My beautiful, curvy, 50-something friend is on a diet... 1400 calories. Report is, she’s been on it for two weeks and has lost 5 lbs.
Her last diet was one of those low-carb deals. She lost 20 lbs. in 8 weeks so she could be skinny-stunning for her high school reunion. That was 3 years ago. She kept it off for maybe 6 months, “cheating” a little bit once in a while; a few crackers here, a bite of potato there, until one day the evil carb-demon grabbed her by the throat... she went carb-wild... put all the weight back on plus a little.
She swears that this time it will be different...
“I’ll never be fat again!” Every dieter falls prey to this delusion. Rejoicing as the scale tips lower, they shop for a new wardrobe, send their “fat” clothes to the Goodwill. Not so fast sweetheart... better stow those tent dresses in the attic, because if you do manage to keep the weight off, and I can almost guarantee you won’t... you’ll be beating some awfully tough odds. 95% of dieters regain lost weight within 5 years. And it’s not nearly so much fun watching the numbers ramp up, if you’re brave enough to look.
The body hates to let go of weight. When it does, it does so grudgingly.
Truth be told, I don’t think my friend needs to lose weight. Like most middle-aged women, her slender 20’s now a menopausal memory, she, like me, has a typical 50-year-old female body, full breasts and belly, “applish” rather than “pearish,” hip and thigh padding having migrated northward... no longer needed as a caloric repository for those child-bearing years of yore.
Heaven knows, I still long for slenderer days from time to time, especially when I catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror, or see myself in a photograph. Who’s that fat lady? Not sure what’s more shocking, my formidable form, or my shock of graying hair. In any case, “my how you’ve grown,” the thing we loved to hear when we were 6 or 7, is not welcome at 56 or 57.
The fond memory of how things used to be dies hard. But this is how I look. And I have a choice. Fight off the fat one more time, or calmly (or not-so-calmly) accept my body, in all its glory, the way it is. I choose the latter.
On 1400 calories, my friend’ll definitely lose. At first, water and muscle... then maybe some fat. Her metabolism will slow down as her body compensates for a perceived famine. It doesn’t give a fig that swimsuit season is just around the corner. It just knows that the gravy-train has come to a screeching halt and it’s time to hunker down for a hungry month or two. As her metabolism slows, that last pesky 5 lbs. will stubbornly refuse to go. She can bank on it.
Eventually, a famished whirlwind will overtake her, her body will refuse to be deprived any longer in this land of plenty, and her lost weight will come skipping back, happy to return.