Last night, I said the words to my husband I promised I’d never, ever say. We agreed from the very beginning that some things were just too difficult for a relationship to bear. I was tired, however, and frustrated. It just slipped out.
“Am I getting fat?”
He froze. He had that look in his eye, like a cornered animal. This is a question that has no good answer, especially since my husband is pathologically honest, even when it’s in his best interest to humor me. I know this. We’ve been married a long time and I’ve asked more than a few questions I wish I hadn’t.
I thought better of it almost immediately. “Don’t answer that.”
My weight and I have always had a barely civil relationship. My imagined self may be lithe and willowy, but I am not. I am a freight train. Sort of like my writing. Strongly built with a solid structure, but maybe a few too many words around the edges.
Did I mention that I take four mile runs four days a week? On the other three I have either a dance class or a sculpt class, and in the afternoons, if I’m antsy, sometimes do a two mile run just to clear my mind. I have a weakness for carbs, however, of any kind–bread, sugar, and wine. They are my siren.
So I rejoined Weight Watchers. I’m a serial member. I have this vision of someone on the other end of the membership line saying “Oh. It’s her again.” Yes, it’s me.
I first joined many years ago on my doctor’s orders. Not to lose weight, but to learn how to eat like an adult. Other forms of dieting tend to trigger my more competitive and compulsive tendencies. You can subsist on very few calories, but it makes one testy and prone to losing consciousness, especially after drinking. I hated the meetings. All anyone talked about was food, what they couldn’t eat, what they used to sneak out to eat, what they missed most about eating. It made me hungry.
The plan, however, is common sense–the way I would eat if I weren’t… me.
Now Weight Watchers is online, which I like. I still have visions of someone on the other end saying “Girl! Did you really eat that! What were you thinking?” It doesn’t help that I know the CEO. I used to work with him. He just wrote a book, and he’s been everywhere in the media. When I worked with him (which was about the time I was on weight watchers the first time) he was like most management consultants. We ate out too often and spent all of our time indoors. Our most strenuous exercise was running through airports. You should see him now. You could bounce a quarter off his abs. You try it on mine, you’re not getting the quarter back. Every time I see him on television or in a magazine, it feels like a reprimand, as if I would get an email from him. Jeannine, I’ve been reviewing your records and it’s come to my attention that you aren’t meeting our agreed-upon goals. Perhaps you need a performance improvement plan.
Accountability is a bitch, but that’s what I need. I think my frustration stems from being so dependable and accountable about everything else in my life. I’m quite disciplined. I think it’s that little corner of rebellion in my soul that says “For heaven’s sake. Let a girl eat.” But I had an ethics professor that used to say “one must be faithful in the little to be faithful in the big. So I will be faithful in the little so that I won’t get too big. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have had Wheat Chex for breakfast. Three quarters of a cup is 5 points.
It won’t take me long to be back on track and I’ll be back to asking my husband the usual questions, like “Do you even know where the dishwasher is?” Some things never change.
Words by J. B. Everett