There’s a Reason they call them “Love Handles” by Kara G.

Hey all. For those who read my intro post, I’m sure the picture I painted of myself leaves you doubtful I’ll ever put the Ben & Jerry’s down long enough to get my stretchy pants-clad ass on the path to good health, but the sad truth is, I know what it feels (and looks) like to be in shape.  Let’s travel back in time together to my wedding day. An absolutely beautiful, picturesque summer day—one I will truly never forget. I am so happy I can look back at the photos and admire the breathtaking beach scenes, my handsome husband, loving family and amazing friends. I’m also incredibly happy to have concrete proof that there was actually a time I had a small waist, defined arms and a flat stomach. Now back to real time, circa 2014, where unfortunately those body parts are now prefaced with much less appealing adjectives like flabby, saggy, bloated, and—well, you get the gist. I’d love to blame my husband for all of this, because let’s face it, what sane woman would actually blame themselves for their weight gain, but the truth is, he had little, if anything to do with it. He actually likes to eat healthy (weirdo) and even if I made him a pile of bean sprouts for dinner, he’d eat it with a smile—I’m not kidding, he’s that easygoing. He’s one of those freaks of nature that will take out a package of Oreos, carefully pull two out and then roll the bag back up and put it away. Again, I’m not kidding, these people really exist. 

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and if that’s true, then my first few years of marriage, cooking up all the comfort food he could handle, certainly cemented my place in my husband’s heart—as well as plenty of extra insulation to my ass and thighs. I had been laid off shortly before our wedding, so once we moved in together and I had more free time than I knew what to do with, I threw myself into trying to be “the perfect wife,” spending hours cleaning until there wasn’t a speck of dust to be found, cooking HUGE homemade meals every night (if I went to the trouble of preparing and cooking it, then I should be eating half, right?) and food shopping for all his (a.k.a. my) favorites. But my Martha Stewart act only kept me occupied for so long before boredom and all my extra “love weight” began to take its toll. 

Some people say you should never let your work define you, but I’m guessing those same people were never laid off for eight months straight living in a 600-square foot apartment, where I can literally reach the refrigerator while still sitting in my desk chair. At first, it was nice having some time off—I could go to the gym whenever I wanted, the house had never been cleaner, and I had plenty of time to catch up with old friends and do those annoying tasks you never seem to get around to with a full-time job, like organizing your sock drawer or restocking your medicine cabinet. I felt free, determined and excited to embark on my next adventure with a clean slate. So I fired off hundreds of resumes, got in touch with former colleagues, bought myself a new suit for interviews and waited; and waited, and waited some more. But all that came were rejections, cloaked in attempted cheer—“We don’t have anything right now unfortunately, but we’ll definitely keep your resume on file for when we do,” and “We really liked you, but decided to fill the position internally” or my personal favorite, “We feel you may have too much experience for the position and are overqualified.” And so on, and so on. I had phone interviews almost daily, went into the city on a weekly basis, and still nothing. My full-time job became looking for a job; and after awhile that fire that had been lit inside me when I was first laid off, started to burn out. 

I felt lost and out of control. I had entirely too much free time to sit around and think about what I was doing wrong or why I wasn’t good enough to get one of these positions. I felt like I was in slow motion, trying to run through quicksand. The sadder I got, the more I ate—bingeing on cookies, ice cream or whatever junk I could get my hands on. I had even resorted to waiting until my husband went to bed and then sitting out in the living room and “relaxing” a.k.a. shoveling down whatever treats I had bought myself at the grocery store or picked up from a fast food joint on the way home. What started out as an exciting journey full of possibilities had turned into a tiresome voyage with no end in sight; and before I knew it, I was right back to square one—all 37 pounds right back where they started (insert any body part capable of jiggling here).

Lesson of the day: Job loss+ tiny apartment=love handles.