proud.

All in all, this last six weeks has been a good experiment. And it’s good to know that a bit of extra weight is, actually, no big deal. Not worth the obsessing society assumes we all should be doing about it.

I’m about to go back to eating like a normal person and finding other ways to combat the arthritis. And the first thing I’m going to eat is a ham sandwich. I’m demonstrating applied self-knowledge there. But I’ll probably skip the pound cake. Apparently sugar is a really bad idea when you have arthritis.

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4 Responses to I Lost Weight And It Didn’t Make My Life Miraculously Better

  1. ann says:

    Dear Barb

    this is an education for creaky me.

    walk in de corner wid plenty love

  2. ~Sacha says:

    “I had always been quite thin. Being nearly six feet tall makes this fairly easy.”

    …speak for yourself. 🙂

    By the way…the German’s have a word for weight gained in grief. I think the literal translation is ‘grief bacon’. You are definitely not alone. http://blogs.transparent.com/german/kummerspeck-frustfressen/

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