I’ve never met Jennifer Hudson or Kirstie Alley or Marie Osmond and doubt I ever will. None of them are fans of mine as far as I know. And none of them will likely ever read this blog, although I’d be thrilled if any of them did.
That’s OK though. I can admire them from afar. I only mention them here because I’m writing about weight—a topic that has been on my mind lately—and I really admire what these women have accomplished when it comes to this touchy subject.
But more about them later. First, I want to tell you a true story about myself. Many years ago, I was considered skinny even though I loved to eat. No matter what I ate or how much, I stayed thin, really thin. I tried everything I could think of to gain weight and simply didn’t. When I was in my twenties, I can remember filling a salad bowl full of chocolate ice cream nightly and eating it all just before bedtime. I would make and drink big, thick, rich milkshakes. And I never gained an ounce.
People used to tell me all the time: “Just wait until you’re in your thirties. Then you’ll start to pile it on.” My thirties came and went, and my weight jumped from 100 pounds to about 110. Then they said: “Just wait until you reach your forties. It will really catch up with you then.” I would smile nonchalantly, confident that they were absolutely wrong.
The forties hit and my weight topped out at around a svelte 125. I was actually glad to finally gain some real weight. I had hated being skinny for so long. Now I was a healthy size four yet I could still eat anything I wanted. I was convinced this would forever be the case. My mom was always a nice size, and although the women on my father’s side of the family can put on some serious poundage, I figured that I was blessed with my mother’s good genes when it came to weight.
Yeah. Right. Enter the mid-forties. I’ll never forget the summer I went to put on my cute, size four, white jeans from the previous summer. Girl, let me tell you. I couldn’t get those suckers past my thighs. My mouth dropped down past the jeans to the floor. I was stunned. I knew I had put on some pounds that year but I was sure I could still squeeze into last year’s summer things. I took the jeans off, held them up, and eyed them carefully. I wanted to make sure they weren’t actually from my childhood and had somehow slipped in there with my adult things. Nope. They were a size four. Trouble was, I was no longer a size four. Not even close.
What the heck?
I jumped on the scale and could not believe the number staring back at me. We don’t need to go into the details, but I had gained LOTS of weight. And I continued to gain over the years. Since that summer day several years back, I’ve had to redo my wardrobe—twice. I’ve been spoiled. For so long, I could eat anything and now I have a hard time cutting the bedtime snacks.
Now I know how it feels to cringe inside every time you step on a scale. I know how it feels to go shopping and realize you’ve moved up yet another size. I know how the 25 percent of women who are currently on a diet feel about themselves, whether they’re trying to shed 10 pounds or 50 or 100. Although I’m only trying to lose 15 or 20 pounds, even that’s hard as heck. Maybe that’s why I made Lenora Stone, the main character in my latest novel Money Can’t Buy Love, struggle with her weight. These days, I can definitely identify.
And that’s why I’ve come to admire celeb women like Jennifer Hudson, Kirstie Alley, Marie Osmond, Sherri Shepherd, and Valerie Bertinelli. And ordinary women like my Aunt Elaine and cousins Carolyn and Brenda. I realize how hard they have worked to get and stay in shape using various methods of dieting and dancing and exercise. Jennifer Hudson did it despite going through some really rough times and she is now all over the place representing Weight Watchers. Kirstie Alley is rocking it at nearly 60 years old, and we all know that it’s harder to lose as you age. And Marie Osmond has had her share of downs, including the recent death of her son. Still, she now looks good enough to join the cast of The Bold and Beautiful.
Every one of these women is a source of inspiration to me and I’m sure to many others. They did it when they needed to, and hopefully, so can the rest of us.