Having lost a significant amount of weight a few years ago, I’ve got this tendency to feel pretty good about keeping most of it off, even if there’s been a bit of slippage at times.
“I only let myself gain so much, and then I take action,” is what I tell my sister on our runs. And it’s true. Still, a really hard thing for me to get used to in my postfat reality is how much heavier I can look and feel carrying even 5 extra pounds. Much less 10, which is where I’m at right now.
I’ll get mad at myself every time I bump into that upper limit on my weight range, but then I’ll be like, “Well, it’s not like I’m fat, and it’s not like I’m going to let myself get fat ever again. It’s just time to get to work and cut back on my eating, that’s all.”
And that’s true as well. But there are degrees of truth, some relativity involved. Yes, even at my heaviest these days I’m still well within what passes as a “normal” weight range in America these days. Nobody would say I’m fat. But I AM overweight by those insurance companies weight chart standards, and Weight Watchers would consider me overweight as well. If I went back to a meeting right now, I’d have to pay.
I’m certainly overweight by running standards. If I want to get a PR and try to win my age group at a couple of summer 5Ks, I need to shed at least 5 pounds. Ten would be better, and really, though I’m unlikely to work that hard to get there, 15 would be best.
But here’s the really tangible, spooky thing about how “thin” the line is these days between “normal” and “fat enough to be a health risk” – at the top end of what I’ve come to consider my “acceptable” range, I’m just a few pounds a way from a number that’s considered a risk factor for diabetes.
I’m not going to get there, because of the reasons stated earlier. But if I weren’t constantly thinking about my weight and fitness levels — about how to get better at eating and diet and running and swimming and even biking — I could easily slide to that point.
And the scary thing is, if I hadn’t seen the CDC’s prediabetes-risk chart (check it out here), I probably wouldn’t even be that concerned, because I’d still be “keeping most of it off.”