Tuesday, June 24, 2008

So How Come I Still Feel Fat?

About six months ago, I realized with a start that if I didn't lose a lot of weight, fast, I would have to attend my son's bar mitzvah wearing sweats or some matronly chiffon gown that looks like I stole it from a beefy transvestite.

It was the impetus I needed to get off my glued-to-the-computer-chair butt and launch a full assault. And I mean full, as in Army, Navy, Air Force. Marines. Indeed, this middle-aged body stores fat like weapons of mass destruction. I needed to send in the troops … and I needed them fully armed.

My theory is that for women, trying to be thin at middle age is to wage war against evolution. Think about it. Men are supposed to be physically attracted to women who have plenty of years for childbearing and rearing, which is why 20-year-olds can eat cheese fries for lunch and still wear size 27 jeans. So freaking unfair.

Thus, I carved out a regimen for myself that consisted of getting on the treadmill six days a week, and eating a diet of low fat, low cal, low portion and practically zero carbohydrates rabbit food. Knowing this wouldn't be quite enough, I sought pharmaceutical assistance in the form of this miracle over-the-counter diet aid called Alli, which keeps your body from absorbing a percentage of the fat you consume. What's great about this supplement is that it doesn’t enter your bloodstream and make you speedy. It works on a gastrointestinal level. The down side is that the accompanying literature cautioning you to wear dark pants and carry a change of underwear is pretty much accurate. 'Nuff said.

As it turned out, my insanity paid off, and by the date of the bar mitzvah I had reached my goal of losing 20 pounds. I really didn’t think it was possible, so I was thrilled. And I got to wear a pretty teal dress that was silk and not chiffon. (It had a sheer jacket I kept on for most of the party, but, as you can see on the left, I lost my inhibitions at some point between the motzi and the horah.)

The day after the party, I reintroduced carbs into my diet, and was pretty sure I put on a couple of pounds immediately. I say "pretty sure" because I was afraid to get on the scale. Yes, I'm that emotionally screwed up about my weight.

I kept exercising, but was a little lazier about it, skipping a day here and there. The thought of approaching the scale got more and more frightening. It was like the monster I kept stored in my basement.

Meanwhile, I've been busy planning for another big event--the launch of my new book, THE SMART ONE. (Now available for pre-order, just F.Y.I.) I do not want to be fat for this, and so I decided I'd get back on the scale and set another goal for myself. But I was terrified to find out how much weight I'd put back on so I spent a week increasing the intensity of my workouts to shore up my courage.

Today, with a lot of self-talk to steady my nerves, I finally got the nerve to approach the scale. I told myself that if I was up five pounds from the weight I was in April, it was no big deal. I could lose it. I would lose it. And more. No reason to send myself into a depression or an anxious tailspin over it. I could deal with this.

I put one foot on the scale. I put the other foot on the scale. I barely breathed as the needle evened out and showed me my current weight. What I saw shocked me.

I had lost six pounds since the day of my son's bar mitzvah.

What? How could that be? And why do I feel so fat?

I guess it's possible I have some form of body dysmorphic disorder, especially if it runs in families. My mother eats about fourteen calories a day, weighs slightly less than a sparrow, and is so thin I fully expect her to disappear between the cushions of the sofa one day, never to be seen again. Yet she thinks she's fat.

My father has been on Weight Watchers for several years now, and can pontificate on managing food points for more hours than there are calories in his daily diet. And often does.

My Atkins-crazed brother will proudly tell you that he hasn't eaten a piece of bread in twelve years. (How's that working out for you, Stephen?)

My sister manages her weight through exercise and I'm pretty sure an apocalypse wouldn’t keep her from getting to the gym. ("Andrea, there's a tsunami on its way to Long Island! We have to evacuate!" "I'll catch up with you. I have an appointment with my trainer.")

Anyway, I have a new goal set for the amount of pounds I'd like to lose by my book launch party on August 8 (Borders Syosset, 7pm—you're invited). If I fail, that's okay, too. I'm sure I'll find something flattering to wear. A little chiffon number, maybe …


Myfanwy Collins said...

God, I love you, Ellen! Body Dysmorphic, yup. Me, too. I look back at my pre-pregnancy day photos of myself when I thought I was "fat" and think, wow, I wasn't fat. And now I'm back to that weight and for one day I felt terrific and now I feel tubby again. Hum-dee-dum.

You, however, look freaking fabulous! Look at you in that gorgeous teal number and you've lost six more pounds! How can that be?!?!? In my eyes, you were perfect to begin with.

Maryanne Stahl said...

gosh, Ellen, you're gorgeous! don't get too thin!

SusanD said...

Ellen, you are gorgeous. Truly. And you look smashing in that gown. I hope you reach your goal, but know that you're lovely in those pics.