I call it my “naked weight”—those annoying extra pounds that most people can’t see, but I know better because I see them when I’m naked. They are the 7 pounds that I’ve been trying lose my entire adult life. But they’re really attached to me, or my midsection, to be exact.
I Want to Lose it for Me
I’m not overweight. In carefully selected outfits I even pass for skinny. But once the body shapers and a-line skirts come off, it’s another story. I don’t want to reach my goal weight for the viewing public—chances are I’m not going to become a pole dancer or join the Olympic speed skating team anytime soon. I want to lose it for me. Losing these last 7 pounds would hardly earn me a guest spot on “The Biggest Loser” or an endorsement deal with Subway. But to me it’s the difference between looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “Oh yeah,” as opposed to “Oh noooo.” The problem is that I’m so close—just one good stomach virus away.
A woman recently wrote to a fitness magazine complaining that no matter what new exercise routine she tried she could not lose those last five pounds. The fitness expert responded: “Maybe you should just try eating less.” I spin, I lift, I run. I’m fit, but my butt still hangs a little on the back of my legs—I have some “mom wings” that ache to be triceps. I just never considered eating less as a solution. I’ve never missed a meal. No, really. Never. On my wedding day, my mother’s advice to my husband was, “Don’t let her get hungry or tired.” He has created a little mantra that has probably saved our marriage. He says, “Keep her fed and put her to bed.” Like I’m a little Gremlin that you can’t get wet. Apparently I get a little aggressive when the blood-sugar level drops. I’ve learned to carry food with me at all times; I haven’t bitten anyone in years. But because I graze at even the slightest suggestion of hunger, I’m not sure how much I eat over the course of a day. So against my better judgment, I decided to keep track.
Myfitnesspal.com is a site designed to get you to your weight-loss goals. You enter your weight and it calculates how many calories you should eat each day in order to get to your goal. Each day you log in every bite of food. Even the three Reese’s Pieces count for something. When I started the program, it said that I should aim to consume 1,400 calories per day—the number of calories in a chicken nugget. By noon I had eaten 900 calories, and I still hadn’t fixed lunch. At the end of the day, I was hungrily eyeing my cat as my stomach rolled in pain. For the first time in my life, I was starving. I didn’t have the energy to work out. I didn’t have the energy to blink. The next day, I was ready to write the creators of myfitnesspal.com and complain that they were killing me softly, I discovered that when I logged in my workouts, I would get calories back.
Running for Food
Last night I was running on the treadmill as if being chased by a pack of rabid Twinkies.
“What are you doing?” my husband asked.
“I want a glass of wine.” After the calorie counter read 150, I hopped off and poured a well-earned drink.
It’s embarrassing to acknowledge what you eat. If I want to have a few drinks with the girls, I’m either going to have to skip lunch and dinner or run a marathon to cancel out the calories. These are cold, hard facts that I was comfortable denying for most of my life.
A Little Bit of Self-Control
I know what you’re thinking: this may be unhealthy. But before you insist on an intervention, let me tell you that I’ve lost 3 pounds in just one week. I’m more conscious of my eating and I don’t panic at the first sign of hunger, thinking that the world’s food supply may run out before I can get my hands on some string cheese. I don’t plan on logging in my food for the rest of my life, but the process makes me mindful of my eating habits, and in the meantime I’m slowly saying goodbye to the last 7 pounds and hello to the closest thing to near-naked perfection for a mother in her mid-thirties. In a world where you can’t control the weather, the economy, or your child’s insistence on going to her private church school dressed as Cyndi Lauper, a little bit of self-control goes a long way.
About the Author
Andrea Goto writes The Culinary Coward, a monthly humor column for PaulaDeen.com about her struggle to become a domestic goddess, or more simply, to cook an edible meal. She writes her own Blog, Mom Without Makeup, which discusses the messy art of modern mothering. Andrea lives and writes in Savannah, Georgia, with her 4-year old daughter (who thinks she’s a superhero), her husband (who is a superhero) and one geriatric cat.