navelgazing · sometimes I knit · Uncategorized

A waist is a terrible thing to mind

I’ve had this T-shirt sitting around half-knit for the past two years. I hit pause because I wanted to do a draped neckline instead of the pin-tucks, but that required planning and research – I’ve never done a draped neck before – and I never had time for that; or at least, the time I did have, I was far more interested in spending on my own designs.

So I finally gave up on the idea of a fancy neckline (the pin-tucks are great anyway!) and picked it up again this week. (I’m very much ready for a mindless non-design project right now.) And I had to face some facts.

The waist shaping – which I’d already reduced significantly, because I have not so much waist these days – was a bit low and a bit tight. The hem was a bit short. Ok, so I’m expecting it to stretch out after washing and wearing, being pure bamboo. But even so. This was not going to end up a shirt I’d be comfortable wearing.

Ideally I’d reknit it a size or two bigger, and a bit longer, with the waist shaping an inch or two higher. But I don’t have enough yarn. So I’m going with just cutting the waist shaping out, and adding length, as well as bust darts. I’m trusting to the bamboo’s inevitable stretch… And to weight loss.

Clearly, this is the dodgy part. What makes me think I’ll get smaller? It hasn’t exactly been the trend. Ok, so I can identify reasons for my significant weight gain since having kids: lifestyle changes, bad habits around children needing to be fed all the damn time (and me hoovering up what they don’t eat), hormonal factors. I’ve eliminated the hormonal birth control, which meant I immediately stopped gaining weight. But actually losing it has not been happening. Not even a little bit.

Queen of oversharing I may be, but I have avoided talking about my weight online. For many reasons. Chief among them that (a) it’s boring and (b) I really, really don’t want to be part of the “food = sin, fat = evil” conversation. But you know: it’s a huge thing. Isn’t it?I want to accept myself at whatever size I am, but truthfully, I am not happy with my body. I am fat; not hugely, but definitely, and I’m not scared of that word. I don’t like how fat feels, though. Admittedly the kids love my squishy, wobbly body, so much fun to play with and to cuddle, and I very much enjoy them enjoying me. But I don’t like how I feel in my clothes, even when I’m lucky enough to find clothes that actually fit well. I don’t like where the fat sits on my particular body (tummy, mostly), I don’t like how my curves have shifted into matronliness, I don’t like being unable to wear my favourite clothes – and I’m very, very reluctant to buy new clothes to fit my current shape. I have of course bought some. But my body has shifted size and shape so often since pregnancy, I’ve learned to be a bit sceptical of its changes. And of course, being bigger than I’ve ever been when not pregnant, there’s a whole added level of resistance. I just don’t want to believe this is really my shape now.

But I have a lifetime of body issues behind me, and I know some stuff. I know that I’ll never magically lose weight without some solid effort. I know that exercise alone won’t do it, either. I know that diets will do it, but not for long. I know that I really, deeply, bitterly hate and resent diets in any form. I know that I can’t fool myself into thinking a diet isn’t a diet by calling it a “lifestyle change” or suchlike.

The logic is pretty clear, right? All the evidence points to this: I’m not going to lose weight. And yet I don’t believe it. I don’t accept it. Hey, if I got this way because of bad habits and hormones, and I’ve dropped the hormones, surely I can also drop the bad habits and turn this bus around?

Maybe I can. Maybe I can’t. I guess I’ll find out… slowly. I want to believe that it’s possible to continue to enjoy food, and enjoy my body, and slowly, sustainably, change my habits and my body. Ok, so I’ve spent 20 years trying to change the stories I tell myself about food and about me, and it hasn’t worked yet, but I’m an optimist. I’m heading into what I hope will be another significant life change – two kids in school; more time for myself, including exercise – and I think I’m ready to start looking after myself better. I hope I’ll finally feel like myself again, and surely that will help.

Meanwhile, I have this T-shirt to knit. Miles and miles of straight stocking stitch. Boring, or meditative, depending on my frame of mind. With all that work, I’d really like to think I have a chance of fitting it well in the end.

And that’s entirely the wrong way round, isn’t it? We make our own clothes partly for the sake of getting something that actually fits us better than whatever weird standard-size crap we find in the shop. I’m supposed to be able to knit something to fit me perfectly, exactly as I am, and through that to love my body better. But honestly: it’s not working.

Oh well. There’s a lot of T-shirt to knit – I ripped it back almost to the start. That gives me a whole lot of time to figure this out, right? One way or another.

4 thoughts on “A waist is a terrible thing to mind

  1. Ahhh sounds like you are inside my head! I also am not comfortable in my squishy mom body. I am also hoping once school starts I will be able to be a more regular exerciser, because the kids sure make it hard to get a workout in (esp if I am wanting to run! havent found a way to bring them along yet in their current big-kid yet not-big-kid places). I hate my clothes and I hate my stomach and I love food and having a beer or glass of wine a couple times a week and such. I did lose weight doing weight watchers back when I was engaged (2007-2008) but since then I feel like it’s all been downhill (or uphill? getting heavier!). I have attempted to use My Fitness Pal to track my food but I have a hard time keeping up with it – and when I say track I do NOT MEAN A diet. I just mean be aware of how much I am eating in a given day. If I could stick with it then I think I would slowly lose a little weight. I have no self-control. Well this became a book! Talk later!

    1. Right. Food (and drink!) is awesome. I don’t want to not enjoy food. I don’t want to be worrying about food or treating food as the enemy. Or my body. But I also don’t want to feel so crap in my body! Argh!

  2. Heh. I could have written this post. I have sweater quantities of -really- nice yarn but I don’t want to knit it up because I’m hoping my body will magically go back to what it used to be. Which wasn’t particularly socially acceptable either but this is my heaviest and it’s very pre-historic fertility goddess, all boobs and tum and thighs. And Kristina -loves- cuddling my squishy body. I work so hard to always show her that I love my body but I don’t.

    And I know, I am familiar with and convinced by the 70 years of diet research that shows diets predict for long-term weight -gain- but oh, oh, I want to believe the lies that I could be one of the statistical anomalies, I could lose the weight and keep it off without weight maintenance filling my every waking hour, running on a treadmill while everyone else sits down to dinner, gah.

    Anyway. You’re not alone. Good luck with your journey.

    1. Oh yes, isn’t it great having to add guilt/worry about modelling a healthy body image for our daughters, as well as all the guilt/worry about our actual bodies?
      It just feels so damn *unnecessary* to be 10kg heavier than I was pre-baby, when that wasn’t exactly on the light side either. Solidarity fist bump!

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