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By Marsha Jordan
Below is the latest essay I wrote. Maybe it will give you a smile. :o)
My middle aged brain being what it is (or isn't), I can't remember much beyond yesterday; but I think I've been fat for about 25 years. The last time I tucked in a blouse and wore a belt, my 35 year old son was still in diapers. Wait, that didn't sound right. I mean he was a toddler when I started gaining weight.
Somewhere between tight belts with tucked in blouses and varicose veiny legs with age spots, I developed some poor eating habits. For many years I pretty much survived on those wonderful gifts from God called carbs. I'm a food addict, plain and simple. For most of my life, pizza, doughnuts, and brownies have been among my closest friends.
Then, last year, I rolled myself into the doctor's office for a physical. Bad cholesterol up. Good cholesterol down. Blood pressure skyrocketing. Life expectancy plummeting. After extensive tests, the doctor confirmed what he had already suspected: "You're a fat, lazy old hag." I argued that settling of my body's contents had occurred over the years, but he would accept no excuses. He said I've been digging my grave with a knife and fork. Then he brought up that frightening five-letter "c" word - change. For starters, I would have to vary my diet more. And he didn't mean trying all 31 flavors at Baskin Robbins.
I felt doomed. I didn't think I could ever be healthy again. After all, I had tried losing weight several times, but it was just too hard. I think I would have found it easier to chew my own arm off. Menopause made it even more difficult. As I got older, everything slowed down (except my eating, that is). The doc told me losing weight didn't have to be excruciating. If I would eat 100 fewer calories each day, I could lose ten pounds in a year. I would bet my pricey cellulite-removing cream that's exactly how much a woman's metabolism goes down after age 55. (Yes, I admit I'm middle aged, but you won't catch me standing in the early bird senior line at the local Denny's Restaurant, sporting support hose - at least not yet.)
I tried to appease Doctor Knowitall by wearing stilts to his office, so I could say my weight was fine for my height. He didn't buy it. Getting on the scale naked didn't help either. My clothes weren't contributing 30 pounds to my weight, as I had hoped. A heaping serving of self loathing and punishment was in order. I would starve myself and exercise 13 hours out of 24. I'd have one stick of celery per day. At breakfast and lunch, I could lick it; and I'd eat it for supper. I kicked off my exercise regimen by purchasing a heavier TV remote.
When all these half measures didn't work, I had to admit It was time to get serious and banish my supersized boomer belly. No more unbridled indulgence and carefree binging. I want to be able to enjoy my golden years and maybe even tuck in my blouse again once in a while. So, though I've never been athletic in my life, I've recently become a kicker -- a fat kicker.
A great help to me has been "the three F's rule." FRESH FIBER FIRST. If I'm hungry for pizza or Cheetos, I must first eat some fresh fiber (translated "a plant.") Then, if I still want the junk food, I can have it. Eating fiber first slows me down and sometimes even keeps me from eating the garbage. But even if I go ahead with chips or whatever, I'm able to eat less of that since fiber fills me up enough that I'm not totally ravenous.
Exercise and better nutrition have done wonders. These things are important for old bags like me. They slow down bone loss and even improve memory. That's good news. Just yesterday, I told my husband, what's-his-name, that I've been forgetful as long as I can remember.
I've lost 45 pounds now. I have to lose about 30 more, so I'm still not thin. But I'm not as fat as I was a year ago. Granted, itís like coming in eighth at the Special Olympics, but it's better than not competing at all.
How have I done it? Well, I didn't try the old tried and failed method of beginning each day with great resolve but giving up when lunch time rolled around. This time, I'm doing something new and revolutionary. I am eating when I get hungry and stopping before I am gorged. And I'm moving more. Rather that driving around the Walmart parking lost for 35 minutes looking for a spot close to the door, I park as far away as I can get and hike it. And I don't give in to the temptation to leave my cart at the car after shopping. I push it back to the corral thingie where it can't chase down and bash into anyone's shiny, new Lincoln.
The up side to my weight loss is that I can do things I couldn't before -- like tying my shoes without fainting from lack of oxygen. There is a down side too, though. Giving birth, breast feeding, getting old, and losing that much blubber all take a toll on your body. Add gravity, and the sagging flab makes for a nasty situation. My body now resembles a 100 pound potato sack with some of the potatoes missing.
Now all I need to do is figure out how to fold up my excess skin each morning and then find someplace to shove it under my clothes.