Archive | March, 2016

Gaining weight

15 Mar

A few years ago I weighed 198.6 pounds. Here are my before and after pictures (2006 and 2010 respectively). I lost roughly 75 pounds in 9 months. I literally worked my ass off. And other parts, of course.


Ali Vincent, the first female winner of NBC’s Biggest Loser, was one of my inspirations to lose weight and start running. At the end of the season, she and the other finalists did a triathlon. When I started running and would be hating on it big time, I would think of her and I’d keep going even if I was sore and hot and frustrated.

Recently I saw her online and she’s gained weight, like maybe 30 pounds. So have I — about 25 pounds since my “after” picture was taken. What I thought when I saw her was, “If she can’t keep the weight off, neither can I.”

I stared at her picture on Facebook for like 20 minutes. I felt let down. Then I felt bad for feeling let down about a stranger’s weight. And then I realized that she was me, because I identified with her in so many ways, and we both had gained back some of the weight we had once worked so hard to lose.

Now, let me just take a minute to point out a few things I think are important when discussing weight loss and gain. These are beliefs I hold, but sometimes (a lot of the time) I am very, very bad at remembering that I believe these things and instead of reminding myself I immediately say, “You are fat. You are bad. Do not pass go. Do not collect $100.”

  1. Numbers (weight and size) do not define me. They do not make me a good or bad person. They do not make me beautiful or ugly.
  2. Neither do your numbers define you.
  3. I am not fat. I have fat.
  4. Being emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy is more important than the numbers.
  5. Being “thin” need not be my ideal.

There are much more important matters for me to focus on than my weight, my measurements, or my pants size. Have you heard the one about how Mother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs? It’s because she had shit to do. So do we all. That said, I have a tendency to spend a great deal of time thinking about my thighs.

Since September, which was the beginning of the end of a very unhealthy relationship and the start of my journey back to North Dakota, I’ve gained weight. I feel uncomfortable. When I look in the mirror, I want to cry. And then I feel bad for feeling bad, because Mother Teresa.

For me, gaining weight is a sign that I am neglecting my health. It means I don’t want people to notice me and I don’t want to go out in public unless I’m wearing my pajamas, which is weird because I am neither a skinny high school student nor an over-tired mother of a toddler. It means I am pissed off that if I eat whatever I want, I’ll have to buy bigger pants.

I know that if and when I want to lose weight, I will. I know how to do it in a way that is healthy and sane. I know how to get started and how to keep going. And I know what not to do, too.

More importantly, I also know that if I don’t lose weight, if I don’t get to a magical number on the scale or a certain pants size (of which I have several sexy pairs of jeans in my closet), I’ll be fine. I can still run a marathon. I am loved by many. I am thoughtful and smart and funny and talented and cool most of the time. I’m a good cat mom.

And if Ali Vincent gains weight or loses it, she’ll still be the same amazingly beautiful, courageous, and inspirational woman she is right now. Whatever her size, I’ll still love her in the same way I love other celebrities I’ll never meet.