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a weight on my mind

April 8, 2010

So, I’ve been actively working at gaining weight, in a systematic way, since February 2009. I met with a dietitian, and found out how many calories per day would allow me to stay at the same weight, and how many more calories would provide for weight gain. I revamped my diet wholesale (it was fairly skimpy and nutrient-deficient to begin with), looking for healthy items that I would enjoy eating. Because it wasn’t just about gaining the weight, it was learning how to eat without feeling like eating was a hateful chore that I could just skip pretty much whenever I was stressed (which is how I got down to 128 lbs to begin with).

Oh, and I wanted to keep liking my body and appreciating it, however it changed along the way. I’d already done a lot of inner work, so I did appreciate it where it was at. Also, my friend K had warned me that I might be surprised by the specific body parts where I would gain weight. And that those changes might be permanent; or temporary, albeit taking months or longer to reconfigure.  I recognized that, as it got bigger, I was going to start facing inner demons about “feeling fat”, and “fat = ugly”, so I started seeking out images of all sorts of body types. And seeing the beauty in all of them. (Easier than it might have been since Spouse is a photographer.) And telling myself, over and over, “size is just a number. I like numbers. And one number does not define me.”

I’ve hit plateaus along the way, where I stayed at the same weight, more or less, for a month or more. I persisted, though. I tend to weigh myself just once a week, on Wednesday mornings. Every month or so, I take my measurements, so I can get a sense of where the new weight is going. The process has been gradual enough that I haven’t felt like I’ve ballooned upwards. In fact, I’ve often wondered where exactly the weight is going, because I’m not seeing much of it. I’ve had plenty of time to transition with my wardrobe (although I did realize this week that, if it’s now summer, my summer ’09 clothes are 2 sizes too small), and get work-appropriate clothes.

But in the last few weeks, I’m at the last hump of a plateau. On the high end, I’m 5 lbs below my overall target; on the low end, I’m 11 lbs under. As I keep adding new physical therapy exercises and stretches, I need ever more calories to just stay in place, never mind keep gaining weight. And when it’s really hot (as it’s been this week), my appetite completely disappears.  So I lost weight in the last week, and am back to 11 lbs under.

I’d already kinda been thinking if maybe I could or should just stop at 5 lbs under when I was telling Spouse about my latest disappointment (losing weight last week, for the 2nd week in a row), and he suggested stopping the weight gain process where I am might make sense. I’d like to get back to 5 lbs under though, which will be a lot easier if/when the storm front comes through here and cools temperatures down to something more seasonally-appropriate (so I’ll be hungry again).

And I’ve been delaying going through my entire wardrobe, top to bottom, and definitively getting rid of whatever is too small. This will give me added impetus to clear those last bits of detritus out of my closet, and my mind.

My tummy is definitely bigger than it was (although it was always curvy, even when I was super skinny), as are my butt and my thighs. But I feel good, and I look good, and I’m happy and healthy. So if I stay size 14 on the bottom indefinitely, I’m fine with it. On top doesn’t seem to have changed as much, but I’ll likely be in the 10-12 range. Again, fine with it.

Haven’t decided yet if I need to wean myself from counting calories (to make sure I’m getting enough). I kind of enjoy the process, as it’s a way to mindfully take care of myself, and prioritize my own needs.

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