New body, old mind?Posted: May 29, 2011
I put on a ton of weight after I split up with my ex back in December. It was a hard, hard break-up. (Fact: They get harder as you get older, and I really didn’t cope well.)
Truth be told I’d probably put on 10lbs over the course of the previous two years. You know what I’m talking about – I’d put on that homely relationship lard. The kind that creeps on when you get too comfortable with someone (coupled with an a passionate love of leggings).
By the time people started taking pictures of me (and then merrily uploading them to Facebook) at Christmas parties (my first solo outings in a couple of years), I looked like I’d been inflated with an over-eager bicycle pump.
I was eating my feelings, and washing them down with egg nog, faster than you can say ‘Come back, Oprah. I still need you!’
I didn’t enjoy the over-eating but it was my coping mechanism. I’d buy fast food, snacks and family packs of chocolate, and scoff whatever it was really quickly in my car, or as soon as I got home. I’d then immediately take the wrappers to the outside bins, so that I didn’t have any reminders in the house of what I’d done. (Only, my ever-widening backside didn’t know that).
I’d feel good. No. I’d feel great. Then, instantly, empty, sad and annoyed with myself.
It was a non-stop edible hug.
But a hug with consequences. The scales visibly groaned when I stood on them in the New Year.
After 40 you can’t just cut out dinner, or do a few sit-ups and lose a few pounds. No, after 40, losing weight becomes very hard work indeed. The extra pounds stick to you as stubbornly as all the bad relationship decisions you’ve made in your life.
My metabolism has always been slow and although I go to the gym, ride my bike and walk as much as I can, my hips felt like shelves, my breasts like udders and my skin was oily.
I realised that unless I upped my game, I would turn 43 (in July), over-weight and unhappy.
And so on January 4th I started running. The first day, I ran for about 12 seconds before keeling over, but I stumbled on. I can now run for around 20 minutes non-stop. I run three times a week on top of a long bike ride, two gym sessions and as much walking as I can given that I live in LA. I want to say for the record, I hate running. Worst. Exercise. Ever. But I keep going. I’m eating more sensibly too.
Seven weeks away from my birthday, I’m around 8lbs off my goal. Not bad for an old bird.
I’m now back in my Stage One jeans. Yay me! In fact, I can wear most of my clothes again. Thank goodness, because I sure as hell can’t afford to replace them all.
Mostly, I no longer feel invisible walking into a room.
But here’s the thing; now that I’m back in shape, I can see men looking at me again ‘in that way’, and I admit, it’s freaking me out.
The last six months gave me a pass. I didn’t have to think about my attractiveness or sex appeal because I knew I didn’t look my best.
I didn’t flirt and I didn’t expect men to hit on me. They didn’t.
Now, instead of curves in all the wrong places, I’m giving it the Beyonce wiggle, and men are taking notice once again.
And while it’s wonderful to be back in skinny jeans, I’m slightly terrified about what my new body might bring my old mind.
Suppose I get asked out? Suppose I like him? He likes me? It becomes a relationship and suppose…
…well suppose it doesn’t work out again?
I can jog around the park as many times as I like, but I still can’t run away from that weighty issue.
Yes, that’s the fear talking but I’ve earned the right to be fearful.
At least I’m not scared to look in the mirror any more.