The Boyfriend Effect — 17.2 Pounds

I got a boyfriend and gained a bunch of weight

Illustration by Breanna Cooke

One thing loudly Ho, Ho, Hoing this holiday season — aside from Russia, which is having a daily Christmas affair with our politics — is my weight. My clothes are on a permanent vacation from lack of use because they don’t fit. And I’m not talking about the “oh, I’m feeling bloated” saga. Even my fat pants are too tight.

Perhaps I should be thankful the reality hit early in the season, so I can get a handle before being bombarded with the annoying weight-loss messages everywhere. I’m not. Each cycle I vow to myself, “I’m not going to let this happen again.” And yet it does. It’s happened during my lowest lows and even the highest of happy. And then I again have to ask myself “Why?”

My question goes unanswered.

This time around I’m attributing it to The Boyfriend Effect. A relationship now about one year old – although we don’t actually agree which month we started dating — it’s still full of surprises. Sorta like a puppy. Lovable and unruly. We want to spend time together, so we go out to eat. And drink. Repeat.

A foray into a Vegan lifestyle made it worse, amounting to me eating tortilla chips at every meal, to the tune of a few bags a week. I now feel like a very pale oompa loompa.

I should know better. I watch the “Real Housewives” on Bravo TV. And unlike the models who “claim” they scarf down an entire pizza before strutting down the Victoria’s Secret runway, their reality is true: carbs don’t exist in their zip code.

I’ve ignored the physical signs of weight gain. My right hip typically needs to be popped back into place. The sound has been mistaken for a gunshot and resulted in a duck and cover. That’s how obnoxiously loud it is, rivaled only by my sneezes. The displacement now has migrated left. My weight gain has apparently come as a surprise to my hips, now unsure how to accommodate the change and swishing about.

And then last week, it got real. My weight gain. I had to leave the house. A lot. I’ve gotten in the habit of working from home in sweat pants. Leaving required getting dressed and a daily outfit change. I couldn’t wear the same thing a few days since I was seeing the same folks. Even the pants I recently bought to accommodate the weight gain are now uncomfortable.

Then came an email from my gym: my annual recap. Rude considering the month isn’t even over. I made it to the gym 2.5 days each week. Not quite the four days I thought I was averaging. Damn technology.

That was followed by the arrival of PJ pants I ordered online from Aerie, size medium. I want to financially support them because I love that they don’t air brush their models. But the pants were way too tight, hardly lounge-worthy.

I thought about accepting the weight gain, considering it a new phase of life. But it makes me feel bad about myself. I don’t like how I look or how I feel inside my own skin. Plus, my closet is filled with tons of cute!

Moving to a large PJ pant was a new low I wasn’t yet ready to face.

Coffee with my friend Amy solidified the changes I need to make. She and her husband are both relatively tall and have small frames, yet are still aware of weight fluctuations. Before Thanksgiving they banned carbs, which I know works for me, and it’s done wonders. I remember a time when I wasn’t eating a giant bowl of cereal every morning.

I forced myself to the scale, which of course I had to find where I’d hidden.

Ugh. Worse than I feared. I’m up 17.2 pounds, again returning to my all-time high. For the uninitiated in weight gain, I’m talking about the “growth” of two pant sizes. Say from a size 8 to a size 12. While I don’t typically believe in the whole “ignorance is bliss” philosophy, it’s definitely the circle I dance when it comes to my weight.

My neighbor confessed that he’s carrying the identical 17 pounds. Crazy, but hardly the same. His clothes still fit. That’s what happens when you’re over six feet tall. The weight just spreads out and sort of magically disappears.

When you’re 5’ 3” like me, you actually start to waddle.

Amy and her husband pay money to run around a field and kick things. It’s part of an adult soccer league. I think they’re on to something. For now, carbs are gone. So last year. Next, I’m going to look for someone to chase me around a field, forcing me to run and leave the house.

Humor article originally appeared in the Katy Trail Weekly.
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