Monday, August 29, 2011

Weight loss and men

 In Martha Beck's 4-Day Win, one exercise is to chart the history of your weight concerns. Starting at birth, for each year you indicate 0-10 if you were fat. My own fat history doesn't start until I'm about 34. But my dieting history, which I decided to also chart, starts much earlier. When I was 27, my partner at the time (we lived together) wanted me to be about 20 pounds thinner (I'm 5'10 and weighed 150). I got down to 132 and he thought I looked great. But I couldn't maintain it without starving and I gave it up. He never chided me as being fat but was wistful about my thinner days. For the next 15 years, I dieted off and on always with men in mind. When I wasn't seeing anybody, I'd diet to attract somebody. When I was seeing somebody, I'd diet to keep him. All this time, I weighed 155 or less.

When I met my second long-term partner in 1979, at age 33, I began to gain weight. We drank heavily together and ate out a lot. That'll do it. And gradually my weight increased to about 185 in the last years of my drinking.

After I got sober, I lost about 10 pounds of alcoholic bloat and kept it off for a year. But then I really got into sweets big time and I gained 10, lost 5, gained 10, lost 5, gained 20, lost 10, you know the drill. I never could sustain the weight loss and my therapist has suggested that weighing a lot of extra pounds keeps me safe from men. And I'm sure it does, because I'm sure no one will be interested in me with me weighing what I do. I'm so far from the culture's desirable norm of underweight women that it's not an issue.

If I'm honest with myself, now that I've given up sweets and lost the 25 pounds that would take off (my weight stabilized after 6 months) to what it's been the last year, weight loss is again about men. So it's not a coincidence that giving chronic concerns includes both weight loss and looking for a partner. They go together just the way I've been acculturated to think. That makes me sad.

2 comments:

bananagrrrl said...

Hi Jill! I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your book. I am newly sober and really related to a lot of what you wrote, including the chocolate binging!

I look forward to reading your blogs.

Libby

Vicki said...

I've been following your blog for the last 6 months. I'm five years sober and have 100 pounds to lose. So much of what you write hits so close to home.

Recently, with the help of my therapist, I realized that I lose 15 pounds, panic and put it back on again. When we looked at some of the possible reasons for this panic, it became clear that I didn't want to become the woman I was at 28, when I began to put on the weight.

Right now, I'm trying to love the woman I am at 53...and knowing that woman is strong and beautiful and grateful. She doesn't need to be thin, she just needs to be healthy.

Much love..Vicki