Since writing (but never posting) the following in early February 2014, I've lost 18+ kg (40 lbs) so far. Goal is 23 kg (50 lbs), sooner rather than later, but definitely by my birthday in April. The secret? Well, ever since roughly mid-May of this year, I've restricted my intake to half-portions, and have eaten (almost) no cheese, no bread, and no salty greasy snacks (sweet things are thankfully not tempting to me), and I've drunk very little alcohol. I've experienced a fair bit of unusual stress in Grenoble, but the silver lining to that has been that it has greatly contributed to a lack of appetite. Overall, I feel good, I look much better (even to me — clothes shopping is no longer quite the horrifying activity that it had been for so many years), I am once again wearing certain clothing that I thought I'd never fit into again, and so... onward toward the goal!

I was a skinny kid. Not painfully thin, not emaciated-looking, not a stick-figure, but thin. I was also short, so my thinness didn't seem particularly out of proportion to my entire being.

To me, there were a couple of problems with my thinness: First, come puberty (or worse yet, come junior high and mandatory showers after gym class), I had no boobs. Flat as a pancake… not quite, but almost. "Little raisin cookies" is how my mom lovingly described my chest.

(Aside, "Adventures in breasts": Although I mightily resented my flatness, I was still able to appreciate that I didn't have to deal with the same kinds of problems as some of my overly-endowed friends. I can see in my mind to this day one such friend holding up her massive breasts as she jogged around the track. This was never going to be a problem for me, I realized, although at the time it was not a particularly consoling thought.

I found some temporary relief in high school and college (and yea, verily, beyond) in a succession of padded bras that helped me fill out my blouses a little bit… and hopefully without grossly exaggerating my natural (lack of) endowment too much. But more on this in a different adventure. (And perhaps a word or two about my Aunt who sucked up all of the breast tissue for generations….)

Second, I'd inherited what my mom also lovingly described as "the Bellmore butt" (and being a Bellmore, I can only assume that she was in a position to know). I had a generous (but objectively speaking, not outlandish) gluteus maximus, whose prominence was likely augmented by lumbar scoliosis that went undetected until just a few years ago.

Anyway, the point is that I was thin. Once I stopped growing upwards — attaining a maximum height of 5'3" or at best perhaps 5'3.5" (that's 160-161 cm for you metric folk) first thing after getting out of bed in the morning (still too short for the LAPD's height requirement of 5'4" for policewomen at the time — so much for my career in law enforcement!), my body decided that my maximum weight would be 103 lbs (about 47 kg) for the next 20-25 years.

I could weigh less than that, but never more. In fact, I dropped to 93 lbs (42 kg) after I had pneumonia while in the missionary training center. This was probably as low as I got as an adult, and once I got to my first city in France, I put on the lost weight again, thanks ever so much to French bread and pastries and all. But I didn't go above the line — except once.

That one time was when I was working as a part-time teller at Coast Federal Savings about two years or so before finishing my university degree at BYU. It was summertime, so I was putting in close to full-time hours covering for people on vacations. Someone, perhaps then-Chief Teller Katie, came up with the plan to have a weight-loss contest. I protested that that was totally irrelevant to me (a fact which did not especially endear me to those struggling on the opposite side of the scales), so we struck a deal: whoever showed the greatest change in weight over the month-long (or perhaps six-week-long) contest period would win. (I no longer remember what the prize was.)

I thus embarked on a massive eating spree. In addition to beefing up my usual breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, I had milkshakes and other fattening things at least twice a day (morning and afternoon break) from the local burger joint right across from Coast. I ate other snacks besides, and had essentially at least one more meal before bedtime. In short, I utterly and completely pigged out as much as I possibly could for that entire period. (Jughead of “Archie” comics fame and Jeremy in “Zits” come to mind.)

I did not win the contest. A colleague who'd lost nine pounds (4 kg) did. However, I did come in second — I'd gained 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)! An honorable if entirely gluttonous effort. But… not much more than a week after I resumed eating normally, I'd shed my hard-won weight — to the infinite disgust and envy of my coworkers.

Such were the blessings of a fast metabolism. Even giving birth to all three daughters did not make a difference: yes, of course I gained weight while pregnant — somewhere upwards of 50 lbs (23 kg) even. But it didn't take long for the weight to melt away of its own accord with no especial help from me — no diets, nothing out of the ordinary exercise-wise. It was a gift.

It was also a curse: I thought my ability to eat anything in any quantity with impunity (let's save "adventures in lactose intolerance" for a different entry, shall we?) would last forever.

But it didn't. My weight crept up a little bit by around age 40. I wasn't complaining, mind you, because 103 lbs was in many ways too little, and if I dropped below that magic number (which I would occasionally due to stress or illness or some such), I really felt it — as not exactly weakness, but as lacking in stamina or reserves.

From age 40 up until nearly the present day, my weight crawled upward, exacerbated by bad habits such as munching my way through bags of chips while production editing at the AAVSO (especially during tight deadlines and the Hands-On Astrophysics project). In fairness, I was playing soccer and basketball, so I wasn’t leading a completely sedentary lifestyle — until I killed my left knee for the second time. Still, I have photos of myself during our first few years in France that suggest to me that my weight really hadn't become a problem… yet.

I started noticing my weight while I was the headmistress of the Marshall McLuhan American School (now American School of Grenoble). Stress, overeating, being mostly sedentary (despite constant running up and down the staircases in the host school)… all contributed, but I'm kind of inclined now to point a plump finger at menopause as the true killer of my once astonishing metabolism. (Doesn't help, I'm sure, that my thyroid has been hovering at low-normal for years.)

I'm not especially inclined to reveal what my peak weight was, although I am hopeful never to, um, see that number (or higher) on the Mrs Sporty scale ever again. Whatever the method or madness, I have lost a few kilos and hope to lose more. (The phrase "unexplained weight loss" keeps rattling around in my head, however, with all of the worrisome googled possible causes such as diabetes and cancer and so on… but I'm hoping that it's more the case that I'm just not eating as much and that between Mrs Sporty, walking around a fair bit, and ping-pong, I'm burning off more calories than I'm taking in. Hope!)

OK, I should also add that one incentive for weight loss was that… I really didn't like how poofy I looked in Middle Daughter's wedding photos — face in particular. It was nice to have cheekbones again in time for Oldest Daughter's wedding this year.