Reassessing whether your lowest adult weight is really your healthiest
I, like many women, have always fixated on my Lowest Adult Weight, carrying it around like an old, tarnished trophy: 132 pounds in the fall of 2011, a season when I was angry and miserable — but god, the clothes I could wear. Now I'm older and soft and 150-something pounds, and I hate that I feel envy toward that unhappy 25-year-old, the one who every day ate the exact same salad at her horrible job, sped directly to a workout after 6 p.m., made a halfhearted sandwich at home, and then fell into bed, exhausted from getting through the day.
I’m not the type of person who gets skinny when she’s stressed; typically, I eat my feelings in big chocolate-y bites. But there was something very particular about that summer and fall, an almost manic adhesion to schedule, and then a growing fascination with my shrinking body, the way I used to be there and then wasn’t. I stood in front of the mirror and stared hard at the crack of light between my thighs. If I was wearing a skirt and sat down too suddenly, there was a small clapping sound as my thin legs met. I went home for the Fourth of July and spent an hour pulling old high school jeans from my closet, trying them on and then admiring the looseness, how they now gaped at the waist and sagged in the ass.
I told my editor I wanted to write an essay about coming to terms with the fact that my “dream body” was a product of misery, but now the white screen blinks back at me. What if I’m not over it? It’s such a petty, embarrassing thing to fixate on, amidst my very full life. I love my job, I’m surrounded by a big cushy net of wonderful, supportive people, and I have borderline too-high confidence in my own intelligence and creativity. I have my shit more or less together in most other life realms. And yet, my stupid fucking weight. The doughy flesh around my hips and abdomen that once didn’t exist. It strikes me: I literally can’t stop navel-gazing. I’m a feminist and an advocate for self-acceptance, so why do these 20 pounds take up such an outsize amount of space in my mind?
Part of what nags me is that I’m just not as healthful now as I was then; I can blame injuries, invisible, slow-to-heal wounds in my wrist and then knee and then foot that shut down my running routine and kept me out of the yoga studio, but I know it’s not just that. I was more disciplined in 2011, more determined to say no to the cupcake and to hit the gym no matter what. I don’t believe I was dealing with disordered eating or an exercise addiction, since it genuinely didn’t bother me to set the healthy routine aside for a week or two, but I can’t figure out where all that self-control came from. More importantly: Where did it go?
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