down 41 pounds so far
In case you’re keeping track, I have lost 7 pounds in 12 weeks. That means over the busiest summer I can remember I lost 7 pounds. I am very happy about that. I keep seeming to average a little over a half pound a week. I am sure I could lose faster, but I am not sure that I would be able to sustain what I would need to do to keep the weight I’ve already lost off, to be able to keep moving forward. We travel. We entertain. We love wine and chocolate (much more in moderation now, but still).
This week the thought crossed my mind: If I lose 10 more pounds this year I will be over the 50 pound mark! I was proud of the thought that immediately followed it, though: If I keep working on the habits that helped me lose the 41 pounds so far I will keep losing weight; I am not going to set myself up for failure with some arbitrary number on the scale that I cannot ultimately control. If I keep chugging along, doing what I am doing, I will get there. That way if I lose 9 pounds by the end of the year I get to celebrate that I lost 9 pounds, instead of beating myself up for not losing 10. Make sense?
So this week I met with my cheerleaders and partners in crime, Karen and Sue. They were very sweet to tell me that they could really tell that I had lost weight. Karen made me stand up so that she could admire my butt. Then she had the audacity to make me (or try to make me) tell her what I now liked about my body. I couldn’t do it. Really. I mean, I could have told them I liked my nose and my eyes and my smile. But I didn’t even do that. I started pointing out that I have saggy skin. Broken veins on my legs. And the feature that is vexing me most of all: Batwings. You know, the wobbly skin that hangs on the underside of arms. Especially older arms. ESPECIALLY older arms that have lost some girth. I work out, but I think I have to make peace with the jiggle because I suspect it will get worse, not better. And despite my poor performance when quizzed on my ability to self-love, I am getting better. I went sleeveless a lot this summer, because I live in the desert and it is hot. I don’t deserve to roast just because someone else might not like my arms.
A while back I tried on a cocktail dress and fidgeting and dithering, asking my husband over and over again: Is this OK? Do my arms look OK? I kept shaking my arms around, making them look their worst, and finally my sweet husband, who had assured me repeatedly that he liked the way I looked, that the dress looked good, that I looked nice, said: “Well, you might not want to beat any eggs tonight.” He knew just what to say to make me laugh and get over myself already.
And that is what I want to do: To get over myself. How much life energy have I wasted worrying about how I look? Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to look nice and to keep losing weight, but I’m old enough to know that is not the only measure of what makes a person attractive.
When I was a young psychotherapy intern I worked with an older therapist (she was probably the age I am now) who had a sign in her office that said: Exuberance is Beauty. I remember thinking how that phrase seemed custom-made for her. If you spent even just a few minutes in her presence you could sense her strength, you felt listened to, her eyes were full of kindness and mischief. She was enthusiastic about the art of therapy – she really was exuberant. She seemed to me to have what it takes to be a good therapist and a happy person. And you know what? I have no idea what she weighed, and can’t recall if any part of her jiggled. Beautiful.