As I am typing these lines, I am 100 g or 3.5 oz away from reaching the weight that has been my target for the past 15 years. When I do – and since the aquafitness class starts this week, I have no doubt that I will – it means that I have successfully lost all of my excess university weight. It’s been my goal for such a long time that I don’t even know what the next one should be. Most likely, I’ll just try to lose another 5 kg / 11 lbs and take it from there – but I am also aware that muscles are heavier than fat, so my short-term goal is losing visible belly fat rather than a certain number on the scale.
There’s a certain genetic predisposition for weight gain coming from my maternal family’s side. Even on the oldest family pictures we own, that pre-date the First World War, my ancestors appear stocky and rotund. The only difference between them and me is that I am quite a bit taller than they were.
I was born a chubby baby, and never lost that appearance. Robust build, strong muscles; not fast, but good stamina; extracting every last calorie from a meal. Genetically designed for foraging or farm work. But unlike during prehistory (and most of history), I don’t have to actually find or grow my own food. There are no famines anymore in my part of the world where those “genetic gifts” would have made the difference between life and death.
Without the thyroid problems, I still would have been overweight. No illusions about that. They pushed me firmly into obesity territory, though, and ever since I have been struggling to leave it. Every ounce lost is the result of great effort, as if my body was desperately trying to hold on to the weight.
My husband, who easily eats twice as much as I do, has a different kind of metabolism. He used to be skinny, and even though he isn’t anymore, all it takes for him to lose some pounds is to exercise more. Within two weeks of starting his new job (where he’s on his feet all the time) he began looking visibly slimmer. If he put his mind to it, in a few short weeks he’d probably lose the 8 kg it took me over a year to get rid of.
I’m really hoping that the exercise will make the difference. My eating habits are pretty good – not perfect, but I very rarely exceed my calorie limit. Anything excessive makes me sick quite quickly anyway – fast food or junk food usually results in digestive problems. The only time when I can’t seem to go without it is when PMSing…
My ambition is not to become thin; that would be unrealistic. I never was, never will be. Sometimes, I wonder what that would be like. Would I carry myself differently? Would it influence my behaviour? Because being large has certainly left its mark on my psyche – I had my fair share of ridicule from strangers, and criticism from relatives. I never forget that I am fat, not even when alone. I wonder whether there is a certain point where I would?