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Socially Acceptable Weight Gain

Becky Kueker July 2020

Retirement Kuel Category Expert & Author: Becky Kueker

More than 15 years ago I had a mild heart attack. Mind you at the time it did not seem mild but that is what the doctor said so I acquiesced to her definition.

What caused this attack was plain and simple: over eating and stress. Of course, when the doctor sat me down and explained that I was more than 50 pounds overweight I fluttered like I was Scarlett O’Hara having the vapors. I sat back in the chair, hand daintily on my chest, and said in a sad little voice, “Oh my!”

My doctor unfortunately was a tough as nails retired Marine Captain who served in the Gulf War. My whiles had absolutely no effect on her what so ever and least of all did it garner any sympathy. In fact, the day before this confrontation, a nurse’s aide put me in a wheel chair and rolled me down to a nutritionist who told me to get on the scale. When I stepped on the scale and she uttered the number 169 pounds, I just about had another heart attack. In shock, I just stood there, hands glued to the handles. I am a small person and 169 pounds was only 10 pounds less than my husband weighed. Was this a joke? The scale had to be defective. No way Jose was I 169 pound.

I Was Accountable

As she wheeled me back to my room, I silently acknowledged that my clothes were tighter and I had recently been surfing the aisles at Macy’s for a size 14. As I climbed back into my hospital bed, I knew I had to pull up my big girl pants and face up to it. I did it to myself. A nutritionist was hired to keep my eating on track, and most embarrassing, a psychologist to help me understand why I over eat. It took me over a year of really hard work; coming to terms with a number of emotional issues; and of course the dreaded trips to the germy gym plus walking every morning. Finally, off came 50 pounds, I went from a size 14 to a size 6 and I have remained pretty much 50 pounds free for all those years until the pandemic!

Especially the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I had hidden in my underwear drawer.”

So, I say with all honesty that my weight gain the last three months has been my fault. I also will admit that the quarantine snacks I purchased to last for at least a month, I ate in pretty much one week. Especially the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I had hidden in my underwear drawer. What is it about doing nothing that makes you hungry?

My Biggest Vice

My biggest vice has always been sweets: butter cream icing on a mile high cake, blueberry pie, yum! I never make them unless we have company and of course the last three months with no company I had no reason to make anything sweet. Day one of the quarantine I vowed I was going to meditate daily and do body sculpting exercises. In fact, I had dug in and promised to social distance from my refrigerator.

But in early March, I decided I would bake something for my neighbors. On one side, a single guy, 90 years old and loves everything I bake, and on the other side a lovely couple from England who like my pies and of course shortbread cookies. What a wonderful neighbor I would be if I just whipped up a few treats for all of us to share.

If I went to the doctor today I am sure I could test positive for a fat butt!”

Remember back in January when we all thought we were fat after the holidays? Well fast forward to the end of June, I am almost 10 pounds heavier and pants are getting pretty tight. I have been walking three miles every day. So, I figured surely that would work off all the bad things I had been eating –  right?  No it did not!  My scale held steady at the new weight and I am already feeling the pressure of calorie anxiety. If I went to the doctor today I am sure I could test positive for a fat butt!

Time To Face The Music

I sat down to have a frank talk with Gary, my husband, about it one night. He did not see this as a serious discussion. In fact, he did not want to even address that I would stop making sweets because it was making us feel so good and had taken our relationship to a new sugar high level. I will never again underestimate the romantic value of a chocolate cream pie served with a great Merlot!

I did not take his dismissal lightly and eyed him sitting there with a new roll around his middle. “How should I approach this” I thought to myself? Not to point fingers, but it was pretty obvious we were both bobbing around in the same weight gain boat. And, speaking of boats, have you seen all those ads everywhere to develop your “Beach Body” while under quarantine?  Seriously!  We are not stressed enough and now you have to have a Beach Body!

Finding Sympathy

I called a close friend hoping to get some sympathy and she said, “Girl do not talk to me about food. I am postponing my summer body to 2021!” Defeated, I started surfing the web and stumbled on this site that said there is really such a thing as fatphobia. You know, in the last three months, we have had so much time to think about everything; especially our flaws and of course, obsessing over food. I don’t see how that is helping our mental health. In the grand scope of things, it is so hard to think about weight loss right now. Am I not right; that one of the best parts of life right now is comfort food?

Body shaming should not be on our radar with all we are facing.”

As I open the refrigerator door looking for that perfect meal that will taste good and yet not add extra calories, I just smile. In reality, there should not be a contest for who comes out of this looking the best; shedding the most weight; or who works out twice a day. Body shaming should not be on our radar with all we are facing. 


Judgment Free Zone Please

According to some headlines we should take this time to rethink our relationship with food or decide to become a vegetarian. But aren’t we all craving familiar, comforting treats to help with our stress? The foods that were off limits are now front and center in our lives because we need them. So, as I head to the couch with my bowl of butter popcorn and box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal to watch yet another Netflix original, I just want to be in a judgment free zone at least for today!

Stay safe and well.

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About the Author:

Becky is a Tucson-based, nationally known author and speaker traveling around the U.S. providing presentations that relate to her personal journey. She retired from a 20-year career as a partner in a woman-owned, commercial architectural and interior design firm. Leading business development and forming strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her distinguished program of work has received numerous prestigious awards, such as a top Woman of Achievement award, a “Star Catchers” Award from St. Louis County Library, and the prestigious YWCA President’s Award honor. Becky has authored two books: ‘A Classic in Clowns Shoes’ and ‘Hiding in My Pajamas’.