Whenever I felt self-conscious about weight gain, I would always excuse my insecurities by saying, "Who cares? It is what it is. I'm happy."

It was true. I wasn't unhappy about my forty extra pounds, but I always had to end the statement right after the word "happy," because adding anything else would be a lie. What was I going to say? "I'm happy to have to unzip my jeans every time I sit down"? Or: "I'm happy that I'm four sizes bigger than I used to be"? Or: "I'm happy that I can't sleep at night because my knees ache from carrying around so many extra pounds"? The whole truth was that I no longer felt comfortable in my skin.

I turned forty years old in 1999 and I think I celebrated that milestone by starting to gain one pound for every year of my life! Somehow, an unnoticed five pounds each year after age forty made its way to my middle and stayed, even though it was getting pretty crowded! The pounds that couldn't squeeze onto my stomach just moved around to my back. It was crafty of them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Even when I had to admit to being a size ten—really a size twelve, which isn't good for a size-four frame—I still kept up the internal dialogue that it was only some "water weight" from the salt on the popcorn, or from flying the red-eye from LA to New York. As most third-graders know, a gallon of water weighs eight pounds, yet I managed to convince my brain that I was carrying five extra gallons of water. You know, I was just like a camel. The fact is a camel's hump is made of fat, and so was mine! However, many women are like camels in that we can take extreme heat in any situation and still keep going. We have to.


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