Quarantine has not been kind to our bodies around here. We are weighed in regularly at our quarterly psychiatrist appointments, but with everything going telehealth, it had been since January that we had a weigh in. So imagine my surprise when we all weighed in within a week and found that Jolie, Rylee, and I had all gained 30 pounds each, and Paisley, our little string bean who only gains 2-3 pounds a year, had gained 18. Our doctors were not worried, as it seems a lot of people have gained during quarantine. But they did warn us to be careful because another 30 lb gain wouldn’t be seen as kindly.
Will, ever the health conscious of the two of us, kicked it into high gear and had Rylee sign up for MyFitnessPal to track her calories to help her lose 10 pounds. (Jolie is firmly in the IDGAF camp and is managing herself.) While his intentions are undoubtedly pure, it has had devastating effects on my middle child. She obsessed over every bite she put in her mouth and let the negative self-talk creep in, wishing aloud how she wasn’t so fat or ugly. Last night was the final straw when she collapsed at the end of my bed and started bawling her eyes out. She explained that she was tired of looking at food as what you can and can’t have. She was offered a brownie in her video editing class and she said she knew she would have too many calories if she took it because she had Italian wedding cookies to sample in her baking class later that afternoon. She decided to take it anyway but then, in a fit of guilt, she stashed it in her backpack and threw it away after class. “But Mom, I really wanted that brownie. I just wish I could go back to when I didn’t care what I put in my mouth.” And I really felt that. Because I too, had been dieting since I was 13. And it sucks always looking at food as good and bad. Worrying about the extra calories and fitting into your clothes. Both of my parents are obese. I am technically obese. I don’t want my kids to struggle like I did.
I was thinking last week about my impending 43rd birthday and what I had learned in my 42nd year, the year of epiphany and wonder. I had high hopes for that year, but I was struggling with a blog post that encapsulated my year, one that was ¾ spent in quarantine. It struck me that I have become the epitome of Gen-X—as long as I’m not hurting anyone, do I really give a fuck? I wear a mask, I socially distance, I eat something sweet every single night, I smoke the occasional joint to relax. Yes, I weigh too much according to the BMI scale. My bloodwork probably isn’t where it should be, but I am a firm believer that I have one life to live and by god, I’m going to live it. I hope I model this philosophy to my kids because after all, we should let them be kids. Model good behavior (Rylee and I are gym buddies, we cook healthy dinners together) and let the doritos fall where they may. I don’t want to be a skinny 92 year old looking back wishing I hadn’t forsaken the extra dollop of whipped cream. I’d rather go out as the plump 70-something who rocked too hard at her favorite band’s concerts and enjoyed one too many cheese plates. It’s trite. It’s quaint. But it’s true. Just let it be.
And for christ’s sake, always take the brownie!