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Monday, June 12, 2006

Fighting against the grain

When I weighed 300 pounds, nobody even blinked when I chose my meals carefully. The same was true when I was 200 pounds. Now that I'm under 160, many people -- particularly those who knew me at my highest weight -- think I need to ease up on my vigilance.

"You should treat yourself," "You deserve a freebie," "Don't you ever just let go?" are comments I get a lot. I try to laugh off such comments, and that often works. But then there are times when such comments lead into evaluations about my current weight. A few well-meaning people have told me that they think I've lost enough weight and that I should stop now. And they use that opinion as justification of why I should have a slice of cheesecake or sample some ice cream.

I don't do so well when people feel the need to tell me how much I should weigh. One would argue that I should be able to tell people that my weight is none of their business. However, I have a hard time drawing such lines in the sand. After all, writing my column and this blog puts me in the spotlight. If I'm going to put myself out there publicly, I don't feel like I get to tell people to mind their own business. I realize this is untrue. I can make myself as private or public as I wish, but it's still hard for me to do.

Instead, I point out to people that with BMI of 28, I'm still considered overweight. I need to lose about 20 pounds before I'm even on the high end of normal. Of course, that usually leads to sideway glance, during which the person tries to picture me smaller than I am now. Then the person typically crinkles his or her forehead and says, "Wow...but that would make you too skinny. You don't want to do that, do you?" Usually, I shrug and say I'm undecided.

That's the truth; I am undecided. I'm very happy at my present weight. I'm healthy; I feel good; life is amazingly easy for me. And I don't feel like I have to work that hard to maintain this weight. But I also know that the more weight I lose within the next three months, the more I'll be likely to keep off forever. And that makes me want to maximize the remainder of my honeymoon period.

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