I’ve never been super slim.
I gained 60 pounds with the Bear when I was pregnant, literally lost sight of my legs for the last month or so. I retained probably a good twenty five pounds of that after giving birth. I’m short, only 5’3″ so any extra weight makes me look like a Tella Tubby.
I was really active for a point in time when the Bear was a toddler up to about 5 years old. I played on a beer league softball team. I ran 5km races, not to race but for the joy of finishing. I played soccer during lunch at work. I rode a bike.
I can’t say what the impetus for the change in activity level was. Perhaps it was slipping into a nice comfy relationship that was a bit more sedentary. I do know that hitting perimenopause didn’t help and neither does depression.
I wish there was a manual for being a woman. You’d be gifted it by your mother when you were in your early teens and it would have the following chapters:
- Menstrual cycle and all its Horrors
- Sex for Dummies
- Pitfalls of Pregnancy
- Lord Help Me Through Labour
- The Aftermath of Giving Birth
- Hysterectomy 101 (doesn’t apply to all)
- Surprise! Perimenopause…
- Menopause…The End
Flecked in every chapter, there would be mention of weight gain because literally every mile marker of the female existence has some villain trying to put the pounds on you. Some women are genetically gifted with a high metabolism, some women exercise and then there are women like me. Cursed. Lol.
Perimenopause at 38 was awful. The hot flashes. The vaginal dryness. The hormone changes. The weight gain. It was like I grew a muffin top overnight, much to my horror and dismay. The body decides to rebel on you, declining in estrogen, causing fat cells in the abdominal area to begin storing more fat.
The overall experience of perimenopause threw me into depression but it was the weight gain that made it so bad. I had rolls and stretch marks, thunderous thighs and a cellulite ass. Tack on a hysterectomy and things started to landslide. It was a crushing change to my body and my self esteem. I was embarrassed of my whale blubber and felt about as sexy as a stick of cheese.
That depression seethed under the surface of other depressive cycles. Always in the background. When you’re that low you don’t have the energy to workout, unless you’re hypomanic! Then you probably buy a bright yellow gym mat and some weights and workout every day for 3 weeks. Then a down cycle hits and you abandon that completely for junk food and slurpees (sweet merciful comfort food).
Cue a Bipolar diagnosis and the ensuing barrage of medications. Each one comes with its own side effects but the one commonality is weight gain. You just can’t catch a break and your feet start to ache from the pounds you’ve put on. Now you have to find granny underwear to pull up over your gut so they don’t shimmy down under the weight of your pudge. You probably go into the bathroom to change for bed so your partner can’t glimpse your bloated body.
I belong to a Facebook Bipolar support group and the problem of weight gain and motivation is a recurring theme so at least I know I’m not alone and someone understands. I’m lucky to have a partner who calls me beautiful even though it makes me cringe inside because surely that can’t be true. Have you seen my triple chin and chunky ankles??
So here I am, in all my chubby glory, currently sipping on my third hot chocolate of the day lol. I really want/need to start working out and living a healthier life style but Bipolar makes it hard. The hypomanias get me all pumped up to DO ALL THE THINGS! But the depressive cycle knocks the wind out of those sails and I’m back to binging on Caramilk bars and pop in the dark, silently cursing the dog because I have to walk him instead of laying on the couch.
The weight of things can be crushing but with the stability of my medications, hopefully a return to a more active lifestyle and energy level aren’t far behind. Maybe I’ll be able to stop wearing unflattering granny panties out of necessity and buy some frilly little underwear for fun…