The moment I finished reading the inside cover of 45 Pounds (More or Less), I made my way to the librarian’s counter to check it out. The book is about a girl who, in some aspects, is exactly like me. She’s 16, weighs almost the same as me, and even wears a dress size close to mine. After finding out that her Aunt Jackie is getting married, she makes the decision to 45 pounds in 2 and a half months…nearly the same amount of weight I want to lose, and almost the same amount of time I wanted it to take. I thought, “If we’re this alike, maybe I can see how she loses the weight, so I can, too.”
I didn’t get the answer I expected.
Ann does whatever it takes to lose the weight, mainly ordering food from a company much like Nutrisystem*. The food tastes horrible, and she’s constantly hungry, but that doesn’t stop her from keeping with it. What does drive her to quit it, however, is her younger sister Libby. After taking notice of Libby’s unhealthy eating habits, a result of both Ann and her mother’s own bad eating habits, Ann decides to focus more on setting a good example for her sister. In the end, she only loses about 27 pounds out of the 45 she originally aimed for. Instead of being disappointed by this, she’s happy with what she has. She isn’t starving. She isn’t eating food that tastes like cardboard. Now, she’s taking the right steps to get healthier. I’m sure I’m not doing this story justice, but I don’t want to bore anyone with a long synopsis, so this is only a condensed version.
At the time I started reading 45 Pounds, I had a tumultuous relationship with food, and it’s still something I’m fighting with. I’ve never been of average weight. Even before junior high, I noticed that I was larger than most of my friends. Today, it could be better defined as knowing I struggle with weight, while most people I know don’t give what they eat a second thought. It got to the point where I wanted to starve myself. I began to skip breakfast, with the easy-to-use excuse of “I don’t have time.” I would go to school with a lunch packed with as little as possible, thinking that my stomach would eventually shrink enough for it to be filling. When I got home from school, I’d wait as long as possible until I ate again.
I realized just how unhealthy this was after finishing the book. Food was the enemy, and the weight I might have gained was punishment for eating. Luckily, these habits weren’t severe enough for me to require therapy. Now, I have to keep in mind that as long as I make healthy choices, I don’t need to restrain myself like that. It’s still tempting to wait too long before eating a meal, or to mentally calculate how many calories are in whatever I’m eating, but it’s getting easier.
What drives out these negative thoughts is knowing that I have family and friends that love me. And not just a shallow, “like” love. The kind that you know is unconditional, and doesn’t look on the outside. One memory that stands out to me is when a friend of mine had come back into town for spring break, and when he hugged me and told me that it was good to see me. It was shocking to me that someone that didn’t see or talk to me in person often was actually happy to see me. That meant the world to me. When I realized that all of my other friends have shown me that they care in the same way, I felt like how I looked became a lot less important. But, I didn’t truly believe it until after reading 45 Pounds. Sometimes, it takes a reminder like that for things to sink in.
You know, I don’t have much to gain from losing weight, except becoming a healthier person. In that case, shouldn’t it only be for me, and not to get approval from someone else?
*I’m not saying Nutrisystem is anything like the weight loss system in 45 Pounds (More or Less). Just giving an example of the type of program it is.