I was reading Candace Walsh’s memoir “Licking the Spoon” on the bus a few days ago and had one of those great life-affirming moments.
In chapter four, Candace recalls her mother’s body issues. “She always felt fat,” she writes.
But Candace wholeheartedly disagreed. “I didn’t know what she was talking about. She was my mommy and she was beautiful. She had given birth to three kids, ate cake and cookies all the time, and was still only a size 10.”1
I have a been a size 10 for about a decade. Occasional size 12 jeans find their way into my closet and a few larger-sized dresses from posher stores that don’t cater to silly notions like size-measurement uniformity for women’s clothing. Oh, you’re a size 10 at the department stores? Well here you’re a 14, you average slob.
I have mostly made peace with my weight. There are days when I look in the mirror and wish I was a little thinner, but I am a different person from the 18-year-old who had low self-esteem and wished she could be beautiful.
A lot of that came with age. In the ten years from then to now, primarily in the last three though, I have recovered a lot of that lost self-esteem. I am now a 28-year-old who thinks she is beautiful. I have lots of imperfections, but I love myself, and like seeing myself in the mirror.
And I want my step-kids to be different from Candice. I don’t want them growing up thinking I didn’t love myself. I also want them to grow up knowing that I was motivated, energetic, and healthy.
Six months ago at my annual checkup, my doctor and I discussed my weight.
There is a 10 pound range that my body sticks to. When I’m good, when I’m feeling motivated, and full of life, I am on the low end of that range. I eat well, I try to stay active, and I am pretty successfully healthy. At my checkup: not so much. I was feeling lethargic, and couldn’t be bothered to do anything. I also was looking for a new job and the hopelessness of it all was wearing down on me, and my body.
“You need to get active, lady,” my doctor told me. She, by the way, is a straight-talking, pragmatic, encouraging, ball of the light. I love this woman. She reminds me of my 8th grade math teacher who I was simultaneously terrified and in awe of. “You need to get on your feet, and find that motivation.”
And I did. Finally.
I reached out to my wonderfully active, warm and encouraging, trainer and friend Fawn. She played on my kickball team, and always looked amazing. I asked if she could help me. She made me a deal.
“All I want from you is your enthusiasm.” she said. No money needed.
“Sounds amazing.” I replied
Three weeks later, I started the 21 Day Fix.
Every day for 21 days, with Fawn as my cheerleader and coach, I worked out for 30 minutes, I paid more attention to the foods I ate, and I saw change. In inches, in size, and in action.
I felt awake again, full of excitement and motivation. And I was just plain happier. I was in a better mood, and looked more enthusiastically for work, promoting the best version of myself to potential employers. I got interviews for the first time in months, and I was hired. Good things happened because I had gotten off my ass and done something.
Now, it’s been a few months since my Fix, and I have stayed on the low side of my 10 pound range, which feels great, but I haven’t been exercising lately and have felt my energy lessen every day. I’ve been using cold fall nights as an excuse to do nothing, but lay on the couch with Bear. And now, my motivation is lagging. I’ll have bursts of enthusiasm that seem to blow away with the wind.
So it’s time to get on my feet again. And I’ve raised the stakes:
One of my best friends is getting married in September, and today I bought my dress in a healthier size: an 8. To fit it, I will need to lose 5 inches from my waist, which is a realistic, doable sum to lose.
And, I just messaged Fawn.
My next Fix starts December 1.
Walsh, Candice. Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity. (Seal Press, 2012) 45