Project Ten Pound
I’m f*%*king serious this time," I declared to my therapist Karen after the Hawaiian run and puke fiasco. "I am going to gain weight."
Relief flashed across Karen's face, "so you are ready to fulfill that promise?" Karen asked cautiously, referring to the promise I made over a year earlier, after my grandma died, to gain weight or go into treatment. A promise I had tried, and failed, to keep.
Karen’s expertise is in substance abuse issues. I had begun seeing her ten years earlier when I was desperate for help with my husband and our increasingly inharmonious marriage. She helped me set boundaries and find sanity in a marriage that had me, at times, feeling like a crazy woman. Over the recent years, Karen and I had begun to touch upon my regimented eating, obsessive exercise, and shrinking body weight. When the topic hit too close to home my heart would race, I would begin to sweat and I’d flee to safer ground. I would instead blame relationship stress with Marc or with my teenaged son as the reason I couldn't focus on my own self-care. When my life I will deal with it. Karen never pushed.
But for that post-Hawaii session I was resolute that it was going be all about my pending weight gain. I was full of nervous excitement, the kind you feel when you start something new, set a goal, or make a resolution. I'm over this” skinny” phase. I'm forty six for craps sake. I still believed it it was a case of mind over matter.
"I'm going to call it Project Ten Pound." I declared firmly to Karen, as if naming it would help keep the goal at the forefront of my mind. I believed ten pounds would make all the difference to my body and my life.
"Okay," Karen said enthusiastically, "what are your thoughts around how you might go about this?"
I shared my plan. I was going to (once again) add healthy fats into my diet, specifically two ounces of avocado a day, one TBLSP of olive oil at lunch and dinner. I would replace my nonfat yogurt with a full-fat brand, use eggs instead of egg whites and the BIG ONE, the thing I had not yet attempted to do. I was going to take one day off from exercise a week.
It was the first time I had ever shared with another person my goal to gain weight. My prior attempt a year earlier was just between me and my journal. But now I had a person. Someone I knew cared about me and would hold me accountable. I felt confident, relieved, and freaked out.
I wanted to gain weight. I wanted to stop feeling so achy, tired, and cranky all the time. I was looking forward to a day off from exercise to sleep in, maybe read the paper or stroll through a farmer's market instead of lacing up for a long run. I wanted to get back to a place where I would allow myself to indulge in Friday pizza nights with the boys, my mom's homemade carrot cake, and creamy Frappuccino's. But as much as I wanted all of that, there was something else driving my desire to gain weight. Something I wanted even more.