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We talk about weight as much as we talk about the weather, and you can’t change the weather. You just have to dress accordingly.

By Hannah Wallace

I consider myself pretty fortunate when it comes to body issues. Sure, there are parts of my body I’m not wild about (big cheeks, eyebrow-o-rama, tiny boob-to-butt ratio), but nothing that keeps me up at night.

And yet, I still regularly feel a twinge of calorie-consumption guilt—especially on a Monday like today, when CCB and I have eaten every meal out since Thursday. And then I stepped on the scale this morning: 157. Dammit. I’d been as light as 152 recently—I’m 5’7”—and I’d sort of hoped that trend might continue, but apparently Joey D’s baked ziti had other ideas.

When it comes to weight and diet, there’s a lot of health stuff to consider, of course. And it’s good to take stock of what I’m eating now and then to make sure my life isn’t one big chili-dog-a-thon (because sometimes I think, if I didn’t have a scale or a mirror, it would be). But what really sucks is that I know that I’m not stressing over health issues, or even appearance. Thanks to boxing, my body looks better than it has in years—my deltoids and abs are making regular appearances, and my calves and quads are still damn shapely (if occasionally puck-bruised). Sure, I could always stand to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet, but I think I do pretty well, and oh, did I mention the two hours of hockey, two hours of boxing, two hours of yard work, and a couple of lunchtime gym sessions per week? And yet? That damn number on the scale still lands a solid body-shot every time. It’s like, everything I do, and I still don’t know how I feel about my body until I step on the scale.

I’m not horribly distressed, mind you, but I kinda think, taking everything into account, y’know, I really shouldn’t give even this much of a damn what the scale says. But no, there is no consideration to this emotion beyond heavier = baaaad.

The lightest I can remember being in my adult life was my last semester of college—I hit 135 on a diet of coffee and the occasional cheese quesadilla. I wasn’t even playing soccer. I was in the middle of a prolonged romantic face-plant and was horking up a pretty wretched senior thesis, to boot. But the weight loss felt like a positive. A months-long panic attack is, like, the best diet, y’all.

And even then, I thought, Ooh, maybe I can lose even more weight. Like, Christ, am I condemned to feel this way no matter what? What part of our societal DNA deemed that weight be our hair shirt?

Mrs. Harrible and I don't mind looking bulgy in our hockey get-ups.

So thank god for sports. For me, body image adjustment is the most tangible benefit for young women in sports, especially contact sports: Your body is for more than being looked at; it’s for shouldering and jostling and, y’know, plowing chicks over. And instead of feeling bad about a bigger number on the scale, you phrase it in terms of advantage: I’ve got 25 lbs on that girl, and damn did I send her flying.

And then your diet centers on not getting bogged down but still fueling yourself for competition. Which is what allows me to enjoy a 4 o’clock bowl of spaghetti for second lunch/pre-dinner. Because it’s not fun to get light-headed in a boxing ring. And because Lefty’s going to be at hockey practice on Friday, and I’m going to need my strength.

So y’see, I count myself among the lucky women, to endure only this much fallout from the never-ending body image battles. Cheese is still my friend, and fat-free mayonnaise is not, and there is nothing that’s not better with butter. Cutting out carbs? Fine; more bagels for me.