Kerre McIvor: Losing weight no guarantee of happiness

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Section
Kerre McIvor and Mark Dye Afternoons,
Publish Date
Monday, 11 September 2017, 12:32PM
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I've been asked this week to write about losing weight. Presumably because anything to do with weight loss gets people reading - especially with spring in the air and summer just around the corner.

Any minute now, women's magazines will be promising their readers bikini bodies in just six weeks and offering diet plans endorsed by stick thin celebrities.

It's always been this way leading into summer. And I can certainly write about weight loss.

I'm probably more of an expert at putting weight on than I am at taking it off, but I can definitely do both. I have done so ever since my 30s.

When I settled down into a relationship and had a fulltime regular job and bought a house all in the same year, I put on weight. So did my Irishman.

We drank too much and ate too much and packed on the kilos. Then we stopped drinking, followed the Liver Cleansing Diet and took up tae kwan do and lost an enormous amount of weight between us.

For seven years, we lived a sober, dairy and red meat free existence and then, on my 40th birthday, we were at Claridges in London and the wine waiter offered me a glass of vintage Bollinger "on the occasion of my special birthday".

There seemed no good reason to say no, so that was it. We leapt off the wagon and started drinking like it was an Olympic sport and eating whatever the hell we wanted.

We packed on the kilos. I took up marathon running; the weight came off. I stopped marathon running; the weight piled back on.

I seem incapable of sustaining a life of moderation - it's all or nothing and while I beat myself up about that for a while, now that I'm in my 50s, I refuse to listen to that carping critic in my head.

And that's really the advice I'd like to give - not about how to lose weight.

Of course, If you are dangerously over or underweight, that's a different story. But there are people who are destroying their happiness and confidence because of a few extra kilos and that's far worse than carrying around a spare tyre.

It's not losing 10 kilos that's going to make you happy. Switching off the mean voice in your head is what will make you happy.

So many women have told me that they won't go swimming with their kids because they're self conscious about being in togs. Others have bought exercise equipment they can ill afford because they're too embarrassed to exercise in public.

I love feeling fit and healthy and strong. (Photo / File)

And these are not women who are obese. They are, at most, a couple of dress sizes overweight.

It's so sad. The children don't care whether mum's in size 10 togs or size 16s - but they will care if mum never wants to go swimming with them or take them to the beach.

I love feeling fit and healthy and strong. I like being able to do man push-ups and pull-ups and run marathons. When I was young I never gave a second thought about growing older but now that I have inexplicably managed to make it to 50, I'm looking into the future.

I don't want my dotage to be blighted by pain and immobility and dependence so I have to put in the work now to safeguard against that.

At the same time, I also really, really like long lunches that go on forever and having yet another bottle of wine even though it goes against Ministry of Health guidelines.

I like feeling reckless and ever so slightly out of control because it's fun and an antidote to working long hours and paying rates and being responsible for other people.

Right now I've set myself the goal of running the Queenstown Marathon again and to that end I gave up the drink for four months, and I've started running three times a week, and I've lost 8 kilos.

And it feels good.

But an even better feeling is knowing that if - more likely when - that weight comes back on, I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

I love red lipstick, I hate mornings and I prefer the ocean to lakes. I'll still be me. I have a family who loves me and good friends I've had forever.

That's what matters - not whether my jeans are size 10s or size 16s.

The best present I gave myself in my 50s was knowing that whether I'm Fit Kerre or Fat Kerre - I'm good enough.

And having a big arse will not stop me living life to the full.

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