But this stress-induced appetite loss has its upside: accidental weight loss. I have somehow managed to shed three-quarters of the 10 pounds I wanted to lose. I have half-joked around with friends lately that I only need this stress to last for 2 ½ more pounds until I’m at my goal weight.
And it’s true. My clothes are fitting me better, or are even too big in some cases, and I successfully squeezed myself into my “skinny jeans.” No, I don’t mean the style that you can walk into any store and find, I mean my proverbial skinny jeans. The ones I bought two days before my wedding when I was at my very thinnest—also from stress. When I called up one of my close friends and said, “I am so excited!” and she responded, “I know! You’re getting married in two days!” my response was, “Oh, that too. But I just bought a pair of jeans in a size 26!” Her response? “Wow, that is exciting.”
But this is not the same body that fit into those jeans almost 10 years ago. As I stood in our bathroom this morning with my husband and examined my almost-goal-weight, fitting-into-my-skinny-jeans-again body, I said to him, “This is not how my body used to look at this weight.”
At 37, I have had two C-sections 16 months apart and a hysterectomy. After my kids, both of whom were of average size but apparently enjoyed swimming—they both came with a condition that caused me to have three to four times the usual amount of amniotic fluid—my stomach looked like a deflated balloon.
In an attempt to be optimistic about the state of my midsection, I call the general area between my bra strap and the top of my underwear my “bonus features”—sort of like when you get a DVD and then you find that there’s a second DVD in there with things like outtakes and interviews with the director. You didn’t ask for it, you didn’t necessarily want it, but it came with the package.
That about sums up that general area for me. My bonus features—they came with the kids. No extra charge.
But shouldn’t that go away when you lose most of the weight? Shouldn’t there be some shaving of the love handles? A little less to grab? Shouldn’t the general vicinity surrounding my belly button look a little bit less like I’m trying to smuggle in a donut under my shirt?
Apparently not. During our chat this morning, my husband told me that he had noticed a big difference, and that perhaps my weight was “just distributed differently now,” and that I looked beautiful. But he’s contractually obligated to say all of that.
All I could see was my middle-aged middle.
I had sort of half-tried to lose or lessen that part of my body a number of times over the years. Though I am not a fan of working out, I once tried a Tracy Anderson DVD that a friend lent me called Post-Pregnancy Workout. My husband was in the other room within earshot when, during the warm-up, Tracy said, “Once you have been cleared by your doctor at around six weeks, you can begin this workout.” I heard an involuntary snort come out of him. Our youngest was about 3 years and 6 weeks at that point.
So maybe this is it? As good as it gets. The bikini boat has sailed. No more belly-baring shirts for me. My midriff as-is will be a mainstay.
And I am a little pissed off, if I am being honest. I feel a little bit cheated. But I guess there are perks to these bonus features, too—and they are 5 and 6 years old and well worth this saggy-skinned stomach.
(At least I think my ass still looks pretty good.)