This morning two of my colleagues were bemoaning the weight they'd gained over the holidays. There was talk of irresistible cheese platters, sumptuous barbecues and rivers of wine. "Christmas" and "barbecue" in the same sentence is still a concept my northern hemisphere brain is struggling to get accustomed to.
When I was 25 stone (350lb, 159kg) I'd look to all the "normal" girls chatting away and long to be like them, I longed to join in their conversations to the fullest. So many subject areas banished me into silence. I couldn't talk about food lest the monster appear and I say something to give away just how greedy I must be to be that size. The utter shame of someone with my girth having the nerve to talk with the beautiful people about chocolate or, heaven forbid, actual healthy food. Would you let an animal torturer join your conversation about cute ickle tiny kittens? I don't think so.
My participation in "normal girl" world was very limited. I couldn't talk about clothes, my fat shops labels wouldn't quite cut the muster and bargains in the shape of size 28 tents weren't anything to be proud of. Discussions about the gym were completely off limits. Even by the time I'd started going myself I was clearly on a different plain and my 2 minute exertion in a sweaty mess didn't compare to their sportastic triumphs. I imagined patronising smiles of praise for my lolloping effort at movement while the real grown ups were aching to finish telling their tales of weekend fun runs, bootcamps and triathlons.
I certainly couldn't ever talk about blokes, it would be too far a stretch of anyone's imagination to think a guy might have been interested in me. The very idea of labelling some poor chap as the object of my infatuation would have been the utmost insult to him.
Of course some may say my feelings of inadequacy were purely my perception. But to me it was very real and it was one of the things I most loved about becoming 85kg (187lb). For the first time in my life I wasn't morbidly obese, or even just obese, I was a normal overweight girl. I happily let myself join in normal girl conversations about the gym, about clothes (now they came from regular stores like everyone else) and even about the weight I wanted to lose.
As the weight crept (*read "piled very rapidly") back on, I found myself re-gaining many of those same inhibitions back. But with just these last couple of weeks of goodness I've been getting more and more in touch with that former healthy-headed me. Some aspects of my thinking are leaping way ahead of my once-again-obese body.
So I joined in the chat. We all shared a goal of shifting excess weight we'd recently gained after all. I spoke of how I'd started going back to the gym and we even discussed whether we'd all go to a class together some day. The conversation moved back towards the subject of weight; one lass said she figured she'd gained around 3 kilos over the break alone and the other thought her increase was about the same level. She said with horror that she is the heaviest weight she'd ever ever been, 10 kilos more than before she had kids 6 years ago. The two of them talked for a little bit about pregnancy weight and then for my next contribution to the conversation I volunteered the information that I'd regained 30 kilos1 in less than a year....
The awkward responses and silence that ensued were more than enough to remind me - "normal" girls just don't do that.
1 66lb - sorry I slip between measurement units depending on when I'm talking about. When I grew up and lived in the UK my thinking was in stones and pounds, but now 5 years in Australia has finally converted me to kilos.