Thursday, April 22, 2010

Divorcing Weight

As my body attempts to return to a “normal,” pre-pregnancy state, I am thrilled to announce that something finally fits me. My wedding rings, which I had to take off weeks ago, are back on! I forced the band on a few days ago, but today, thanks to the fare-thee-well to all water retention, I was able to slide the engagement ring on, almost effortlessly. And since I’m already bragging…I might as well add that my shoes fit again, too! I had forgotten what unswollen, normal feet looked like but, by God, they are beautiful things. These are small victories, to be sure, but a harbinger of what will (eventually) happen with my clothes, I hope.

All this pregnancy recovery has, of course, caused an ugly subject to rear its ugly head. I am referring to two of my least favorite words in the English language…weight loss. Because I am scatter-brained and frequently distracted, my thoughts about losing weight have progressed only as far as deciding that we need a new way to term the process of subtracting pounds from our bodies, because “losing” is not really an appropriate description.

In my life, the things I lose happen to me without effort. And I lose things all the time. My keys are never where they’re supposed to be, and they must be cavorting with the remote, wherever it is they go to when they disappear. Papers of various importance frequently get lost, all without any effort from me. One minute, things are where they’re supposed to minute, gone. My kids lose stuff a lot, as I am confident all kids do. Nadia’s sippy cup is always missing, even though everyone is positive that she had it 12 seconds ago. Grace and Nadia lose socks quicker than Bruce Willis lost his hair. And then there’s the stock market, which has lately reminded us that it can lose a phenomenal amount of a person’s wealth, almost overnight, also completely without effort.

Which brings me back to the issue of why we call it losing weight when, for most people, weight loss is anything but easy or effortless. I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a more appropriate, fitting term and have decided to rename the whole process “divorcing weight.” A divorce automatically invokes unpleasant thoughts and implies a struggle and a whole lot of hard feelings. And that sums up, quite nicely I think, what it’s like to subtract pounds.

The divorce analogy works on multiple levels. A weight divorce is a fight between the ideal self and the actual self. The ideal self feels betrayed by the actual self, while the actual self is left insecure and depressed. There are irreconcilable differences between the two, as the actual self turns on itself. There is resentment and there are tears, and the whole process often goes on and on, far longer than intended. Often times, the experts come in (in lieu of lawyers, we get personal trainers, diet plans, etc) and the fees start to add up. Time passes, progress is slow, exhaustion sets in. Standards are lowered, and there is bartering between the selves to achieve an acceptable outcome, though the actual self rarely gets what it wanted. The “children” involved are the skinny clothes, which have been hung onto and coveted for so many years that no one sees them for what they really are (faded, out-of-style) but as the trophies of thinner, self-loving, long-ago days.

Of course, losing weight sounds much more manageable than divorcing weight. But, then again, divorcing weight sounds permanent, whereas lost weight implies that the weight will return (which is perhaps why it’s called “lost,” since most lost things eventually find their way home again…see keys, remotes, sippy cups, pounds, etc). Since very few divorces result in reunification, I’m taking the bold(er) step and aiming for divorce.

Of course, thinking up new terms is likely not going to help me, as I have discovered that exercise of the mind does nothing for the body (which is a shame, because I waste a lot of time inside my own head). So let me finish this ruminating and get on to the business at hand. Please wish me a speedy and painless divorce.