A decade ago, I had this saying, “Why work out when you look this good?” Every morning, I stood in line at Starbucks for a grande hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant. I ordered a BLT and bag of potato chips for lunch. And every night, I snacked on plates of Bagel Bites. It didn’t matter what I ate. I never step foot in a gym. I was skinny and happy.
That happiness came crashing down when I peaked at 20 pounds of weight gain during grad school. Daily binge drinking, the late night munchies, and never-ending partying had taken its toll. I became obsessed with losing the weight. I counted calories. I stepped on a scale a dozen times a day. I started working out to exhaustion. The pounds held firm. Step on scale. Go to work. Count calories. Run for an hour. Count calories. Step on scale. That was my routine. I talked about dieting constantly. I was disgusted with myself. Friends were frustrated with me.
It took me several years to feel good about my body and happy again. I needed a caring professional to help me get there, but I finally figured it out. I told myself, “Fuck it. I’m tired of starving myself. I am so tired of this damn mental calorie counter. I’m tired of living this hollow life and being scared to eat. I don’t care if I balloon up like a fat lady. I cannot live this life anymore.” I stopped dieting. I quit my gym membership. I stopped exercising. I started eating again—cautiously at first, but then more and more robustly. Jack-in-the-Box? Bring it on.
The metabolism that had eluded me finally returned to normal. I really can eat whatever I want and not gain weight. Ironically, when I overeat, I lose weight. My metabolism speeds up and processes it quickly. I could spend an hour on the toilet, dripping poo.
Here’s the dilemma. I’m now fucking with my perfect metabolism. How? By running. In a rash moment, I signed up for a half marathon and the running is screwing my metabolism. I’m gaining weight. No, it’s not muscle. Unless muscle suddenly gives you a muffin top around your belly button…no it’s not muscle. Because I’m running, I’m eating more. I don’t run lightly. I pound hard and fast and so on the many days I don’t run, my weight ticks up because my body is telling itself it needs to run to lose the weight. It’s driving me batty.
People exercise to feel good, to lose weight. Exercise doesn’t help me. I’m aching. My leg muscles spasm in the middle of the night. I have to schedule sports massages to help with the pain. So stupid. I wish I hadn’t registered.