In Which I Learn to Love the New Me


It’s so much easier to gain weight than to lose it, isn’t it? After so many years of malabsorption, and being able to eat what ever the heck I wanted, I’m struggling to maintain my weight for the first time in my life. My body is happy and healthy and I feel great. Really great. Color has returned to my cheeks, my hair is growing back in after I lost it by handfuls this fall, and my energy is back a thousandfold. But there is no mistaking the fact that I am much, much plumper than I used to be. My clothes don’t fit and I’ve got serious curves where I’ve never had them before.

I didn’t know my body could look like this. I’m alternately amused and horrified by what is happening. The figure I see in the mirror when I undress is not one that I recognize. And quite honestly, it’s not one that I love easily. I’ve always struggled with body image, feeling chubby when I weighed in at 120 pounds (I’m almost 5′ 6″). Now, quite honestly, I’d be thrilled to see that number on the scale. As women, our relationships with our bodies are complicated, aren’t they?

I have friends of all shapes and sizes who are all beautiful. But the ones that truly radiate beauty, are the ones who feel good about the way they look, regardless of their weight. They have a genuine smile, dress in clothes that flatter their figure, and aren’t afraid to be themselves. These women are great lovers, having enough confidence in themselves to leave the light on in the bedroom so their partner can appreciate every fabulous inch of them. They eat and enjoy their food, not stuffing themselves, but not passing on dessert either. They are active, they are successful, and they don’t give a rat’s arse what anyone thinks of them.

I want to be that woman.

I’ve stopped weighing myself everyday and trying on my size zero clothes that fit me just 7 short months ago. I’m pretty sure they will never fit again, but I’m not quite ready to part with them. I’ve cleared out my dresser drawers, moving my smaller clothes to a shelf in my closet. One that I can’t easily see so I’m not constantly reminded of how slim I used to be. I’m buying new clothes, looser tops and giving myself permission to wait and see what happens. I’ve stopped asking, Does this make me look fat? And most of all, I’m allowing this body to be nourished for the first time in a decade. I’m eating healthfully, exercising daily and trying very hard to love this new me.

And you know what?  I’m getting closer, one gluten-free day at at a time.

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  1. kerry fickett says:

    I don’t know, Alison. We never have these marvelously meaningful moments in person, but when I read your blog…i am so touched by the things you notice and comment on. The true joy and appreciation and acceptance of the very thing others struggle with truly inspires. I am so glad you are healthy, and able to encourage others who are suffering.
    And I am really glad to say that I actually know you (a little.) “Oh yeah…she’s my neighbor…”

    1. Thank you Kerry. If one person reads this and feels inspired I’m happy. So….I’m happy. 🙂 I’m glad we’re neighbors AND friends. xo

  2. Beautiful post, Alison! I’ve noticed my own metabolism slowing over the past couple of years (along with new gray hairs 🙂 But I think you said it best — the truly beautiful know how to savor life’s pleasures. I love seeing that spirit on your blog!

    1. Thank you Ann! Ah..gray hairs. Let’s not even go there. The good thing about getting older is that eyesight begins to fail…then we won’t notice things like that. lol!

  3. Your article really touched me. I have been celiac for one year and at my first celiac support group meeting I was shocked to see so many heavy people. Do you gain weight? Yes, I do. My doctor said there are “wasters” and then the others like me. I guess I’m lucky but struggling to keep my jeans fitting. I’m eating little bread or pasta but still maintaining this weight. Also, I lost 40% of my hair on top – female pattern baldness was the diagnosis – and hope it will grow back. At least it has stopped thinning at this point. My theory about growing older is the “surprise” of new afflictions and soon you grow used to them – they are you – and move on. I have a new body image to get used to but feel great. I know I will move on and not dwell on these changes in body image.

    1. Donna, I’m so glad you feel better! And I completely agree that adjusting will take time. Good luck.

  4. I was diagnosed with celiac disease last August, so this is all pretty new to me. I realized the other day as I tried on some of my old shorts, that many of them were a bit tighter around the middle. I’ve only every struggled with weight in college (beer + pizza = 20 extra pounds), so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I think you are right on that my body is finally being nourished and soaking up the nutrients it went without for so long. Huh.

    Great blog by the way, so glad I found it today!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Alysa! I hope you are feeling better since your diagnoses. And here’s to some new shorts. 😉

  5. What a lovely post, Alison! I have been on the opposite side of you, heavy for most of my life and now working to maintain a weight that is just on the upper side of healthy for my height and frame. I will never be slim. But I’ve learned a lot over the past few years that everyone, no matter what size, struggles and that we, as women, are all in this together. Here’s to being healthy and happy and simply put, our best.

    1. Thanks Cara! It is nice to know that we are all in this together…and health and happiness are WAY more important than fitting into my pants. xo

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