The Bargain Women Make (or why my heart won’t let me diet)

I have always been unhappy with my weight.

Maybe always is a strong term. Until I got to college I didn’t think much about it, and happily porked out during high school with no one giving me much grief about it, God bless them. When I got to college I turned to a lot of unhealthy ways of trying to punish myself for not being skinnier (which, in what seemed supreme unfairness, didn’t work. If I was going to abuse my body couldn’t I at least lose weight?!?!). My first year working full time I dropped 10-15 through race-training and more-sensible eating, and that’s been about where I’ve stayed. Not-quite-skinny. Not-quite-fat. Not-quite-happy.

Because I know what to do to lose the weight. If I really wanted to, I would, I suppose. I would stop eating, more importantly stop drinking, and work out even more than I already to.

Except I want to have a life.

And that’s the bargain we all have to make. If women want to live a life in which they can eat a piece of birthday cake, have a glass or four of wine, eat the chocolates we get for Valentine’s Day, and go to happy hour at four on a Friday instead of to Pilates, then we don’t get to look like the people in the magazines (we probably don’t get to anyway, but that’s another post).

This is more than just whining that I don’t want to give things up. It’s that I don’t want to do what I don’t want to do. I have a lot of healthy habits. I chug water all day long. I limit to a half-cup of coffee. My diet is primarily veggies and whole grains. I run half-marathons. But I do those things because they enrich me, not because they limit me. In the real world people have to make real sacrifices. I’m not going to come up with other ones just for fun (except during Lent. Again, a different post).

Why am I writing all this? Because I need to tell myself again that it’s OK to have an extra helping of pasta primavera on a cold winter night. It’s OK to sleep through a workout during a busy week. It’s OK to give myself a Guinness mustache at the end of a long week.

(Or at least it would be OK, if I lost a few pounds.)

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4 Responses to The Bargain Women Make (or why my heart won’t let me diet)

  1. amyruthj says:

    It’s also OK to not wear a size 2. 🙂

    I hear you though! It’s a constant tug of war.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I’ve had that thought a lot–that I may have to choose between a life I don’t want and the size I’d love to have. How much do I want it?…

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