Two years ago, when my marriage broke up, one of the most heinous things was how I would finally begin to drift off to sleep after lying in bed weeping for an hour, and then with a jolt my subconscious would yell at me: “HE LEFT YOU FOR ANOTHER WOMAN! HE’S GONE AND HE’S NEVER COMING BACK!” And I would wake up with a horrified start and remember my misery all over again and cry and cry and cry.

Every once in a blue moon, even in a new city, living a new life, it still happens, although I don’t cry anymore when my brain starts to yell that bullshit at me. I just say: “Whatever. Shut up.”

But do you know what happened TODAY? I decided to have the first President’s Day afternoon nap of my life and just as I was drifting off, my subconscious started yelling: “CAN YOU FEEL THAT??!!?? THAT’S A DOUBLE CHIN!! YOU’RE GETTING FAT!!!” And I woke up with a similarly horrified start.

But indeed it’s true. I have worked non-stop for six months — I had one week off at Christmas, but other than that, I can count on one hand how many days off I’ve had since I’ve been here. I am not close to my gym every day, and I’m online constantly keeping on top of things for my job, which means I am sitting on my ass. And may I just say that I once had a really cute bubble bum that was the envy of my girlfriends and now it’s flat as a pancake? That’s right! I defied nature and flattened my own ass! This is also because I went from a religious five-day a week spin class habit to, if I’m LUCKY, two times a week, plus I try to throw in an hour of tennis on the weekend. I am not eating a ton, but I am occasionally indulging in the odd cookie or brownie I make for my son, something I used to be really disciplined about.

Translation: seven to eight-pound weight gain, flat ass, low self-esteem about my appearance right now. I hate how gaining weight feels — the aforementioned double chin, the thickness around the middle, the vaguely sausage-y legs.  It pisses me off and demoralizes me.

And here’s the thing that is so maddening: I never eat a big meal. I cook for my son and then either eat whatever’s left on his plate (tonight: three bites of steak, a slice of tomato and some peas: very peasant-like, but I don’t like eating a big dinner, so it’s usually just a little taste of everything and that works) or I have an apple and a hunk of cheese or a bowl of cereal. That’s how I’ve always eaten when I’m single, and in the olden days, that was enough to keep me slim.

But I’m in my 40s now and apparently the metabolism has screeched to a halt. So unless I eat like a bird AND work out five times a week AND never, ever touch any sweets, I will be a size or two bigger than I like to be.

I wish I didn’t care. Why can’t I say: “Whatever. Go away” just as I did when my brain was terrorizing me about my marriage breakup? But I cannot. After spending my whole life fretting about everything I eat and always working out for fear of gaining weight, the demoralizing, misery-inducing “YOU’RE GETTING FAT!!!” voice is one I cannot shut off.

Losing weight is a simple formula: eat less, move more. But Christ it would be nice if my obsession about it would just take a vacation for awhile.

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