Wedding Woes

LW, I am so sad for you.

Dear Prudence,

I hate my body. For a good six months, I (F, age 38, two kids) reached a lower weight goal after following a strict diet and exercise regime. I was happy. I was a thin model. And then I burnt out, and for two weeks I did not work out and ate normally. And I gained it all back! I am defeated and I hate myself and my body. I don’t know what to do. To me, going to therapy is giving up and accepting being a porker and looking mediocre. And menopause is around the corner and I am dreading the weight gain. How do I get back on track?


Re: LW, I am so sad for you.

  • Unfortunately, I know WAY too much about this subject.

    I wish the LW mentioned how much weight they gained.  I can't imagine it was very much, considering it was only over two weeks.

    They think it is going to take them 6 months to lose it again.  That is very unlikely.  If she goes back to her normal eating habits and exercise routine, the weight will probably fly back off.

    Because this is what our bodies do.  They get used to being a certain weight.  They like it there.  This mechanism sucks when you are trying to lose weight because your body will fight you on it.  But once it is used to the new routines and lower weight, it also wants to revert back to that once things go back to normal.

    Case in point.  When I went on a 10-day vacation in September, including a cruise with unlimited food and drink, I gained 6.5 pounds.  I didn't regret my food and drink choices.  But I was a bit bummed to set myself back by what I thought would be about a month.  I lost that weight in 4 days once I went back to my normal eating!

    However, my bigger concern for the LW is her "normal" diet needs to be something that she is happy with and stays full on.  It needs to be a lifestyle change.  I definitely have an occasional lax day or days where I eat something I shouldn't.  But overall, I'm happy with the lower-calorie/high protein diet I am on.  I stay full and it's filled with foods I like.  It IS my normal eating now, so there isn't a wagon to fall off of for two weeks.  The closest I could picture coming to that is eating more fast food and chips, because I used to do that more.  But even that was usually only 1-2x/week on the fast food.

    Though she's got me on the exercise!  I hate spending my time exercising and I make the flimsiest excuses not to.

    Her first step should be using a TDEE calculator so she has a better idea how many calories will maintain her weight and how many calories to lose "X pounds" per week.  They are woefully inaccurate for me, but I also have endless health problems.  I've heard they are fairly accurate for most people.

    She should speak to her doctor or gyno.  Especially about how menopause affects weight and strategies she can take.  Possibly have bloodwork done to check for conditions that affect weight.  Like insulin resistance and hypothyroidism.  

    I could give a bunch more advice, but the LW isn't here and that's going off-topic, lol.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Therapy is really a good idea here. This really sounds like LW has an unrealistic expectation for what her body should look like and how much she should weigh. Realistically, you can't gain that much weight over two weeks. Maybe you can see the scale change by 5-10 lbs if you're retaining water from all the salt in prepared foods, but most of that doesn't stay once you return to your normal diet.  Classifying that 10 lb heavier version of herself as "giving up" and "a porker" is really close to heading down that road to ED, especially with hating her body. Not all bodies are the same and not all of us are meant to be "thin models." 

    I get this LW, I really do. I lost a significant amount of weight during the pandemic and have a really weird relationship with my body. Sometimes I still see my old body in the mirror. Sometimes I see a thin model. Sometimes it's something else. I try really, really hard to focus on what my body can do instead of how it looks, but it's really hard, especially because we live in a world where we're constantly bombarded with images and messages about what our bodies should look like.  

  • Therapy and potentially working with a registered dietitian. But definitely therapy because even thinking that therapy means you’ll be a “porker” shows a helluva lot of self-hatred and fat phobia. 

    If LW really is concerned about nutrition and body health they need a sustainable plan not a strict regime that burns them out after six months. They need to work with a real dietician to understand real fueling for their body. 

    I get it- I’m worried about losing the weight after this baby already- but the only way to do it is in a safe, healthy way and this isn’t it. 
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