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So, here I say it was 20 pounds but it could have been 30. I don’t know since I was so afraid of a scale, and more or less happy with my weight, so I’m guessing it was somewhere around there.

As much as I have felt like a failure, like a lazy slacker, like a foodaholic, like a blob, like a slob for not fitng into my clothes and needing to buy new suits, and like the worst person into the world compared to my perfect skinny, normal, healthy classmates, compared to mannequins, and compared to my old, “better,” “healthy,” “attractive” self, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world to have happened to me, or that I allowed to happen to myself.

Because the truth is that I actually feel pretty good about myself, especially after starting to lift weights and Zumba dance and watch what I eat a bit again. And especially because my curves are still bitchin’, I’m not morbidly obese, and honestly, I’m not lookin too bad.  I still feel sexy and beautiful, no matter what the media says or well-meaning friends, relatives, and countrymen might imply.

Although I do in fact want to lose weight and get healthier, I have a chance to start fresh, and release all the depression and sadness and weight on my shoulders that led me to give in to the FastBreak bar at the CVS checkout time and again. I’m not that sorry it happened- it is my life after all, and though at times it takes a lot of effort, I am grateful for every step.

And I realize just how lovely I was before, just how perfect I actually was, despite not looking quite like an airbrushed supermodel on the cover of Sports Illustrated or even just my naturally slender younger sister.

The naked, cold, calculating fact is that according to the charts, I am grossly overweight, and was even when I was at my happy weight, even when I was like 25% body fat which is normal for a woman. And I have a volumptuous, curvy body with a relatively large frame. So maybe, without going on a diet more severe than I care to endeavor, I will always be overweight. Even when I get back to my old, slightly more slender shape.

The truth is that when I was at my absolute skinniest, could count my ribs, and actually was in the healthy range, not even the upper limits of skinniness on the BMI chart, I was a size 10. Even when I was barely eating, I was still plus sized technically.  And I’ve always kind of hated myself for it.

But no more.

Now I finally realize how beautiful I was, and how beautiful I am, and that happiness really comes from within. I do weigh myself every morning, so that I can counteract the weight I’ve gained, which was in large part due to a spiral of stress, depression, loneliness, and a bit of quarter life crisis. Yes, I am an emotional eater and my weight reflects my happiness and my circumstances. Ihope that it won’t do so as much in the future as I learn better ways to calm myself and more importantly, hope that I find inner peace more easily regardless of my situation.

I ask myself, feeling guilty sometimes, why I haven’t done more to lose weight quickly. I know a lot of tricks, the kind of stuff you read in magazines, and I have in the past stuck to a low calorie diet. I’ve done a bunch of relatively difficult stuff in my life, like finishing an MBA in a year, so I know that I have the grit and willpower to do it. Why don’t I then? Now especially, when I am for the moment unemployed and could be spending hours at the gym and preparing food and counting calories and going nuts trying to control the one thing in my life that is kind of under my control?

The awkward truth is that it just doesn’t bother me that much. Like I said, I want to lose weight, and at this point the scale hasn’t moved and I’m pretty sure it’s due to muscle gain counteracting fat loss. When I was lifting consistently before I noticed a similar phenomenon. When I face the scale in the morning, I do in fact hope it goes down, but when it doesn’t, it doesn’t make me feel like a failure or ruin my day. I have so much bigger fish to fry. And while 20 pounds is a big deal, and does put me more at risk for the diabetes and other weight related diseases I’ve seen people in my family acquire, it’s really not.

Because the storm that made me turn to chocolate is going to calm itself in time, and things will get better and go back to some new normal. ALl this chaos is not goign to be permanent, and everyday I love myself a little more, accept the past, and am able to move on. I feel a lot better about myself, and while I know that does have something to do with weightlifting and taking better care of how I eat, ultimately I’m just not going to let 20 pounds get me down.

I will, in time, with patience and persistence, take them down, and replace fat with muscle. But they aren’t going to get me down about mysself. I’ve simply had too much of that. Hating my body is behind so many problems in my life, and letting other people convince me there was something wrong with me and I was a horrible person for not being “perfect” has led me to accept far less than I, or anyone, deserved.

As much as I’m ready to let the weight go, and am giving up those habits that led to gaining them, I can answer the question of how bad it would be to gain 20 pounds: NOT THAT BAD. If I gained 20 more, my answer would probably be different, because that would put me into a whole nother category.

I guess what I’ve finally figured out is that it’s ok not to be perfect, and it’s ok to stop striving for perfection. Along the same time as gaining the weight, I also “let my grades go” as in, didn’t go out of my way trying to get an A in anything. I know you should do your best at anything you try, but I decided other things in my life were important, and that getting As wasn’t a priority.  I guess that makes me less conscientious, and sometimes I would love for my GPA to be a little higher or to have gotten that award at graduation. But I’m also happy that I didn’t quit despite wanting to SO MANY times, happy that today I don’t think a whole year of my life was a mistake and am not only moving on, but am moving up up and away with what i learned.

I’ve also realized that letting myself gain weight, like letting myself get a B are my internal protests to the cruel order of the world as it seems sometiems, a bit of rebellion, a bit of rejection of authority. I’m not the prefect princess I once tried to be, and it’s okay. I don’t want to go back to that. I am a recovering perfectionist, and I am still too hard on myself, but I’ve finally realized that my inner critic is an enemy and not a friend. I dont need to hate on myself to excel or achieve. Now I’m learning that I can do it with love too, and it feels a whole lot better.

I don’t want to be that perfect person, I don’t want to be normal, and I don’t even want to be my “better,” thinner, more perfectonistic self. I am much happier now, even though I literally have no idea what life will bring me tomorrow, I feel a lot less control over my life generally especially in terms of where I will end up geographically or with who. I’ve let go a lot, and you know what, I really think I’ll be ok.

I don’t think I was born to follow anybody’s rules, or to try to turn myself into somebody I’m not. I don’t need to be more square or more hippie, more perfectionistic and rigid or more loose and casual. I don’t need to be more of a wanderer or a settler, a conservative or a xenophile. No, for the first time, I’m pretty happy being me, seeing where the road will take me, and knowing I have what it takes to get there and thrive there. More importantly, I know the road is life, and the road is home, and any goal achieved is just a part of the path.

It doesn’t lead to perfection, or even just death.  It leads with every step, every pound gained, every pound lost, every calling followed, and even every warning unheeded, it is all a path that leads to greater self awareness and Oneness with God.

In some way, becoming myself is all I ever really was meant to do or needed to do. And it’s an ongoing process, shaped not only by my choices, expectations, wishes, and hopes, but also by a ton of stuff outside of my control, sometimes which seem to be a series of unfortunate events but which faith and time prove to be just blessings in disguise, bullets dodged, and opportunities to get stronger.

Instead of thinking life was all about following the rules to get a reward, I realize the rules don’t always work, the road doesn’t always take you where you think it does despite your best efforts, and most importantly, that God is in the storm with you.  Life is not just the rainbow and the dove, life is also the flood, and fire , and lightning and hurricane. And it is all good, even if we can’t understand why.

I have been so blessed in my life. Truly lucky. There are many horrors in this world I haven’t come close to witnessing, but I have like most people shook my hand at the heavens in anger and demanded to know, Why me? or just, Why? How could you let this happen?

There’s a lot of answers I haven’t gotten, but the more I questioned, the more I realized it wasn’t always about what you get. It is about who you become and the process of transformation, as a sermon today taught me. it is all the journey, and every road leads home, and home is there with you all the time.

So I’m not too sorry about gaining 20 pounds. Sure, it will take some time and Zumba and discipline, and I will have to relearn some old Weight Watching habits, and I realy do’t want to have to go buy new clothes. And I do wish I was back in top form.

But I’m not sorry. Now I can lose weight like I once did as  achild, when I was’t competing with anyone and it wasn’t about looking like a magazine cover. It was about being able to play, and to just live a normal life without my weight holding me back. Ironically, as I strove to get really thin, worries about my weight then really stopped me, and I never felt more ugly or self conscious as when I weighe dmyself five times a day at my lightest weight.

This time, as I get thinner, I will keep running my own race, and keep loving myself. I will replace that unhappy weight with sheer love. I will stay healthy out of love for myself, and not fear of getting fat or simply trying to fit in.

This time, I’m losing weight because I want to be healthy, because the truest expression of who I am is careful about how she feeds herself and makes taking care of herself and developing inner and outer strength a priority.

This time, it’s not about pleasign them. Finally, it’s all for me.

Letting this weight go, letting those worries go, letting fear go, and letting the light in.