Before I got pregnant, I was a size 8.
For five hours. On one day in 1991. More than a decade before I actually got pregnant, but technically the statement holds true. That’s one of the perks of becoming a Mommy. You finally have someone to blame for the extra pounds.
I remember size 8 like it was yesterday. Most likely because yesterday is the last time I looked in my closet, where the size 8 dress still hangs. I wore it to a wedding. After months of sweating to the oldies and fasting between diet shakes, I’d managed to slim myself down to a size 9. I then stuffed myself into a pair of control top pantyhose that enabled me to squeeze my size 9 body into my size 8 dress.
The wedding was fabulous. I danced all night. Not because I wanted to, because I was afraid to sit down. I couldn’t eat, drink or breathe, but I was a size 8 and all was right with the world. I avoided using the Ladies Room for fear I’d never wriggle back into my undergarments, but I was a size 8, and the need for circulation paled in comparison.
In the car on the way home, I ripped off my pantyhose. It felt good to breathe. I remember thinking it would feel good to eat, too. At the drive through, my growling stomach said “Yes, I would like fries with that – make it a double.”
The next day, the dress no longer fit. I hung it in the closet, vowing to wear it again. And there it still hangs, waiting fifteen or so years for me to keep my promise.
“We’re going on a diet,” I inform my husband, who give me a look that says What’s with this “we’re” nonsense?
“We’re exercising, too.” I think I hear him whimper, but I’m a woman on a mission and I won’t be deterred.
After researching weight loss programs online, I’m overwhelmed. When I was a size 8, there weren’t so many options. I now know the difference between saturated fat and trans fat (as well as trans fat and fat transsexuals, thanks to one wayward mouse click). I know to calculate my BMI, I need to square my height and divide by my weight or multiply my weight by the ratio of height to…
I don’t really know how to figure BMI. I’ve come up with a number resembling the national debt, which oddly enough, is also the number of Girl Scout Cookies I’ve consumed over the last fifteen years. I decide calculating my BMI requires visiting my high school algebra teacher, but I fear I no longer fit in the desk.
“I’m going to Weight Watchers tomorrow,” I announce to my husband, who’s retreated to the kitchen with the kids, hoarding the Doritos.
In the morning I stand in the weigh-in line. Hoping to reduce my weight by every last fraction of an ounce, I’ve cut my hair, shaved my legs and clipped my fingernails. I’ve removed my earrings, my bracelet and my wedding band. I removed the underwire from my bra before opting to remove my bra altogether. On the drive over, I blasted the heat in the hopes of sweating off another ounce.
The line shortens. In a last ditch effort, I jog in place and try to remove the elastic band from the seam of my pants.
Who me? As I untie my shoes I contemplate running, but a dash to the door is impossible from this stooped position.
“Good morning,” the weigher greets me. Her nametag says “I’m Angela. I lost 52 lbs. “Step on the scale, please,” Angela requests.
I step on the scale and have an out of body experience. I haven’t felt this short of breath since the control top pantyhose. I see a burst of light. I want to walk into it, but then I realize it’s just someone opening the blinds.
She doesn’t announce my weight, she writes it in my membership book. She hands me the book and I hand her twelve dollars, the current market price of shock therapy. I read the number and wonder if there’s a defibrillator on the premises.
“Are you staying for the meeting?”
“Umm yes…I need to sit down.”
“Great! You’ll need a nametag.”
As she jots down my name, I contemplate asking her to write, I’m Christine. Before I got pregnant, I was a size 8.