What do you say when you are with a group of people and someone who is obviously much thinner than you are begins to complain about gaining a few pounds or talks about her latest diet? I don’t know how to respond, or if I even should, because I am fat. Yes, I said it – I’m fat.
I am just weeks away from turning fifty, and despite the fact that I am overweight, I really am happy with myself and my life. Yes, I would like to lose a few pounds – and by a few I mean 50, but my weight just isn’t that important to me. I am overweight, but I wear my swimsuit in public and I even wear sundresses that show off my flabby upper arms.
In general I enjoy life, and I enjoy food too, sometimes a bit too much and I refuse to let fat get in the way. I don’t have the patience to count calories, and besides, food tastes really good.
I have always had an up and down relationship with my weight (yes, pun intended), but despite being overweight, I am fairly active physically. I work out at the YMCA several times a week, even through the bouts of hot flash induced sweating. I have never let my weight get in the way of living the best life that I can. I even ran a half marathon a few years back (to be fair it was more like slowly jogging mixed with walking – but I did finish).
So back to the awkward social situation, Miss Skinny Minnie is sharing her latest diet (just what the heck is the paleo diet anyway? And how much money did someone make coming up with that idea?) I have no idea what to say. So now there is this awkward silence, when I look down at my feet and avoid any eye contact. I stare at my wine, thinking to myself. I bet they don’t allow wine on that diet. Gasp!
Miss Skinny Minnie continues to share the wonders of her newest diet, she has lost five pounds so far, but she still wants to lose ten more. I don’t think she has realized that she is also over 50 and we just don’t lose weight the way we used to.
We all know that our metabolism is slowing down, and fat or skinny, the weight is creeping up as we age. I want to be supportive and acknowledge her frustration at gaining weight, but at nearly twice her weight I don’t think my reassurance will be very effective. I also don’t want to open myself up to a well-meaning lecture about my health and suggestions for losing weight.
When I was younger, I worried a lot more about gaining approval from people. As I have gotten older I know that it doesn’t matter what other people think or what someone might say about me. There is a freedom that comes with age, freedom to simply be yourself, unapologetically. Having a glass of wine with a few good friends is much more important worrying about a few pounds.
So I raise my eyes and look back up at Miss Skinny Minnie as I pick up my glass of wine and shout “I’ll drink to that.”
Read more from Laurie on her blog, Looking on the Sunnyside