Fat and Happy

I’m fat and happy. (That’s healthy in an unexpected transition.)

Folks who’ve been following my thread know that the hits just keep on coming for me — covid (with 3 little kids), emergency back surgery for me, stage 4 cancer for my husband, moving 2x during the pandemic…it’s been a lot.
And now, I’m gearing up for the school year with less trepidation and bigger love handles! That’s right, I totally let myself go when my husband got his diagnosis. I put on twenty pounds over the last 8 months. Now typically, that wouldn’t be something to brag about. But given that I know how to eat and cook (here are the cookbooks I’ve written, Cook Yourself Thin, Lighten Up America and You Can Trust a Skinny Cook), I can unload as easily as I loaded up.
While my husband was going through his cancer treatments, we were treated with boxes of brownies, almond croissants and homemade meals almost every night for months. Quite frankly, it was amazing.  I didn’t say no. And this summer, I enjoyed tacos in Mexico and Lobster in Cape Cod. And lots and lots of churros and ice cream.

I enjoyed.

I’ve always enjoyed food and eating. And as my family tends towards obesity, I watch. Over the last 8 months I didn’t watch. I just ate the (let’s face it, emotionally) nourishing food.
And now, when I go to the gym and I see my big body looking back at me I think — my girl, you needed that. You enjoyed that. You went from depleted to replenished. And that’s OK.
And now that I’m (clearly) replenished, it’s time to lighten the load. Which I can and will do. In a transition, there’s a few predictable periods. In the cases of the unexpected, ie. covid and cancer — there’s accepting that which you do not want. This is happening (I don’t want it to happen). It’s happening anyway. Accepting the reality takes as long as it takes, and the less you resist the easier it is (news I didn’t want to hear when I got my husband’s diagnosis). If you bottom out (and I did), you can’t do it on your own. You need your people, your community, to lift you. And mine did. Some folks I thought would help didn’t and that hurt, but in their place came throngs of people with love and support (and cake) and so I let myself enjoy all the bites.

I rebuilt my strength on their love. I ate myself loved, I nourished myself to health.

Now a nutritionist might cringe at those words, but a therapist (or good friend) might say “girl, whatever gets you through”. Twenty pounds makes sense for someone who couldn’t exercise and ate all the things. I’m not mad at it — it helped me build strength. Like a bear fattening for winter, but more like I needed to fatten myself back to health. I almost feel like this fat buffer reminds me of how well loved I am. But now that I can’t fit in my clothes and I’m feeling uncomfortable, it will be just as fun to see it go. I went through the terrible time, and I came up for air, I needed to continue to replenish. I got through the hard thing, and I rested and restored. And now, I’ve returned. I feel like I’m ready to continue on the path. I’m ready for the next transition: evolving my business, preparing my children for their next challenges, and preparing my body to reengage. Heck, maybe I’ll try for a kitchen remodel this year. Why not! The great thing about the phase I’m in now is that I’m ready. Just so ready. And dare I say better than before. I feel so positive and hopeful, grateful for what I’ve gained and feeling mighty and powerful for what I’ve overcome.
If there’s a silver lining, this is it.
So let’s recap. In the face of unexpected transition:

  • Reject and REEL, then eventually accept and recalibrate.
  • Rely on those around you who can help to lift you,
  • Rest and Restore
  • In time, Return and Reengage

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