I don’t like the number two. 2. It looks like such an innocuous, even innocent, number. But looks can be deceiving.
I’ve recently gained enough weight for the number I see when I look down while I’m standing on the bathroom scale to begin with a two. I’ve never weighed 200 pounds before. I’ve always stopped myself from gaining weight when my weight or my jeans size was approaching a number that began with a two. Last time I went on a fitness frenzy was about twelve years ago. I had just turned forty, and I weighed 197 pounds and wore size 18 jeans. Both numbers approaching that critical boundary. I went to a nutritionist and a trainer and started a regimen that included both a healthy diet and a workout routine.
But I couldn’t maintain the lifestyle that was, for me, no fun at all. I wasn’t raised on humus and tofu, gluten-free pancakes and dairy-free, sugar-free, fat-free smoothies. I like bread and pizza and chocolate and ice cream. I’ve never liked sports or working out or sweating. I was the last person picked for the softball or basketball team in gym. I still have dreams about cutting gym class in high school. I don’t even watch sports on TV. Sure, I enjoy taking a walk or going for a swim, whether permitting, but I’m not an athlete and I have no passion for physical activity in and of itself (except perhaps for swimming, weather permitting). I lost 35 pounds and looked great in size 12 Levis. Nowhere near the godawful two number. I felt great and I looked great.
But my workout routine ultimately caused me to injure myself.
And then I went to Europe for four months (that’s two times two, which might have been a warning if I’d been paying attention). I couldn’t pack my 3- 5- and 8-pound free weights in my carry on bag. It was so hard to find time to do those nasty exercises when I could be out exploring Brittany or Geneva or Vilnius. And, um, beer.
And then I moved to Vermont. Moving always disrupts my routine entirely. I’ve been here for over a year and I still haven’t found a dentist or an eye doctor. I did find a nice three-mile walking route, right outside the door, and sometimes I go for weeks without skipping a day.
And then I get busy with work. Or I have to travel to teach. Or it’s Thanksgiving. Or I want to knit a pi shawl instead of walking in a big circle around the village.
So now I weigh over 200 pounds. Oddly, however, I have only had to go up one jeans size, to size 14 Lee Relaxed Fit women’s jeans — the style that I’ve worn for most of my adult life. I guess it’s because I’m in my 50s now, I’m post menopausal, and my fat is on different parts of my body than it was when I was younger.
I know my Colorado Doctor would not be happy with my current weight. I do want to be healthy, but the most surprising part of this encounter with the number two, is that I don’t hate the way I look. I don’t hate the way I feel. I don’t hate myself.
I still hate the number two.