My pants don’t fit anymore.
I bought them last winter and now they are too small. So I’m walking around the office trying to hide my ass underneath a big sweater, all the while attempting to convince myself that I’ve gained muscle, not fat. It’s not really working.
There are few things that make me dislike myself more than when I start to have body image issues. During the winter, it doesn’t matter what I eat or don’t eat, how much I work out or how often I sit on my ass—I always gain weight. Turning 30 + winter = Moxie’s metabolism slows to a crawl. I cannot even get into how frustrating it is, not just the acquisition of extra padding but the futility of fighting the inevitable, even at this time of year when, you know, you're supposed to get fat. It’s like the Pear-Shaped Fairy showed up and, despite my attempts to bribe her with salads and yoga and running, she decided to gift me with 5-8 extra pounds. Merry fucking Christmas.
When my clothes start getting tight, I feel unsexy and insecure. My self-esteem becomes non-existent. I start asking Lunchboy things like, “Do you still find me attractive?” And then I want to slam my head into the wall because *BAM* I’m a cliché and I didn’t even see it coming. I refuse to do things like go to the ballet because the dancers are lithe and fit and I am not. So I go to the gym and end up reading magazines filled with pictures of stupidly thin people who look amazing and I feel even worse. Somewhere in my head I realize that I’m not being sane, but that voice of reason gets flushed down the toilet when my jeans stop fitting right. Shallow and idiotic, maybe. But there it is.
Being comfortable in my body has always been important to me, not just in terms of shape and weight but mostly in terms of fitness. I started gymnastics when I was 4 and competed until I was 14, when I quit after getting burnt out and switched to springboard diving. I dove competitively for two years and then got into middle distance running. I rowed in college and began practicing yoga about 5 years ago. Many of these sports involved wearing things like leotards and swimsuits, which are not what I’d call forgiving. I was anorexic my sophomore year in high school. Even after I started eating again, my relationship with food and exercise was less than normal. During the summer of 1992, I worked as a chambermaid at an inn on Nantucket. At night I’d sneak down to the kitchen and snack on the Ziploc bags of leftover breakfast goodies, but I wouldn’t actually swallow anything. I’d chew up mouthfuls of orange scones, morning glory muffins, lemon poppyseed cake and raisin bread. And then I’d spit them out into the garbage. I obsessively ran 4 miles a day. And then I went back to school in the fall and everyone told me how great I looked. Whoo.
In LA, I lost 18 pounds, dropped two clothing sizes and was in the best shape of my life. It’s hard to come back from that in a stable way. Sometimes being “healthy” doesn’t feel either healthy or attractive, especially when my clothes just keep getting tighter no matter what I eat or how much I exercise.