Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Cost of Curves

It all started with a comment. As many great insights in life do. A simple comment, that turned into a ordinary thought, that evolved into a rudimentary idea, that melted into a plan verging on the edges of obsession.
Flash back to sometime in March of this year. I don’t remember the day, but it was somewhere in the middle of being both cold and warm and my husband and I were sitting in our car as we waited to enter a traffic circle. He was driving. I was sitting beside him. We both watched as a very large looking man on a not very large looking motorcycle drove past us and around the traffic circle. I probably chuckled a little, even though I shouldn’t have. It seemed a little out of place, for such a big man to be sitting on such a petite bike. I know enough about motorcycles to know that one should never call one “petite”, but really, that’s how it looked. I cringed and waited to hear the screech of the peg or pipes dragging along the ground as he turned, but was surprised to hear nothing.  “He looks out of place.” I said simply, before remembering something I’d been trying to remind myself of lately. What was it? Oh yeah, I’m a hypocrite.  A complete pile of hypocrite.  My husband nodded his head absently. Feeling a little guilty, I added “Well, actually, that’s probably what people think when they see me driving a motorcycle too.” It was the truth after all, wasn’t it? “I mean, how much more does our bike weigh than me? “ I asked.
“Well, it’s like 600 pounds.” Said the man I love.
“Yeah, and I’m like what? A buck and some change?” I joked. For some reason I always thought it was funny saying that instead of a 100 and something pounds.
Then came the silence. As it always does when a smart man is debating whether he should say what he is thinking about saying. He went for it.  “Um…” He said in a polite tone as he delicately corrected me. “More like a dollar… and a penny.” He said finally.
His words sunk into me. Really, they went straight through my heart (around the padded bra of course). One dollar and one penny. That’s all I’m worth.  I mean, I knew I’d been a bit on the light side… but having my weight compared to money seemed horrifying.  No one even picks up pennies anymore! They’re nearly worthless! One dollar and a measly penny. 101 measly pounds. Grrrr. I simply didn’t like how it sounded.
You see, I wasn’t always so broke on the scale. I used to be worth a dollar and at least a shiny fabulous quarter. Once I even had a nickel on top of that quarter! But that was when I was eating tortillas for 7 meals a day (I’m thinking now that the problem wasn’t necessarily the tortillas, but rather the number of meals per day). Over the last few years I usually stayed between a dollar and a nickel and a dollar, a nickel and a dime. But not now, nope. Just one measly, worthless penny.
Of course, there’s always something to blame… or at least that’s what I choose to believe when I can find no logical reason for my results. One thing is for sure, being allergic to gluten doesn’t help. On top of that, living in hotel rooms for 2 straight months doesn’t do wonders for a girl’s feminine physique either. If we’re being totally honest here, neither does being a vegetarian. Especially a vegetarian who doesn’t really eat processed sugar. I mean, think about it this way;
The World of food and awesome tastiness – gluten = a tragedy.
The world of food and awesome tastiness – gluten – meat = a disaster (usually a skinny one).
The world of food and awesome tastiness – gluten – meat – sugar = a catastrophe
Catastrophe (2 Months hotels – kitchens) + protein shakes + cheese=  X
There you have it.
X=Heart break.  It’s as simple as that.
Oh yeah, heart break and an inability to gain weight.
Sure, I know what you are thinking right now (all two of my readers). I bet you’re thinking something along the lines of “oh poor Crystallynn, you can’t gain weight… what a joke”. Well, it’s not a joke. It’s a serious concern.  And it was then, in that car, by that traffic circle that I decided that I wanted to gain weight.
So I went to work. And mind you, gaining weight takes a lot of work sometimes.
I went on high fat- shopping sprees where I only purchased things within my eating requirements that are… well, high in fat. I ate more nuts than a squirrel, drank full milk, practically dripped peanut butter into my veins via an IV and made a goal to add 4 cheese sticks and one stack (the whole container) of Pringles into my daily consumption plan.
Still no improvement.
Then I thought if I worked out more I would gain more weight. I did gain a little…mostly just muscle. But when I worked out too hard I freaked out because it looked like ALL my PRECIOUS FAT was disappearing.
Then I started to not work out. Thinking that I know many people who gain weight by not working out. It must work for me as well… right? Incorrect. I only felt skinny and lazy.
 I decided I needed to do more about the predicament that I’d somehow found myself in. I needed to be more proactive.  I looked up weight loss tips online and then reversed them (thinking it would have a counter effect on the results… logical right?).  Instead of 6 snacks throughout the day, I ate 6 large meals throughout the day. Instead of always leaving something on my plate, I always ate everything. I quit drinking water with meals so I could stuff more food in my stomach.  I made sure to NEVER miss eating super late and then going directly to sleep. And when I would ask myself “Self, are you really hungry? Do you really need to eat that?” I would ALWAYS answer with a “yes”. 
But somehow, I still lost more weight. Probably because I burned too many calories just thinking about it. I began to dread looking at the scale… the stupid scale.  After weighing in at 98 pounds I bought a new scale (hoping the last two I’d tried had been inaccurate), which also seemed to be wrong.  There was no way I was 98 pounds. That’s what I weighed in 5th grade. Now I was feeling like a pile of spare change.
Meanwhile, the comments of concerned offenders continued to trickle in.  By the time August rolled around, I had heard enough “you need to eat more”s to last a life time. What really bugged me were the blatant accusations of anorexia which usually came from people who I considered nearly or complete strangers. It was getting annoying. I hated how people felt completely comfortable talking to me about my “under-weightness” when it would render cataclysmic results if I took the liberty to mention their “over-weightness”. It simply wasn’t fair.
It was on a cold day in September that I decided more drastic measures must be taken. I couldn’t eat gluten (I get much too sick for it to ever be worth it), but there were no physical reasons I had to avoid meat and sugar. I simply felt healthier and had more energy when I didn’t eat them.  One month. That’s all it would take (I thought as I worked out my diabolical diet plan to gain weight).
I called the plan my “Get fat fast plan”. It was as simple as the name.
I decided I would eat meat and sugar for one month… and lots of it. In my mind, it seemed I would grow to a very large size during that time and then I could continue with my normal eating afterwards and still have a healthy supply of fat.  It was almost like I couldn’t wait to look in the mirror and see love handles.
On day one, my husband was concerned when I ordered a bacon cheese burger, strawberry milk shake and fries. He was astonished when I actually bit into it, and he was somewhat terrified when I completed the entire meal. By the time I ate ice cream for dessert and bought a bag of Halloween candy (that I planned to eat long before the Trick or Treaters even picked out their costumes), he was certain I had snapped. Secretly, I was wondering that myself. It seemed so strange eating such unhealthy food… especially in such large quantities. But I didn’t stop there. I knew I had to push on. You know what they say about a diet… it only works if you stick with it. I ate like that every day. Not to mention I supplemented with butterfingers, snickers, hot dogs, milkshakes… the list was endless. Are you feeling sick yet? I just ate and ate and ate. I felt sluggish and full… all the time. I even set reminders on my phone to eat again, reminders that went off long before I even felt anything that remotely resembled hunger. Hungry? I didn’t even remember the meaning of the word.
After one month I gained 9 whole pounds! Well, that, and a whole lot of confidence. My tight jeans were actually tight! What can I say? It was a joyous time for me. Although slightly worried about my cholesterol levels, I felt like I was really making progress.
But then I ate one too many snickers bars. I’d maxed out and suddenly, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was like my body was literally cringing as I swallowed it. ALL the junk food. ALL The sugar. ALL the fat. ALL the grease. It was disgusting. I mean, on that particular day I had eaten cake frosting… for breakfast.  I felt sick even thinking about junk food. It reminded me of the day after Halloween as a child. You know, when you wake up sick (just like Mom prophesied) because you ate too much candy?  It was like that, only times that feeling by 30 days. So I decided I’d start being a little healthier again.
One week later, at weigh in…. I’d lost 4 pounds. That’s almost a whole nickel.
So here I am. 103 pounds (after breakfast). And I’ve just decided something. Women are never happy with their weight and it’s really stupid. In Asia all the women want to be bigger, in the US all the women want to be smaller… in France all the women want to be hairier (Haha! Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  It’s like we just have to be skinnier or fatter all the time… when what we really need is to be more confident all the time.  When it comes down to it, what you think about yourself is probably pretty close to what everyone else thinks about you. What’s important is how beautiful you feel. And feeling beautiful is an entirely different thing than being physically “beautiful”.
As for me, I might only weigh a dollar and a penny on some days. I might feel like I’m blowing away if the wind picks up and I might have to wear a belt on my size 1 jeans. I might have to sit back in the seat to activate the air bags and I might have a colorful collection of push-up bras.  I might even have to “run around the shower in order to get wet “, but the truth is, that’s okay. I’m healthy enough to run aren’t I? : ) Plus, who doesn’t wear a push-up bra? Your brother?

I took this picture at the Deutsch Gemeinde P.V R├Ątsel Fest. It reminds me of a time when it only took a costume dress to truly feel like a Princess. : )