I toyed with the idea of calling this post "Me and My Shadow," because it was seeing my silhouette that started it all.
Usually, England's sky is thick with cloud, but this week it has been gloriously sunny. The other evening, Sigmund and I were taking a post-prandial stroll and I couldn't help but notice our shadows holding hands. Unfortunately, it was a moment of horror for me.
There was no denying it: I have become distinctly pear-shaped.
(Was it turning 40 that did it? Ok, I'm 42 if you want precision in these matters. Was it moving to England, where the pear shape is the womanly norm? Was it the bad weather? Was it the cake baking? Was it blogging that did this thing to me?)
Perhaps I've always had a tendency towards the pear, with a small waist and speed-skater thighs, but it is definitely getting worse. With the pull of gravity and age, my bits are all starting to pool towards the bottom.
So, here's the rub (and I'm not just talking about my thighs):
On our last anniversary, Sigmund gave me this card. I suppose that the sentiment is nice, (and quite apt in our case), but all I could see was the bottom on that woman. Was this my husband's way of telling me that my derriere is getting large?
Here is part of my confession: I have never, NEVER, asked my husband if I look/looked fat. I have never discussed my weight with him. I have never uttered those cliched words: Does my bum look big in this?
Unfortunately, (for the sake of my vanity), I have an exceptionally thin husband. He has slim hips and a tiny, tiny bum. If you see his shadow, you might think "carrot" -- but with no feathery bits at the top. He is also very honest, and wouldn't bother to spare my feelings. Don't ask, if you don't want an honest answer. Even if he didn't actually say anything too horrible, the smirk would give it all away.
Here is another part of my confession: I have only been on a diet once. When I was 15, and already perfectly slim, I decided that I needed to lose a few pounds. I went on a diet that I found in a teen magazine, and the main thing that I remember about it was that I ate an orange for breakfast every day. Then, I played tennis for several hours and swam. Not surprisingly, I lost weight. I also became a little bit crazy. I distinctly remember my mother trying to get me to eat a hard-boiled egg and a piece of whole wheat toast before a tennis tournament, and I remember having a teenage, full-scale, drama queen melt-down because I could only eat the orange. I became a little bit afraid of food, and yet I was in thrall to it. At 15, I discovered that diets make you think about food all the time.
I firmly believe that our mothers influence our attitude towards food and that there is nothing we can do about it. My grandmother had a weight problem, and thus my mother was and is determined to stay thin. When I was a child, I can remember her making us wonderful meals and just having a Sustacal shake herself. Although she eats healthily now, she doesn't eat much and she works out every day. I wouldn't say she exactly deprives herself, but she doesn't indulge herself either.
Ever since my unfortunate dieting experience, I have been determined to enjoy my food. In fact, I am famous (at least among my friends) for it. There are no "bad" foods in my language; there are no self-imposed restrictions. I have always liked to exercise, and I kind of thought this would help me get away with eating cookies on a daily basis.
For most of my adult life, I have been the same size -- give or take 5 pounds. It's a completely "normal" size: an American 8/British 12. I've never been thin, exactly, but I'm not fat either. But the extra five pounds are starting to look permanent and, oh dear, my butt . . . it's getting bigger, and I'm not happy about it.
I was walking with a willowy friend of mine this week and I asked her what she ate every day -- not because I am going on a diet or anything, but I'm starting to realize that I'm going to have to cut back. Here is my friend's average daily intake: No breakfast; soup for lunch (no bread or crackers); no snacks except for fruit; chicken or fish and salad for dinner. She slightly relaxes this punitive diet on the weekends. When she goes out, she likes a glass of champagne.
I went to her for advice, but all I could think was Noooooo way.
And yet: We are going on a biking trip in 6 weeks and I am going to have to wear hideous black lycra shorts. To add insult to injury, they have padding on the bottom.
This week I have walked at least 12 miles and exerted myself for three body pump classes. I have consumed nothing that could be described as "confectionary." Extreme measures are required.
Years ago I taught myself to eat when I was hungry, and for the most part, that is what I do; unfortunately, I may have to start teaching myself to learn to live with occasional hunger pangs.
Tomorrow is the annual Sports Day, but I won't be making any cookies.
I love to eat, but I really don't want my theme song to become Baby Got Back.
To paraphrase Sir Mix-A-Lot: I've got a big butt and I cannot lie . . .