The day Baby Girl turned 10 months old, I stepped on the scale and was happy to see that I was 10 pounds away from my first major milestone in this version of the journey: a return to what I (somewhat crudely, perhaps) call “conception weight.” 10 pounds in two months is completely doable and safe, so I feel pretty good about that.
Before we get all excited, though, I will remind us that “conception weight” and “ideal weight” are not, as such, the same thing. While I’m thrilled to be close to “getting rid of the baby weight,” a phrase I’ve come to loathe, I must be realistic about the real goal, which is a return to, and maintenance of, “ideal weight.” I was inching up-up-and-away from “ideal” when Baby Girl decided it was time to start cookin’.
But what, pray, is “ideal weight?” Is it a number that we find on BMI charts? Is it the number we saw on the scale in high school? Is it another number entirely, like the number on the tag of our jeans, the heart rate monitor, the clock readout at the end of a 5K, the dials when we get our blood pressure taken, the page of bloodwork results? Or is it not a number at all, but a state of being in which we know we’re healthy, happy, strong, confident, and doing our best to be our best? [That’s a little touchy-feely and squishy – one can’t build goals on such squish.]
I’ve talked about this before – the dangers of taking any one measure too seriously. I remember one chart that suggested that someone of my height should weigh around 127. But when I weighed 135, my friends were planning interventions and begging me to just eat a sandwich. I look at pictures of myself from that time, and I’m divided. Part of me thinks, Jeez, eat a sandwich, will you? Another part thinks, hm, my friend V. was right. Exercising three times a day was a bit much. It did look like you could shred cheese on my collarbones. Not that I’d eat that cheese, mind you. Another part of me thinks I looked amazing and is furious that I don’t look like that anymore.
And still another part of me remembers that I still thought I was fat. I’m not sure I can reconcile that final, sad part with the others – the parts that acknowledge I’d gone too far, but simultaneously think the razor-thin me was awesome. I still thought I was fat.
Mirrors lie. Numbers lie. Friends (except the most brave and the most true) lie. Your memories and your perceptions lie. Find your truth in your now in the total package of your life: a composite of numbers, perceptions, ideals, hopes, and goals.
Don’t lie to yourself. It’s too easy to say “yes, but.” I’m overweight, yes, but my cholesterol is good. My cholesterol is high, yes, but I exercise every day so I should be able to eat whatever I want. I’m not where I want to be and it’s disappointing, yes, but I don’t care because I’m happy and it’s too hard to make changes, anyway.
My truth, no buts, is 25 pounds between May 25 and October 25. That’s five pounds a month for 5 months. Baby Girl will be a year and five months old. I’ll be a couple of weeks shy of my 38th birthday. That number doesn’t fit in with the cutesy 5-25 theme, but what the hell.
Today is Square One, friends. The truest “now.” No buts.
p.s. Funny story to end on: once at a doctor’s appointment, I clocked in at about 145. The nurse looked at me in disbelief and said, “where do you put it?” How should one respond to that? I told her I had to poop.