What does gaining 40 pounds really mean?

Gaining weight may just seem like a number to people who have their weight under control. But if its spinning away from you, there are signs all over your body that the pounds are more than just a number:

On my arm there are pinch marks left by a watch that used to be loose.

I now sleep with a pillow between my legs because sleeping on my side is no longer comfortable without it.

There are clothes hanging in the closet that no longer fit.

It’s harder to get down on the floor. And of course, harder to get up.

Workouts are harder, and not just because I haven’t been exercising for awhile. It’s because 40 pounds is a lot more weight to move around. (But the good news is, I’m sticking with it again.)

There is the miserable feeling of being unattractive, no matter how I sit, stand, position myself, or try to disappear.

There is snoring because my airways are narrower.

There is the imminent increase in blood pressure and in cholesterol, just waiting to happen (so far, so good).

There are the higher chances of developing killers such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

And there is disappointment in myself. After working so hard to lose weight and keeping it off for 5 years, 40 pounds is more than a just a number. It represents a way I don’t want to live. It represents a failure, a constant, every-minute reminder of what I am doing wrong.

Yes, it’s true that my life has been difficult over the last 5 years. Downsizing and other changes at work. Caregiving at home. More work on every front. Unfortunately (or not, I suppose, depending on your point of view), food has been there to comfort me. Even when I didn’t know I was being comforted by it. Even when I didn’t know I was eating it. And now perhaps the need isn’t as strong, but the good habits I developed need to be redeveloped. They seem like distant memories now, when they used to just feel like part of life. Weighing food was a habit. Now it’s a chore. Walking past the candy dish at work was easier than it is now. Journaling my food was a hard habit to develop, and now it is hard to develop it again.

What’s it going to take to get rid of the weight again? Hard, hard work. Can I do it? I think so.

Because I DON’T like being part of the 80 percent of African American women who are obese or overweight. It’s not healthy. And it’s a scary place to be.

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