Tricks of the Yo-Yo Trade

Skinny girls are not going to get this blogpost.  Nor are men, most likely, though I imagine hefty men might have their own version of this phenomenon, and I’d be interested to hear it.

Throughout my adult life, my weight has fluctuated all over the place within 50 pounds, the lower end of which is technically a bit high according to body mass index charts, although it feels like paradise to me.  I am a yo-yo.

And yo-yos are famous for their tricks.  Walk the Dog… the Tidal Wave…Sleeper… Around the World… you probably remember these from your playground years.

So as a yo-yo dieter, I have my own tricks, and I think they’ll be familiar to many a woman.  When I’m eating poorly and not exercising mindfully, which for me is about 50 percent of the time, I do not have a sense of humor about this problem. When I’m on the wagon, I’m hopeful, encouraged and in possession of a healthy sense of humor which helps me see the lunacy of judging myself (and assuming others will) based purely on love handles (or love handles that have become more like memory foam pillows).

Judging ourselves by this one standard is ludicrous indeed.  For I have to say that there is no one whom I don’t like because they are overweight.  I may wish for their sake that they had less health risk (like I wish this for myself).  I may indeed judge them, 1) because I’m judgmental and 2) because I think that they “should get the problem under control” (which somehow doesn’t relate to me, since I’m convinced some days that I do and other days that I can’t). In other words, I hold others to a higher standard than I do myself.  As usual.

Yet I like who I like, and I think people are attractive or not based a lot more on the vibes they put out than on their dress sizes.  In fact I’m somewhat suspicious of social x-rays (thanks Tom Wolfe), though I’m working on avoiding that bias too.

Anyway… this morning I was trying to stretch my jeans before I went somewhere in them.  And I realized I was making animal warrior noises as I did knee-bends.  I caught myself in the mirror and laughed.  If you don’t know what those sounds are, clearly you haven’t made them.  They’re fierce. And make jeans stretch.  That’s a trick of the yo-yo trade.

And then I chose a long shirt to camouflage… well, everything.  And that wasn’t enough to do the trick, so I decided to go to the event I was heading for  on the early side so that I could be seated before others arrived, so they could focus on my cute hairstyle and not my hips.  If you don’t resonate with this, there are other blogs for you.  If you do, then you may have been sitting in the chair I wanted when I got to some other event.

Though today when I reached my car, I realized that the shirt just wasn’t long enough for the approach and the getaway necessary as book-ends to my sitting.  So I went back in the house to find an even-longer shirt, worrying that I’d be late if I took the time to change.  When I realized that “on time” is not late and that I was only going to be late for being early (which would not be necessary if my clothes actually fit and I didn’t need to be early in order to be seated first before the others arrived)… okay, do you hear this?  This is nuts.  And women go through this all the time.

We wear sweaters or fleeces (in summer!) tied around our waists in case we get cold (i.e. to cover bulges).  We hold pillows in our laps on couches.  When someone pulls out a camera, we think through angles and calisthenics — chin up and out, eyelids lifted, stomach in, hip turned, “avoid full frontal and don’t be closest to the camera,” legs just so.  We look at our reflections everywhere, not for stray spinach in the teeth but to see if we are fundamentally okay.

And that’s the problem.  We’re okay.  Or we’re not.  But body size is just not the problem.  I can picture now that I’ll get a comment from someone reminding me of the health hazards of being overweight or telling me that often when people are overweight, they have unresolved issues in their lives.  I know about all that; my health borders on poor and I definitely have unresolved issues (you don’t?).  And I’m still not a believer in the “nag them and they’ll magically change” genre of conversation.

I just want to sound a call for women to enjoy each other and themselves “as is.”  Just go where you want to go, focused on gratitude for the chance to go, for the chance to breathe, and focused on the other people there who are worried about their own limitations and imperfections. Maybe they are super-fit but convinced they aren’t smart enough or are humiliated about their hair (“Too straight!”  “Too curly!”) or social status (“boring and married” or “desperately single”).  There’s always someone to compare to, and comparison is the thief of joy, ya know

Yes, lose the weight if you can; you’ll live longer and have better things to think about than your hips.  But in the meantime, animal warrior noises or not, put on your big girl pants (tight though they may be) and show up for life.  People will be glad you came.

An exercise in self-image... and something I made as a child.


~ by Cary on September 8, 2010.

10 Responses to “Tricks of the Yo-Yo Trade”

  1. “comparison is the thief of joy” – I needed to hear that this week! Thank you Cary!

  2. Hi, Cary. Loved this post and the doll! We should always celebrate one another… and honesty! — Robin.

  3. Thank you, Cary. This did me WORLDS of good!!!

  4. Gosh, could you just really break it down and get a tad more HONEST???? Thank you, Cary, for all that you ARE— which is awesome.

  5. I agree.. Besides” living longer” may be over-rated. Living well now is the point, isn’t it?

  6. I’m glad you came. And thanks for the photo tips.

  7. I love you:-). That’s all. I love you.

  8. Love this! And yay for showing up!

  9. So I can’t get over that chocolate chip cookies are my favorite food group requiring multiple servings a day:). Love the post Cary – completely relate.

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