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Claire Thinking
What Am I Weighting For?

I want to lose weight. Really, I do. When I see another woman who is thin, I think, why can't I look like that? Better yet, why don't I look like that?

I know that some of it is genetic. I've never been a thin girl. Well, maybe when I was ten. Once those hormones kicked in my body started spreading out and I couldn't control it.

I got my period in seventh grade. That's when my behind started to spread. It wouldn't have been such a bad thing if I had gotten breasts at the same time. Then I would have had more of an hourglass figure instead of a pear.

Back then, boys weren't as enamored of the butt as they are today. When I was in Jr. High the cleavage was preferred to be in the front.

Eventually my top caught up to my bottom so I didn't look so uneven. Even better, my derriere became an object of admiration, rather than the butt of some cosmic joke. I liked my body and felt comfortable in my skin. I was no Twiggy, but I wasn't Mama Cass either.

All was good until I started to approach 40. I watched in detached wonder as my weight and waistline began to increase. I didn't change anything I was doing. How could this be happening? Finding no logical reason, I slipped into denial. Hey, it worked for me.

Then it happened. My yearly physical revealed I was hypothyroid. Aha! So it wasn't my fault. I was getting fat due to medical reasons. All I needed was to take this miracle replacement hormone and I would be back to my usual proportions in no time! Problem solved!

One year later, my weight was still hovering too close to TILT on the scale. Surely something else was amiss. The doctor assured me that the medication was working. The rest was just part of the natural aging process. Aack! I needed a new plan.

I started exercising regularly and some of the weight started to come off. Then I joined Weight Watchers and lost even more. I was feeling good in my skin again, but then life stepped in and dealt me another setback. I had surgery that kept me from exercising for several months. I fell out of the habit, quit Weight Watchers, and started watching the weight creep back up.

When I complained to the surgeon that not being able to exercise was making me gain weight, he drew upon his years as a medical professional and offered me some sage advice. He said, eat less. That helpful tidbit sent me straight off to the bakery for a mega muffin. Eat less, my ass! Oh, yeah. That's the problem.

So now it's been a year since surgery and I'm fairly sick of my body again. I know for me the first part of getting the weight back off is to get into a routine of regular physical activity. Walking seemed to be the best choice. I was a little anxious about walking again.

I wasn't afraid of the exercise, I was afraid of being noticed. Don't they say that a woman over 40 is invisible? Hah! Once, a group of boys in a red car drove past me and yelled over some sort of PA system "You have a big butt!"

I'm sad to say that this was not the first, nor the last time a stranger made a comment about my backside. Is it any wonder I prefer to keep it out of sight?

With the words of the teen boys etched into my brain I opened the closet to look for proper exercise wear. I spent 20 minutes trying to find something that didn't make me look too fat.

Everything I tried on made me look short and wide. Perhaps some high-heeled sneakers would be slimming? I settled on capris and a t-shirt that covered my upper arms. I managed to walk for 2 miles with nary a comment from passersby.

With one safe excursion under my belt I felt empowered to venture into other forms of exercise. Why not ride a bike? Sure people would still see my butt, but not the full force of it, and I can be halfway down the street before they have the chance to make a comment. It was perfect!

I've been riding now for a couple of months and I love it. I bought some comfy riding clothes and pedal to my heart's content. Not a single derogatory remark has been made. As a matter of fact, the other day, a man called out that my golden bike matched my golden hair. Wow! Golden hair beats big butt any day.

So now that I have the exercise going again, it's time to change my diet. If only french fries didn't taste so good. My strongest urges to diet seem to come right after a big meal.

That bloated feeling sends a message to the brain that says I wish I hadn't eaten that. If I can figure out a way to switch that around so that the diet message comes before the cheeseburger, instead of after, I might just stand a chance.

I'm not going to join Weight Watchers again. My best friend joined and she's become so inculcated that it's all she talks about. When I'm at a fair, I don't want to debate the point value of kettle corn with perfect strangers. I want to lose weight, but I don't want to become a member of the food police auxiliary squad.

My plan is to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and cut back on fried and fatty foods. That plus my exercise should get me back to where I want to be. I'm also going to be nice to myself, and try to feel comfortable in my skin.

Who knows, maybe I've been reading that height/weight chart wrong all these years. Maybe I'm just much taller than I thought!


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