I ask this simply because, since I married in 2011, I have put on 20 lbs which are currently sitting comfortably around my stomach (the kids call it a ‘podge’), hips and thighs. Possibly this is menopause weight gain; equally possible is that my sedentary lifestyle is starting to catch up with me.
In the bad old days of wall to wall diet books, there was a new diet every week – usually featuring one star ingredient like pineapples or a ghastly cabbage soup. But it isn’t quite as easy to talk about dieting any more, is it?
Now my ideal weight is, according to the generally unreliable but prevalent medical charts (actually devised for insurance, and not medical purposes by the way), around 9 st 9lbs.
Don’t ask me to go metric. I’m happy with Imperial measurements thank you very much.
This, I appreciate is clearly a “first world problem” which could be easily solved by not stuffing so much food in my face and joining the rapidly growing cult of “sitting is the new smoking”.
But everywhere I look there are plus sized sisters ’embracing their curves’, insisting on their right to be body confident no matter what their size (and, indeed, why not?) and even wearing obesity like some feminist trophy of war.
Women of all shapes and sizes are staking their claim to beauty and femininity. Remember the furore over that Protein World “beach body ready” advertising campaign?
But you know somewhere a little klaxon is sounding; a note of warning I can’t quite shake off.
I see these women and their bravery and I think, “perhaps I don’t need to lose any weight at all”.
Perhaps I should just eat and be happy.
Does it matter if I have a burgeoning muffin top?
Will it matter when my thighs start to chafe and I can no longer run at all?
I am really, really torn.
I know that, medically, we were not designed to carry too much excess weight and that its original purpose was to keep us alive until the next successful hunt.
I know that I should not make weight an issue for my kids, particularly Caitlin who, at nearly 12, is already aware of the body shape that the media finds most desirable – and it’s still thin.
If I’m confused by these mixed messages, what on earth is going on in the minds of our youngsters – absorbed as they are by the constant stream of images on social media?
We can have as many lauded Twitter campaigns as we like but this will not make being overweight safe for our bodies or a route to longevity.
The media can trumpet about the latest morbidly obese supermodel but is this really the way to give confidence to young women?
Some will argue that it is possible to be overweight and healthy, flying in the face of many people’s belief that, surely, the two are polar opposites?
And in an attempt to do something, anything to get the Nation’s weight under control, every week there is a new Government initiative – tax sugary drinks, tax sugar, tax alcohol.
This week fat is the enemy, the next week it’s salt.
Surely the finger of blame should point back at the manufacturers who feed us this junk and price it cheaper than the food we really need to eat.
I can guarantee that, right now, a punnet of strawberries will cost more than a chocolate bar and a multi-pack of crisps will be less than a bag of salad.
I don’t accept the argument that it’s a question of education.
Unless you’ve just been parachuted in from space you know chips are bad for you and that mass consumption of chocolate will make you fat.
No, it’s as if there’s an unhealthy collusion between the Government, restaurants, food manufacturers and the media all happily working to keep us in this state of wavering weight with the scales moving ever upwards.
Yes, I am responsible for my weight and the choices I make about it, but it’s clear that for many of us the environment in which we make these choices is becoming more and more challenging.
And what of those whose health conditions have led to them putting on weight?
What help is available for them?
It would be interesting to see NHS statistics about the number of smokers and alcoholics treated, compared with the number of obese patients.
There comes a point, I suspect, at which you simply can no longer control your weight gain without medical, psychological and emotional support.
And there goes that klaxon again.
If we just give in to weight gain and don’t make any attempt to stay within healthy limits, where are we headed?
To that point at which all control is gone?
Do I, for example, just accept that menopause weight gain is a fact of life and ignore it? Should I blame my hormones and the increasing stiffness in my joints?
Every day there seems to be a new ache or pain in a different part of my body. Just recently I have been feeling dizzy, as well as very, very tired.
We have got ourselves into such a muddle over weight that it is almost a crime to talk about it at all but, for our future health and that of our kids, it’s a conversation we really need to have – today, not tomorrow.