I had my physical earlier this month–my lube, oil and filter as I call it. Everything was great (blood pressure low, heart rate good etc.) until the issue of my weight came up. Seems I’ve put on almost 30 lbs since my last physical two years ago. Not good. It didn’t take the doctor’s scales to tell me I was overweight, all I had to do was look at my recent photos– or my lack of recent photos since I was avoiding the camera. Until I hit my 40’s I had been in good shape. Not skinny anymore since I have inherited the huge chest that both my grandmothers had, but I was curvy. Now I am definitely apple-shaped, which I know is risky.
My weight gain has been particularly hard to accept because I was a skinny kid. When I got married I weighed 107 lbs for goodness sake! Being thin was a huge part of my identity so trying to accept the new me has been very hard to do. I have been consciously avoiding visiting any friends from my past because I do not look anything like I did back in high school. This weight gain has totally filled me with shame.
I made a list of everything that has happened to me during the past 2 years as a way of figuring out what the hell happened to me. Once I had it all down on paper, I could see the tremendous effect stress has had on my body:
-middle daughter (aka Kay) left for college August 2009
-broke my left foot in November 2009
-lost my job 4 days later
-moved to a new house 2 weeks after that
-my youngest daughter (aka Elle) moved in with her father and step-mother July 2010
-I moved in with my beau August 2010 (changed cities)
-I started college September 2010
It’s clear to me that stress makes me gain weight. I know I have not been taking care of myself and have been eating crap all this time. I struggled financially being an unemployed single parent trying to make some extra money freelancing and eating too much as a way of relieving the stress. I know I was seriously depressed during that time but dealt with it on my own because I don’t like the side effects associated with antidepressants. I thought the weight would magically fall off me when I was back in school and happy but that didn’t happen.
Life is a little more calm now but I have had a very hard time adjusting to an empty nest. I miss my youngest daughter so much. Motherhood is a very big part of my identity and I still feel lost because she isn’t around very often. Add the stress of fitting into my beau’s home and trying to get along with doing things a different way and the stress of going back to school full-time, it’s no wonder I gained weight!
Now that I have this realization, I can work on the solution: self-care. I have to make time to see friends, see my kids on a regular basis and think about what I’m eating and why. I’m not trying to diet per se but I am trying to do what’s best for me.
I hope it works.