Know Your Numbers (Own Them and Hide Them)

Numbers, numbers, numbers.

There will come a time in every woman’s life (possibly even more than once!) when she will wish—desperately—that she knew exactly how much she weighed, or how many inches the tape measure indicated when wrapped around her waist or hips or whatever.

Trust me on this one.

Been there, done that – which is how I know this is true.

Age is yet another number that can haunt you, and it is just something you have to live with. I mean, every time you have to show your driver’s license or passport, people around you know how old you are, so it’s hardly worth the angst of fretting about something that’s apparently easy game to the whole world.

That does not mean you might not fret yourself into a week in bed because one night you went to bed while still in your seventies, and the next morning you woke up as an eighty-year-old. Arrgghh. Been there, done that, too. I’ve adjusted and accepted, and thanks to a fantastic somewhat-recently-acquired lover, nobody believes that number anyway, so it’s over and done with. Fortunately, although I do wear reading glasses, I’m not yet in need of a walker or a cane, so I just ignore that number.

Those treacherous digits indicating weight however, are a different story. In early 2002, for a couple of good reasons, I started losing weight. To this day I’m not exactly sure how much I lost, because I didn’t know exactly how much I weighed to begin with. I go to the doctor once a year, and at that point, it had been about seven months since that day, so I can only make an educated guess. I think I lost between 70 and 80 pounds total, during the year. What I do know for sure is that I went from a woman’s size 24 to a misses size 14. In some things, maybe even a 12.

Once upon a time I was 5’9” or thereabouts, but it’s more like 5” 8” these days, with good posture. And I think I weigh about 180. My home scale is a tad erratic, but I’m pretty sure that’s at least within five pounds. I do like to walk, and stay active, so I’ve pretty much stayed at that weight since I landed there. I think at one point I was closer to 170, but then my daughter died suddenly, and I promptly ate my way back up again during the holiday season that followed six weeks later. Still, I’ve stayed at that basic weight for more than ten years, without starving myself, so I think that’s not too bad.

One of the funniest comments about the weight loss came from a friend, who asked what size I was wearing. When I told her the pants I was wearing were a 14, (and showed her the tag) she blurted out, “I didn’t think anyone who weighed 180 pounds could wear a 14!” Well, yes you can, if you’re tall and have a waistline. Fortunately I am and I do, and my exact middle is only two inches larger than when I graduated from high school, all those many years ago!

Losing all that weight was totally unexpected, and not planned, either. I have to thank the fast-food outlet (Wendy’s) for having created their ‘theme’ salads. I’d never been a big fan of salads, but I loved the chicken/mandarin orange one with the sesame dressing! And the chicken BLT. But then, I started thinking of others, and have now created about a dozen of my own since then. (The fruit salad with peanut butter dressing and cinnamon bread croutons is to die for!) These days, I have one of my big salads for dinner at least four nights a week. I’ve never been one for snacking between meals (I just ate lots of meals!) but I freely admit to a special fondness for white chocolate/peanut butter cups.

I think the worst thing a woman can do to herself is to wear pants (of any kind) with an elastic waist. These darned things expand sooooo easily! You can gain ten pounds before you know it. Believe me, if your jeans have a zipper and button (or snap) waistband, if you gain ten ounces you’ll know it immediately! I may wear sweats around the house, but never outdoors. That’s my reality check, which happens nearly every day.

So. Go to the doctor. Get weighed. Take at least the main three measurements: bust, waist and hips, and then tuck that information away someplace where no one else will ever find it. That way, when you lose ten or twenty or even fifty pounds, you can easily – and proudly – verify your claim! You’ll be glad you did!

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Kelly Ferjutz

I’ve had a life-long love affair with words, usually with my nose stuck in a book when I should have been doing other things. But I was writing, too. About automobiles and racing them; sports – mostly women’s, but sometimes men’s as well. Plus classical music, opera, theater, dance and visual arts, and a few general features or opinion pieces. Two of my plays had staged readings at Karamu, and five books have been published by traditional publishers, while several others have been self-published. I’m happily employed at a job that combines the cars and the writing. Paradise!

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you so much for a positive article on weight loss Kelly! I am a personal trainer and much prefer tape measurements to body weight. Muscle is more dense than fat and it’s easy for women to get caught on that number.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. Glad you are staying positive through a tough time. Thoughts and prayers to you!

  • Boy is this so true! I’ve known many smart and powerful women who have been caught up with the number obsession. Good for you for calling this silliness what it is! You took charge of your weight and you don’t dwell on the number. It sounds like you have found your health and happiness, which is everything. Good for you and thank you for sharing.

  • You’re right about stretchy pants. I gained weight after lycra was invented and incorporated into jeans. Before that jeans did not expand at all and whenever they got tight it was my cue to go on a diet and loose 10 pounds. Now I’m just no longer a size 4. I’ve settled into about a size 10, sometimes an 8 and I’ve been there for about the last 15 years.

  • Boy! You sure haven’t changed in all the years I’ve known you. Remembering you as the tall, athletic tennis champ along with our friend in common, Tomye, who greatly admired you and wished he could play as well as you did. Thanks for sending the link to see this. I’ll be contacting you by email in a bit with an update.

    • Hey, John! Thanks for your response that made me an ‘athletic and lithe’ tennis player! I was definitely tall, but did swimming/diving, and a bit of basketball and softball. Mostly, though, I was in band and orchestra!

      I still have fond memories of our 60th reunion in 2015, and am definitely looking forward to the next one in 2019! Cheers!

  • Great take on what people can get hung up on – and what it takes to undo that hook. Keep on putting out the good word especially when you make it seem doable. That works!

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