Luckily, this 20 year-old anorak still fits
By Caitlin Kelly
Loved this story — now almost two years old — by one of my favorite fellow full-time freelance writers, AC Shilton, about how she finally came to terms with her body:
Six months ago, [in the summer of 2018,] my husband, Chris, and I bought a 46-acre farm in northeast Tennessee. Though we’re equal partners in it, the farm was my idea, and I’m the primary manager.
The impetus to buy the farm grew out of a career and identity crisis I was having. I was feeling increasingly insecure about the stability of my chosen profession—journalism. I’ve ducked and woven my way through a freelance writing career, bringing home just enough money to drive an 18-year-old truck and (sometimes) have health insurance. At the same time, I’d completely burned out on endurance sports, which I’d been doing throughout my teens and twenties. Training felt like a chore, and I was seeking a new way to use my body that didn’t require thousands of dollars in gear and entry fees.
I have another full time freelance friend in Tennessee — a state I have yet to visit — who’s also struggling with body issues at the moment.
But AC is in her late 30s and my other friend in her late 20s.
I am decades older and, past menopause, when your metabolism slows so far down it basically says fuck you.
I am worn out battling my body.
Injuries, weight gain, metabolic issues.
It feels overwhelming.
I gained 20 pounds in the year 2003 when my late mother (who survived it) was found to have a huge brain tumor (I went to Vancouver for her surgery) and I was traveling the United States researching my first book. The last thing I had time, energy or money for was fussing about calories or diligently working out to burn them off.
I gained another 25 pounds over the ensuing nine years before my left hip was replaced, and felt terrible shame at the appalling number on the scale — even though that’s about three added pounds every 12 months.
I am not someone who eats fast food or junk food or huge portions or cheesecake and cookies and ice cream and candy and drinks a lot of liquor or never works out. Dammit!
I do eat some carbs and I have dessert maybe two or three times a week. I drink alcohol maybe twice a week, a small glass of wine.
So this has been a matter of intense shame and frustration for me.
I started intermittent fasting (eat normally for 8 hours and fast for 16) daily since November 1, 2020.
I have lost five pounds.
On one hand, I am thrilled — as this is the first time in 20 years I have LOST weight at all, and not gained even more.
On the other hand, I want to scream with frustration when a friend my age loses a pound a week doing the same things.
OH NO — CARBS!!!!!!!
I have two friends who are my weight loss role models, a man who shed 30 pounds in year of IF (if my progress continues, I will lose half of that) and a woman who shed 40 pounds in two years.
I don’t need it to happen fast.
But it’s hard to stay motivated and every single person I speak to — my GP, an exercise specialist, two nutritionists — offers something different. Each, of course, costs money.
I was never someone with “body issues” — I went from a size 10 to a 12 when I left Toronto at the age of 30 and moved to Montreal. It proved much more stressful than I had imagined.
And I’ve always been athletic: skiing, skating, cycling, walking, golf, swimming, etc. But arthritis is a problem and my crappy knees have impeded me from some activities I love — like playing softball with my team of 20 years. So my anger is compounded by loneliness, as almost all my exercise activities now are done alone.
I do know walking is GREAT exercise…I don’t enjoy doing it alone.
My late mother and I…maybe 20 years ago?
In my mid 30s I took up saber fencing and was nationally ranked in it for four years. I loved it.
I miss the teamwork.
I miss having a coach — ours was a two-time recent Olympian.
I’ve since been a size 12, but not in recent years. I do hope to get back to it. I have no wish to be a size 10 or 8. I doubt my body can even do it.
I am not asking for any advice here.
Please do not give me any diet advice!
The rest, as always, is all up to me.