This may sound like body shamming, it isn’t. Or at least I hope it isn’t. It is a bit on the obsessive side, but I am sure anyone who has been through this would be able to relate.
When I was in grad school, the roommate in my second year was a thirty year old woman (I was around 24 – funny how six years seemed to matter so much then). She was a small built woman, prone to putting on weight and so she was obsessed about fitness. She went to the gym everyday and worked out for an hour, and blizzard or not, ran for an hour through the university township. She drank coffee with skim milk and shrank away from food with the comment “if I as much as see that goddamn pizza, I would put on a pound”. On the other end of the rainbow, I was addressed (uncharitably) as 2D-gobblefunkist by the brat Indian grads (largely boys) because I was stick thin. I thought I was curvy, but was made to believe that the curves were in my imagination. So in order to pad myself, I drank full-fat milk, had egg nog for breakfast every day and, although I hated cheese at that time, had subway sandwiches every alternate day with extra cheese, and macadamia nut cookies on the side. The only allowance I gave myself was that I went to the gym every afternoon, to swim, because I was a fish in another birth and nothing makes me happier than water around me.
None of my padding efforts had any effect. At that time. As I near 45, I can see the eggnog, vitamin D milk and cheezy sub in various parts of my body. And they are very sociable foodgroups because they welcome other current foodgroups and give them space to live forever. It is a wonder the body has energy to function at all, considering that all the calories I ingest choose to stay rather than burn.
This is fine. I don’t have problems with the natural fall of metabolism that comes with age, and resultant padding – I don’t want to body sham. But where I worry is that the padding is not all on the outside and there are protective stuffed envelopes around my essential organs, making the latter groan. I am particularly worried because the metabolic syndrome spectrum of diseases runs in my family (in addition to psychiatric disorders, osteoporosis and name-it-you-got-it). When I visited my gyn recently for ovarian pains, she claimed that the only ways to deal with it, short of ripping my innards and throwing the non-essential-anymore organs away, are to pop in industrial strength acetaminophens when they act up, and make sure I get enough exercise to prevent visceral fat that can add to the strain on my reproductive organs.
I resumed the gym nearly three weeks ago, in addition to reduction of portion sizes. I don’t overworkout because I am a fusspot of sorts. 20 minutes of interval training and 10 minutes of strength. I stayed off the scale until last week, and as I had expected, the numbers on the scale were displeasing. Today, a week later, I checked again. What do you know. A full one kilo (~2 lbs) UP. Yes, UP. I know a lovely person told me that it’s better to go by the tape than by the scale, and I remembered it as I stood on the scale, but I did feel like screaming.
Perhaps it is muscle weight gain. Perhaps not. From now on, no more scales for me, for sure. I am doing this for my internal organs, and if 20 mins of interval training doesn’t do anything to them, so be it. At least I would be using my gym membership.