Some days, I worry about my weight gain, and I feel bad about it.

When I put on something that used to fit and it doesn't fit any more, when I can't wait to get home and put on sweat pants because my work pants (or any structured pants) are too constricting. When I sit down and can feel my belly roll over the waistband of my pants. I was more comfortable in clothes when I was thinner, and I could easily and comfortably pull my knee up to my chest while sitting. Sometimes I catch sight of myself in the mirror at the gym, and I hate the muffin top my gym pants are giving me because they have to be tight enough so that when I run, they aren't falling down. I worry that people running behind me on the lake path are grossed out by said muffin top.

I worry when a guy who last saw me 20lbs ago asks to meet up when I'm home, and I'm afraid to do it because I know his first thought when he sees me will be that I've gained weight. I'm afraid that I will disappoint him with my diminished attractiveness. I feel sad when my ex's girlfriend is thinner than me, thinking he must look at recent photos of me and think how lucky he was to have dodged this bullet. Even with my friends and family, I know their first thought will also be weight gain-related when they see me, even as it is immediately eclipsed by their joy at our reunion. And I feel shame that I couldn't keep the weight off after I lost it, after all the congratulations and compliments I never wanted but received regardless.

I am annoyed by my weight gain when male friends of friends are curt to the point of unfriendliness so that the message is extra clear that they do not find me attractive, even though I was just trying to make polite small talk about sports or the weather, or make a joke about beer. I am extra annoyed by my delight when two male friends of friends are kind and friendly, even though I am not attracted to either of them, handsome though they are, because this should be the rule, not the exception. I shouldn't be surprised to have a lovely platonic evening with men I am not already well-acquainted with. Whether or not you are attracted to me, you shouldn't assume that because I am not thin, I must be hitting on every man I see in a desperate attempt to find love.

I worry about my weight gain when I'm naked with a man, though I do my best to hide it because "insecurity is more unattractive than anything else". I miss being confident that fat wasn't pooling anywhere unattractive, and getting up to walk to the bathroom naked without worrying whether anything was jiggling too much or whether my ass looked too big, or trying to look casual while frantically wondering where my robe is to cover myself with before he notices that crease where my love handle meets my back fat. It was nice to not tense whenever someone put their arm around me at waist height because I was worried they were touching my fat and would suddenly realize that I'm not actually very attractive.

And then there are other times when I worry about my weight gain, and it doesn't bother me so much. When I can go to happy hour with my coworkers because I am not frightened of missing an evening workout. When I can go with my friends to a beer festival because I'm not scared of the calories I will consume and how they will affect my workout the next day, or where they will distribute themselves as fat on my frame. I can now enjoy holiday dinners with my family without wondering when I can get a run in to help burn off the extras.

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Sometimes my weight gain doesn't feel so oppressive, like when I go to my favorite cheese shop and the cheesemonger has something new to delight my tastebuds, along with some clever accompaniment that opens up new flavors. And I can buy both the cheese and the accompaniment to delight me further, as well as my friends and family, because these foods and their fats and their sugars are no longer forbidden to me now because "the worst" has already happened...I have gained weight. And yet that doesn't matter nearly as much when I'm enjoying a glass or two of wine after a long day, reveling not only in its flavor, but also in my growing knowledge of something I am passionate about. Something I couldn't be nearly as passionate about "before", when it was strongly recommended that I only drink clear alcohol and soda water when I fancied an alcoholic drink. Wine and bourbon and beer were "special occasion" treats, and it's difficult to learn a lot about wine when can only drink a few glasses every six months.

When I am sad about my increased belly and my love handles, sometimes instead of mourning what I "lost", I admire the beautiful breasts I have gained. My breasts that are round and full and luscious, vs. the flat, deflated-looking breasts I had when I was thinner. When I lost weight the first time, I had to come to terms with the changing of a part of my body I liked very much along with the changing of the parts I didn't like so much. Now that I have gained the weight back, I can admire the shape and curve and heft of my breasts, even as they sit atop a more substantial belly than they did before.

I am a woman who's trying my very best to come to terms with the body I have. I love eating green veggies and playing sports and exercising as much as I love drinking wine and eating an amazing burger and lazing in the sun on the beach. I am healthy and strong. So why isn't that enough? Why do I spend days promising myself that I will force myself back on that plan that required me to work out for two hours five days a week, and on which I constantly thought about food...both food I "could" have and food I "couldn't" have. I was always hungry (though I would like to point that I was consuming enough food to have a healthy amount of energy at all times and fuel my long workouts). Is that body really worth all I had to sacrifice for it? The funny thing is, that if it's just me and my opinion, I would say absolutely not. So why doesn't a day go by when I don't worry about that weight gain?