For all of my childhood and adolescence, I was tiny. Not just short – although I’m 5-foot-nothin’ – but tiny, like size 0, make-jokes-about-how-I-skinny-I-am, count-my-ribs tiny.
I gained weight in my early 20s at my first sedentary desk job, panicked when I realized I had to fit into a preordered bridesmaid’s dress for my best friend’s wedding, went on a crash diet just before the wedding, shed a bunch of weight, and mostly kept it off by going to the gym on a regular basis. I wasn’t skinny, but I felt good in a little black dress most of the time.
Then came the kids.
I didn’t gain much weight with either of my pregnancies – at ages 26 and 31 – because I was so sick, and then with nursing my kids, the extra pounds fell off.
“I’m nursing Georgia till she’s 20,” I would say with my mouth full of buttered noodles, dipping a hunk of bread into olive oil. “This is great!”
The truth is, I probably would have nursed Georgia indefinitely, but she weaned herself quite some time ago, and now she is 7, and I am easily 20 pounds heavier than I’d like to be – and when you’re 5-foot-nothin’, those 20 pounds really show.
And although I can’t blame the kids for the weight gain, I can blame them for the lack of free time that keeps me from working out.
Sometimes I really don’t care. I want to eat fries and sno-balls and po’ boys and huge plates of chicken parm and cheese platters and daiquiris and beignets – and sometimes I want all of those things more than I want to lose weight. It’s very hard to live in New Orleans and be on a diet (especially when you’re also married to a food writer).
Other times, I’m depressed that none of my old clothes fit or that my face looks fat or that I’ve worn holes in the thighs of two of my favorite pairs of pants courtesy of the charmingly named “chub rub.”
I don’t want to do some kind of drastic diet because that always makes me crazy; when I was dieting in my 20s, I actually yelled at a coworker for offering me a piece of birthday cake.
But I would like to lose some weight – for health reasons, for personal vanity, for trying to learn to love my body again so I can set a good example for my daughters.
I’ve heard about all of it – keto and paleo and Whole 30 – but I’m trying to just watch my portion sizes and cut out desserts/chips in hopes that it will actually be sustainable for me in a way that something more restrictive would not be.
I’d love to hear from y’all, though: What works for you in this city full of deep-fried temptations? Any words of encouragement? Healthy recipes you love? Share with me in the comments please.