Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Confession time: Hello, my name is Janice and I'm too skinny

Okay, it's time to confess that I am in fact a little too thin these days. Not anorexic or bulimic thin but, at 5'5" and 106 pounds, underweight according to the BMI calculators I've consulted.

I'm confessing this because, although I've genuinely made an effort to put weight on in recent months (there's icecream in my freezer, for goodness sake), if I were being completely honest, I'd have to admit that I've been reluctant to try too hard. I guess maybe I'm scared that my weight will go too far the other way. In the past, I've weighed significantly more and I didn't like that any better - except that I briefly had something approximating cleavage for the first and only time in my life. In any case, I'm hoping that publicly admitting I have a problem will inspire me to do something about it.

There are some advantages to weighing so little. For example, it makes running much easier and I never have to worry about holding my tummy in. Added to which, there's a certain degree of social approval that comes with being wee and Husband says he appreciates my "slim, little runner's body" (although I hasten to add he also tells me I'd look better with more meat on my bones and feeds me high calorie meals every chance he gets). And I've been honked at more than once when I've been out running in recent weeks - usually by young men approaching from behind. It's hilarious to see their faces when they look back and realize they just honked at a woman old enough to be their mother!

On the downside, I don't have many work clothes that fit because most of my suits were bought when I was two sizes larger and I've been reluctant to have them altered because I'm confident I'll eventually put the weight back on. As a result, I resort to using belts and safety pins to keep my pants up - which is pathetic really. I've bought a few new things but it's remarkably difficult to find "grown-up" clothes in my size and I really hate shopping. Also, as a woman of "a certain age", I'm conscious that being so thin tends to emphasize any wrinkles and saggy bits. Finally and most importantly, consistent with my feminist views, I'm anxious about the behaviour I'm modelling for my nieces.

The bottom line: Ten or fifteen additional pounds wouldn't hurt a bit.

Unfortunately, one big challenge to putting weight on right now is that I live alone most of the time and, though I love cooking, I find it hard to get enthusiastic about cooking for one. And then there's my aversion to fast food. Mostly, I just don't like the stuff so I'm almost never inclined to pick up a burger and fries - even when I'm really hungry - and, except for frozen pizza, I feel the same way about nearly all prepared foods. I know the only answer is to do more cooking in bulk and freeze stuff so that I always have quick, healthy meals on hand when I don't feel like cooking, but it seems hard to find time in the midst of a busy life.

Another challenge is that I've gotten used to eating just two meals a day. I always have a healthy breakfast of whole grain cereal, fruit and yogurt first thing in the morning, and usually a reasonably healthy supper, but I find it remarkably easy to skip lunch altogether, or have a cup of coffee or piece of fruit instead. 

The last big challenge is that I've been running quite a bit in preparation for this weekend's 30km race in Hamilton and it's been hard to eat enough to make up for all the calories I've burnt in training. Once the race is behind me, I expect to reduce my mileage for a few weeks before I start training for my next race which should provide a good opportunity to gain a few pounds at least.

They say that confession is good for the soul and that admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. I hope so. I certainly feel more inspired to eat properly now that I've admitted to all this. But the question remains: Will I have more than a cup of coffee for lunch today? I guess it depends on whether I get off my tush and out the door to pick up some lunch. I think maybe I hear a pesto chicken sandwich calling my name. That's progress, right?

Any and all suggestions for easy, delicious meals that might tempt my appetite in the coming weeks and months would be most welcome!


  1. I'll have snacks and pre-race breakfast covered for Sunday! I'll be sure to make some calorie induced treats :)

    FB me with any special requests :)

  2. That sounds great, Mel. Really looking forward to spending the weekend with my buds.

  3. Well at 5 6 Janice I will admit only to 118, between pregnancies and 122 when training for triathalons 14 years ago. It drove me nuts when people would say how good I looked when I knew I was underweight. It has been a perennial problem for me, the eating alone issue of I just don't do it. I try to have lunch with my kitties and of course there are two teens still at home so morning and night is easy. I have fish often enough at lunch that dear Heather cat will yell at me until I make lunch. She has her tuna plain...I have mine with themed seasonings...and aways a bit of olive oil.

    Have fun racing with your friends!

  4. Thanks for getting it, Cindy. It's a weird subject to try to blog about in a day and age when many people have the opposite issue (as I have in the past).

    For sure, I'll do my best to have fun this weekend!

  5. PS My dear Great Aunt Doris, a nutritionist degreed at Acadia back in 1928 or so, was living alone, after losing her son and 2 husbands, in the home she had shared with her dear second husband my Uncle Stanley a dentist. Doris would walk before breakfast every day and had a regular exercise routine as taken from 'Mrs Beatons book of household management' (published around 1880). When living alone she began to lose weight, this was the 70's, and perplexed her doctor proposed she have a glass of sherry before supper. Aunt Doris was raised Baptist and not one to drink and struggled with the decision. When, so many years later, I was able to introduce her to my first daughter Marian whom she had named after her sister Marian, and she was the only senior relative alive I was mindful of that difficult decision she had made 20 years earlier.

  6. Hey Jan...thanks for your confession! Those of us who are packing a few forget how it is to be too skinny. I remember having that problem myself...though not since I turned 40. Keep up the great work girl! I think you look awesome! Love you!

  7. Thanks, Nancy. I've had the opposite problem too - and likely will do again in future. Whatever our current size and shape, it seems body issues are ever present for many of us.