Efficient Body

I am trying to lose weight.

I gained about 30kg since both of my pregnancies. In my second pregnancy, rapid weight gain gave me lots of issues. I was mobile, for sure, but so big that it was hard to be active for long. Once I gave birth, the weight did not drop off like it did the first time round.

Sixteen months later, and my body is still clinging on.

Why, body? Why do you need this extra fat? Are you worried you may starve if it slips off?

I joked to my husband that my body is such that if we were in a famine, and everybody became bags of bones, I would probably put on weight.

My body clings to fat in a most efficient manner. If I go into a calorie deficit, I can lose weight consistently for 3 weeks. After that, my body adjusts to this and I plateau or even start going up in weight!

My research tells me that some bodies are more efficient than others, built to last through seasons of no food, built to carry boulders on low energy. I know this to be true. I ate so little for a month, and yet piled on the weights at the gym, leg pressing up to 150kgs, muscles growing stronger, bigger, more defined – and I could be satiated on so little.

But I want to shed these heavy 20kgs. They feel uncomfortable on me. They make my face look unrecognisable, and my legs feel bulky, and I feel like I am dragging my body around. I want to feel free of it, to run fast across a field like before and not worry too much about uncomfortable jiggles and things falling out of place.

I don’t want to lose weight for looks or because I feel insecure. I want to do it for comfort.

Yet when I mention this, the immediate response is wide eyed surprise, and exclamations that I don’t ‘need’ to lose anything and not to ‘buy into’ our appearance-obsessed culture.

I get it.

But since when does wanting to change how your body looks and feels equate to a bad thing?

Why rush to tell someone they don’t need to do something, when they really want to?

Why assume that one wants to change the shape of their body purely due to insecurity or appearance-obsession?

Is it unhealthy to want to lose weight?

If it is unhealthy for some, why make it so everybody feels weird about trying to lose weight, one way or another? Do we apologise for this desire, and assure the ‘Body-Positive’ community that we aren’t mentally ill, and aren’t harming their agenda, but just want to change something for us?

On Necks

I think necks can be very beautiful things. There is something whimsical about a slender, elegant neck protruding gracefully from the seams of a lacy dress. That is the vision I had for my own wedding dress. The only difference, of course, is that my neck is anything but slender and graceful.

I feel as though my back hunches outwards a little more than I would like, and my neck¬†crouches on top not unlike a small frog. It’s all about posture, they tell you, and I have terrible posture.

Well the wedding dress was nice and I had a lovely day and didn’t think once (not once!) about my neck so all was well and ended well and now my dress is up in the attic somewhere and it might be gathering mould so goodness me I really must sort that out.

I like the paintings of elegant ladies with their heads turned sideways, their necks stretched out as their smooth hair softly curls behind their ears.

In many cultures long necks are seen as beautiful assets to a woman’s features. For example in the Kayan tribe in Thailand women wear brass rings around their necks from a young age, adding rings as they get older to elongate their necks. Some women sport 20 pounds of rings around their necks!

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However despite their necks people can be beautiful. They can be beautiful in spite of them too. They can also be beautiful without taking into account how pretty their necks are. Their necks could be their sole redeeming feature as well.

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This woman sports a long neck. She is stunning.

 

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This woman has very little neck. She is stunning too.

I woke up Saturday morning with a tremendous neck ache in which I couldn’t move towards my left at all. I reckoned I must have slept wrong, took some ibuprofen and carried on with my day. Because it was the weekend and he wasn’t commuting to work, D drove everywhere (because he reckons I drive too slow and my car is a rattly old thing) so this morning when I got in my car and turned to look over my shoulder at the ‘blind spots’, a sharp pain seared through my neck and into my shoulder blade and I gasped in shock.

Google tells me it could be a variety of illnesses ranging from a simple pulled muscle to lung cancer. Lovely. As a self diagnosed hypochondriac, I tend to stay away from WebMD when an ailment afflicts me because my mind goes into overdrive and I start writing my last will and testament and become emotional and clingy to my loved ones, much to their annoyance. My mother reckons I have had all the cancers so far, and come out miraculously unscathed.

So for this one I think I will carry on as usual and even go to the gym tonight and not lift any weights but step like mad on the step machine. I will take ibuprofen and force myself to eat my meals even though this pain is making my stomach churn.

The NHS website presented a link titled ‘Living with pain’ and I thought to myself, gosh, some people have to live with pain day in day out! This has been going on for three days already and I am beginning to tire of this constant ache. So, you know, it could be worse.

Have you experienced any neck problems? What are your thoughts on necks in general?