There’s something comforting about being overweight. Research shows that chubby people are perceived as being younger than their actual age. Extra fat helps to smooth out the wrinkly areas. Now that I’ve lost a fair amount of pounds, I’m noticing the wrinkles more. My skin is starting to get crepey…. no, not creepy …crepey. My age is coming through. I didn’t have a problem with turning 30, or even 40, but 50 is less than two years away and there’s no fooling myself into thinking that I still have one half of my life to live.
Being overweight in my 20’s and 30’s wasn’t about disguising my age. It was about hiding myself. You see, for most of my young adult years I was involved in a sexless relationship with Husband #1.
If you’ve ever watched Married…With Children, maybe you can understand. I was Peg to Husband #1’s Al Bundy. I was ready, willing, and able at the drop of a hat. I had to be. Husband #1 controlled that entire aspect of our relationship. If I said “no, not now” there was no guarantee that a chance of intimacy would happen again in a month, 6 months, a year.
My longest dry spell was 3 years.
Not by choice.
Which is why I buried myself in extra pounds.
Growing up, there was no shortage of boyfriends in my social life. I was cute, funny, adventurous, and smart. I took those traits into college, where I met Future Husband #1. He was handsome, quiet, fun, and mysterious. We hit it off, dated, lived together, married and divorced in the span of 15 years.
In the beginning of that relationship, I still had men hitting on me. But I was not good at saying “no” so I ate to cover my loneliness and frustration. I didn’t want to be one of those women who cheated on their spouse. Instead, I did everything I could to become invisible to the opposite sex. It worked. While I had many guy friends, none of them would have been interested in dating me.
I let myself go.
There was a period of time where I stopped shaving my legs. A razor didn’t touch my skin for close to 18 months. Why bother? Husband #1 wasn’t interested in feeling my legs so why go through the effort? (Side note: After my divorce from Husband #1 I vowed I would never skip shaving my legs ever again. I’ve kept that promise to myself even when Husband #2 proclaimed my leg hair as too light to see or feel. Sorry, Bub, that’s one road I will never travel again.)
With Husband #2, the frustrations were different. We didn’t suffer from the same “you’re human and I’m asexual” issues, but I still felt a void. I was at the bottom of Husband #2’s priority list (no surprise there, he’s admitted it and I knew it).
I turned to my old friend, food, to help me hide from unwanted advances from outside men. It turns out that as you get older, some men no longer see a wedding ring as a barrier to entry – more like a challenge…
And that’s where I found my overweight self on December 31st, 2012.
While I don’t recommend divorce as a weight loss method, I’ve embraced the additional free time that I have discovered since Husband #2’s departure (not so much him, more the disbanding of our business). Time at a computer is now limited to a reasonable 40 hours per week. Gone are the 15 hour workdays. Now I can cook from scratch, exercise (at lunch or after dinner – maybe even both), and have time for reading or going out with friends in the evening.
I still have bouts with emotional eating (today was one of them). Thankfully apps like LoseIt help me to keep track of what goes in so I can work extra hard to make sure it goes out just as fast. I realize I can go a little crazy with Chocolate Peanut Butter Haagen Das as long as I hit the elliptical for an hour.