Weighty questions – Some things should go unsaid

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

Photograph by David D

7 comments on “Weighty questions – Some things should go unsaid

  1. whimsygizmo says:

    LOVE this. Can so relate. I do CrossFit 4-5 times per week, in addition to elliptical work. Sometimes kick refined sugar to the curb for an entire month at a time. But it’s still the menu that gets me. Apparently, since I can’t seem to get where I want to be despite all the hard work. And I HATE numbers, so anything where I have to count calories, or points, is out. I know how to eat. I just don’t do it. (There’s a Bible guy who said to himself, “You know these things…now DO them!” I think it was Paul. His voice is in my head. All.The.Time.) Accountability is indeed a bitch. But necessary. 😉

    You’re not alone, my friend. And GOOD FOR YOU on all the fitness. A strong body is ready for anything. Except, in my case, swimsuit season. But I am 42, and ridiculously loved by a wonderful man, so these days the goal is just to comfortably splash about with my kids. Nobody cares as much as I do, anyway. 😉

    • De, I love your attitude towards life. There are so many things we know but don’t do, I should have it tattooed on my arm.

      • whimsygizmo says:

        I firmly believe the “Knowing” is the most dangerous place to be, with anything. If you don’t know yet, you can still have that “aha!” moment of epiphany, and the ardent conviction of the newly converted. When you KNOW what to do, you have the challenge of “Well, I know what to do…and of course I’ll get around to it. Later. Maybe.” As a Pro Crastinator, this is a very real problem for me.

        I like the tattoo idea. I probably more need it on the refrigerator door, though. No, wait. Make that the pantry. All the bad food is in there. When I buy it “for the kids,” which isn’t often. Yet, somehow, the constant extra inches. Hmmmmm…

  2. hiyacynthia says:

    The hub and I are both struggling to get back on task in this area. We know we need to, we want to, we’ve done it before and never been more fabulous in our lives than during that time, but habits, both good and bad, are not easy to make and break. Wish we could get right back into that good habit role again, the one where we wonder, “Why in the heck wouldn’t I EVER eat right and exercise? I feel fantastic!” Ugh. I’m working on it. You’ve got me whipped with the four miles! Wow!

  3. Wow, can I ever relate to this one. A few years ago I started to run. Although I don’t run anymore, I do exercise very regularly, changing it up often, and I’m in better shape than I’ve been since I was twenty. Maintaining my weight (after I lose that nagging five or seven pounds I gained over the winter) is a delicate balance between exercise, restraint, and enjoying food.

    My daughter and her nearly 2 yr. old are living with us while she studies to write her NCLEX so she can get a nursing job in VA where hubby goes to school. That means I cook regularly, instead of the small “grab meals” that the two of us tend to do for dinner when we’re here alone. Unfortunately, you know what well-rounded meals do to a girl.

    We both work at the same hospital and I suppose celebrating the end of a busy week with Friday night Thai food and wine doesn’t help …

  4. And, I’m very impressed by the four miles. We run kilometers here in Canada, and they’re not as long. The bigger numbers for the same distance covered just sound more impressive.

  5. Veronica Roth says:

    99.9% of women agree…self image is a killer! Good for you staying strong Jeannine.

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