Memory: No More Weighting to Live


North of England, 1986, 19 years old, newly married.

At home, in the bathroom on the scale when my (then) husband walked in. Seeing 9 st 9 (135lbs) on the scale he exclaimed, “You weigh how much?”

Whatever the scale said, his tone said it was way too much.

We had met working at McDonalds in Nottingham.  He was a manger and I was one my way to becoming one.  Before we married I left McDonalds and started clawing my way up in retail management and training.  We were the quintessential little power couple making their way up the ladder, we even had our first house and mortgage, and I was only 19 years old.

Work hard and we can do what we want, we told ourselves, and work hard we did.

This was not the first time my weight was an issue but it stung more than most other occasions. I wanted him to want me, not to look at me and think I had let myself go, I had heard that’s what happens when people get married, they get comfortable and “let themselves go.”

I didn’t want to be that person, after all I had a lifetime ahead of me, I was only 19!

Living in small town near Harrogate, there was not much to choose from but there was an aerobics studio.  I called and spoke with the owner, and off I went for my first consult with her. She would later tell me that she didn’t think I would stick it out-ha, she didn’t know me yet. In fact, at that time nor did I.

Amanda had a story of her own.  Her dad had taken a picture of her and her husband at a family gathering. When the photo came back she realized that the two of them took up a whole sofa. She vowed to change her life.

And she did. She lost so much weight that she had surgery to remove hanging skin.  She looked like Jane Fonda when I met her and led a high intensity aerobics class.

I started doubling up on my classes, doing 2 hours of class after work and getting home at 10pm. Truth be told I really loved the whole experience of going there. At the time I was driving from Haxby to Bradford to work, at just over an hour each way the class gave me something to look forward to as I made the commute home.

We were a little community that worked out together and then sat in the waiting area smoking cigarettes and drinking diet cokes by the 12 pack on hot steamy afternoons.  Amanda’s husband would get so mad with us, saying it wasn’t good for the business to have us all hanging out in the lobby smoking.

Of course it wasn’t good for our health either, but I never said I was perfect. And anyway better that we worked out before we smoked than just smoking (and of course I do not recommend smoking or drinking soda AT ALL today, this was 29 years ago, a lifetime of change).

As I started losing weight, a friend at work asked why I always wore frumpy, baggy clothes. She said she wanted to go shopping with me, and I said ok.

We hit the shopping center and she made me try on a fitted, above the knee khaki skirt with a short sleeved striped blouse.  Paired with stilettos, I didn’t own anything but stilettos at that time, I felt different, I had what I now recognize as a little sass in my step.

I started feeling good about myself, I remember going food shopping and feeling good in the supermarket and all because of a simple skirt.

But it wasn’t all roses and sunshine.

My husband didn’t like the change.  He started asking questions about where I was and who I spent my time with. One day I was at the aerobics studio and I looked out into the parking lot.

There was his big long red Capri. You couldn’t mistake the long bonnet on that car. What was he doing in the studio parking lot?

After class I got home, along the way I had the thought that it could have been a different Capri, so I decided to touch his bonnet on the way down the drive, he should have been home a couple of hours so the engine would be cold if it was not him.

The bonnet was warm. Was he spying on me?

Nothing was said that night but as I continued to go to class, drop weight and feel better, he and I continued to drift apart.

As I grew happier and more confident, he became more unhappy.  He interpreted my interest in my body as me wanting to have an affair. An unjust, and very wrong, assumption but one that again stung very deep.

One day he turned and said, “I preferred you when you were fat.”

We were married for 14 months.  I was divorced by 21. The weight crept back on.

The words hung back deep in my psyche. Today I think about them and realize the hang ups I have had when I start to feel good and those around me don’t like the change. Have you ever found yourself on the good end of making change only to find those around you not so happy?

I can also pin point at least a dozen times since then that I have lost weight and started feeling good and someone has said something complimentary about it, almost immediately I go into sabotage.

Went, went into sabotage, not going there again. Minor fractions will always occur but goddammit 30 years I have carried around the shitty feeling that when I feel good others feel bad so I feel bad with them so they don’t feel so bad.  WHAT???

That really is kind of effed up but then again the windy road of life is full of effed turns and twists, it’s the gnarliness of the journey that brings beauty to our wounds and colors to our lessons.

And effed up or not, it is very real, I see it not only in my story but that of clients. Our oldest stories can be the gatekeepers to our late blooming. Awareness is the first step and then the reprogramming begins.

So that’s one of my Weighting to Live memories, I would love to hear one of yours. Our power lies in sharing and telling our stories, giving them a voice not only so they can be heard but so that others may hear them when they need them most.

Here’s to sharing memories and the cherished paths to which they lead us. May our sparks ignite many fires.

Live. Love. Be Loved.

And no more weighting :).