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A Weight Loss Consultant’s Open-Apology To Her Former Clients

At 48 my weight creeps up quickly. Two years ago I wrote the article Am I Really Fat? which went viral, I believe, because I discovered, despite my intense self-criticism, that I was a completely healthy weight for a woman my age.

It’s been a cosmic shift for me to feel that 140 lbs at 5′ 6″ is not just a healthy weight but an attractive weight. I spent my young adult life weighing about 120 lbs. I could eat whatever I wanted and that weight just felt normal to me. So shifting to twenty lbs. up felt sinful. But writing the post and taking the subsequent TASTEFUL nude photos at age 46 helped me accept my now mature woman’s body.

I was at peace. Until I stepped on a doctor’s scale a few weeks ago and was told I weighed 147 lbs. What the what? Okay, I was wearing my clothes, but my shoes were off. What did this weight MEAN? Did it mean I was now on an ever-upward spiral that would end on The Biggest Loser?

I stood naked in my bathroom and perused my body from every angle. Maybe I was crazy, but it looked pretty much the same as it had for the last five years. I couldn’t really locate the extra 7 pounds. I could find them when I tried to button my pants, but naked, well, I still looked pretty good to myself.

Then I stood in front of Henry naked. “I’ve gained 7 pounds,” I said in a funereal tone.

Recognizing he was not in sensual, but rather dangerous waters he replied, “I don’t see them” with the flat affect of a person who recognizes the hitchhiker he just picked up is deranged and carrying a shiv.

“I don’t see the seven pounds either,” I said, “but apparently they’re there.”

“How dare they?”

“They’re sneaky little shits.”

“Maybe I do see them. They’ve gone to your breasts. And maybe your inner thighs, which is good  because you were too bony there and I was  always getting bruises when we had relations.”

“When you say ‘relations’ it makes me never want to have sex with you again.”

“I’m a recovering Catholic. The seven pounds is hot.”

“I love you even if you almost have no hair.”

“I love you even if you have too much hair. And a slight mustache.”

Me with the extra seven pounds. If I'm not transparent this is me fishing for compliments.

Me with the extra seven pounds. If I’m not transparent enough, this is me fishing for compliments. Because I’m needy that way.

My friends busting my balls.

My friends busting my balls.

Even with my husband’s approval and my own favorable impression of my naked body I decided to lose those 7 pounds. I had to close the floodgates somewhere and 140 was my Little Big Horn.

I got the MyFitnessPal app (this isn’t a sponsored post) because it’s free and I began logging everything I ate. I was startled to discover that I eat enough food to fuel the entire USC defensive line. Part of the problem is the wine. Not that it’s so many calories, but after a glass I feel impervious to weight gain so I eat brownies followed by kugel, which, if you haven’t had it because you’re a shiksa, you should think again.

My daughters noticed me documenting all of my food which worried me because I don’t want them doing the same thing and becoming anorexic and dying from starvation. Yes. I go right there into the deep dark pit of hell. It’s the Irish in me.

MyFitnessPal told me I needed to eat only 1290 calories in order to drop the weight. 1290 calories is basically a stick of cheese, a spoonful of peanut butter and air. I didn’t meet my calorie goal for EVEN ONE DAY since I started my quest to reclaim 140. Not. One. Day.

So I cheated and decided to try to eat less than 2000 calories a day. That just seemed like a more sane approach. And then I ran across the most amazing aritcle in HuffPo. Iris Higgins’ An Open Apology To My Weight Loss Clients.

In it she specifically apologizes for putting women who were a perfectly healthy weight on a 1200-calories-a day-meal plan. Her conclusion was that anything between 1200-1500 calories a day is potentially damaging to a woman’s health!

This was a relief to me. I’m glad I’ve started tracking my food intake. I’ve been eating somewhat mindlessly. And also simply out of boredom in the late hours of the evening after spending a day working, picking up and driving children hither and yon and loading and unloading the dishwasher 5,623 times.

I will continue keeping track for a few more months so I can know what it feels like to be satiated and not overly full. So I will be aware of food before I’ve already put it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed. I want to eat mindfully, healthfully and in a way where I respect my body.

But my ultimate, and elusive final goal is to simply love and appreciate my body in all its incarnations. I’m a work in progress, but in writing about it I’ve found I’m not alone. That many of us grapple with loving our bodies and living in them fully regardless of their form.

I’d love to hear all the ways you love your body. This earthly vessel. So I can steal what works for you.

xo S


Write a comment
  1. Val
    Val 23 August, 2013, 10:31

    You look fantastic and voluptuous! After a lifetime of trying to maintain a weight in the 120’s my surgeon told me part of the reason two of my cancer surgeries had to be redone was thin people don’t heal well. WTF?? So grab some wine and a brownie!

    Reply this comment
  2. Suzie Mitchell
    Suzie Mitchell 23 August, 2013, 10:40

    You look really great and I lost 7 pounds and I’m 58 and it just gets harder and harder. But I use the calorie counting app too. Congratulations!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 August, 2013, 10:44

      Suzie I’m sorry you needed an operation, but thanks for supporting my quest to accept the voluptuous.

      Reply this comment
  3. Anne (@notasupermom)
    Anne (@notasupermom) 23 August, 2013, 11:14

    Important stuff first–you look great!

    I think it’s good to track what you eat. That’s not going to make you anorexic, in and of itself.

    Henry is a wise man to recognize the difference between sexy waters and dangerous waters. I married an engineer, so I take it easy on him and his lack of nuanced perceptions about such things.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 August, 2013, 12:10

      Anne that’s because you are not a witless shrew such as yours truly. And that you for let me hook a compliment. xo

      Reply this comment
  4. Mitchell
    Mitchell 23 August, 2013, 12:09

    Hello Shannon we were all so skinny 30 yrs ago. I was just like you I could eat gobs and gobs of food and never gain any weight. I am 5`11″ tall and I weighed 133 lbs until I hit the ripe old age of 44 lol. everyone said I looked sick and I should gain some weight. Now they all say Your Too fat! you need to lose some weight.. Go Figure lol I do need to lose some weight as Tomorrow I will be 48. and I weigh 192.5 lbs.according to my scale. I am new to these new fangled App things as I just bought a Android phone. Which one do I need to get my so called body down to a better weight.I only have 1.5 months until the Reunion I want to look and Feel better.
    Oh and By The Way.. I think you look beautiful. the picture of you on the boat could be used as one of those weight watcher commercials. :o) Keep up the Great work.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 August, 2013, 12:12

      Hi Mitch — It sounds like you’re a healthy weight for your height, this coming from me is ironic. Yes we’re only one and a half months to our 30th reunion. I’m really starting to look forward to it. You can just go to your app store on your android and search for MyFitnessPal. It works kind of like Weight Watchers without the fees.

      Reply this comment
  5. Ginger Kay
    Ginger Kay 23 August, 2013, 14:40

    I’ve been using My Fitness Pal since March. It does make me look obsessive, so I tried to hide it from my fifteen year old daughter, but my husband kept asking, “Are you still counting calories?” so she figured it out eventually. She has not turned anorexic yet, but I am watching for signs. 😉

    Reply this comment
  6. Ellen Dolgen
    Ellen Dolgen 23 August, 2013, 15:08

    You look fabulous my dear! I am a Weight Watchers girl. I did it online and lost 15 pounds awhile ago and my husband lost 30 lbs. We both still eat this way – years later.

    Reply this comment
  7. KymberlyFunFit
    KymberlyFunFit 23 August, 2013, 23:10

    Let’s focus on the important, yet overlooked detail here: your friends are a crack-up doing their impression of you on the boat. Keep them AND those 7 pounds and you are one lucky person!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 24 August, 2013, 16:55

      Hi Kymberly — I’ve always been blessed with some kickass girlfriends. They hold me up when I feel like a loser, they keep me humble when I think I’m all that. I love them so dearly.

      Reply this comment
  8. Helene Cohen Bludman
    Helene Cohen Bludman 24 August, 2013, 06:22

    OK first of all you are gorgeous and I wouldn’t change a thing. Second, I have gained 10 pounds and I absolutely see where they have gone. It is so damn frustrating. I now look like my top heavy Russian grandmother, may she rest in peace.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 24 August, 2013, 16:57

      Helene — I have the remedy for you. Take some nudes with good lighting. It will take a week or two, then you’ll see your own beauty. Or I’ve been tippling the vino a bit too much and you should run from any advice I may give which will make you lose your job. (I love your Russian grandmother)

      Reply this comment
  9. Sharon Greenthal
    Sharon Greenthal 24 August, 2013, 07:40

    I recently had a conversation with some (very thin) friends about the 1200 calorie thing. They all felt it was a perfectly reasonable amount of food to eat each day. I guess they’re right, but it seems like nothing to me.

    I’ve had to change my diet for health reasons and it’s been quite liberating to no longer have the option of choosing white flour, pasta, or sugar each day – and I’ve gone down a pants size. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to maintain that 1200 calorie a day number.

    And you look sexaaay in that photo, girlfriend. Don’t sweat the seven pounds.

    Reply this comment
  10. AlexandraFunFit
    AlexandraFunFit 24 August, 2013, 12:43

    I like you. I like your friends. And I want that bathing suit. Well, not that particular one, as it’s used and Henry would be sad, but one just like it. I think the 7 pounds are a combo of muscle and brainpower.

    Reply this comment
  11. Carpool Goddess
    Carpool Goddess 24 August, 2013, 15:57

    You mean the 1,200 calories isn’t per meal? Well, to heck with that! P.S. Lookin’ good, my friend!

    Reply this comment
  12. Trish
    Trish 14 January, 2014, 10:15

    Must comment. I too have a daughter and I too am terrified if she finds me with MyFitnessPal she will become anorexic and starve to death. And I am not Irish – perhaps its the Catholic in me…

    Reply this comment

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