Lisa and I met at sports when our kids were little. We always sat on the sidelines cheering them on, and in between the cheers we would talk about life: being a mom, landscaping, cooking, and of course dieting. Lisa was probably about the same weight as I was when we met... well, actually, I probably weighed more than she did, as I was into the 270's at the time and she was maybe 250 or so. But we carried our weight very differently; mine's generally been dispersed evenly over my body with a little more on the hip and leg area, while she had those awesome thin sexy legs and the apple-round top half. Every time we chatted she was into a new diet: Weight Watchers, Atkins, Wheat Belly, all the popular stuff. Up and down 20 pounds, the same as many of us have done on a diet.
I hadn't seen her in awhile. Almost a year. I was probably around 199 pounds last time she saw me and she was probably around 230. Well, when I walked in, there she was! Out on the rink skating, laughing, and having a great time with her young son... and weighing a good 80 pounds less than she had last year. I was stunned and happy for her! Those always-thin legs were now in tight jeans in a size I could never imagine myself wearing. The apple-belly was nearly gone, too. And she looked like she had SO much energy! Wow!
I gave her a BIG hug and of course told her how awesome she looked. She beamed, telling me she'd had weight loss surgery and feels like a new woman. And then she was off in a flash to skate some more.
As I watched I was filled with happiness for her. She is experiencing the life all of us mothers want to enjoy, participating in happy times with our kids. I remembered myself skating on that same rink floor not so long ago, zipping along with my daughter, laughing and free.
As I looked closer, I noticed something. She was wearing a short sleeved tee, and her arms looked elderly. They were thin with a lot of empty skin hanging off them, and lots of wrinkles. Her face, too, had aged; I'd guess her to be ten years older than she actually is, because of the sagging, the wrinkles, the thinning hair. It was like her bottom half belonged to a 16 year old and her top half a 55 year old. And for a minute I felt bad for her, until she whizzed by me holding her son's hand, laughing...
I remember when I lost all that weight and my skin was doing the same weird things. I posted about it back then... first, the sagging upper arms. Then the belly skin. Next came the neck sag and wrinkles, and the hollower-looking face. Finally, my hands and forearms started to look older, wrinkly, and saggy... and it was so surprising and distressing to me that I quick-as-a-flash regained 11 pounds (in one week) and filled things back out. Not consciously, of course... I would never *try* to gain weight on purpose... but looking back, the discomfort of the body I barely recognized was a factor in my regain. I did not like looking old. I did not like the sag. I was afraid of what I might see next.
Lisa might not like the sag either... I don't know. But she sure is having more fun than I am! And now that I have had a chance to *really* fill out those saggy bits again, I know I prefer that body to this one. I know I prefer that activity level to this one. This time I know what's coming as I go back down the scale. I've had plenty of time to mentally prepare myself for those changes and to accept them NOW as part of the price I pay for a) having a healthier, better life and b) gaining so much to begin with. That is the price, and I accept it. I will take the older or saggier or more wrinkly look if it means I, too, can fly around the skating rink with my child, laughing, smiling, like I did not long ago.