“Too thin!”I heard these words spoken about myself throughout my childhood. After any illness, my mother would feed me milkshakes to plump me up. The scale would barely move. At breakfast, if I had the time, I could go through almost a whole loaf of cinnamon toast. Two pieces after two pieces after two pieces, each one drooling with butter. No repercussions except a warm feeling of satisfaction. I could easily go through a box of candy chocolate/caramel turtles with no concerns. After giving birth to my first child, I actually weighed less than I did before I became pregnant. After subsequent pregnancies, within 2 months,I could easily lose the weight I’d gained . No big deal. Those were the days, my friends.
I got my first taste of change when I was fifty. I began to wear looser clothing that covered up excessive poundage and told myself I was stylin’. Then, after an exam, the physician I saw told me, that I could lose a little weight. I didn’t expect to hear that, but I agreed and said yes, I guess I could lose a few pounds. As I carried his diagnostic report to the front desk of the office, I noted that he had put a check in the little box before the diagnosis of obese. I wanted to return to his exam room and hit him. Hard. How dare he??
Outrage! Indignation! Denial! I am most definitely NOT obese, I self righteously declared to my husband that evening, certain that he would agree with me. He was slower than usual to respond. Well, you have put on some weight, he said, with a slight smirk that he couldn’t suppress.
There it was. The moment of truth. I quickly faced facts, went on a diet and pretty quickly lost my extra 12-15 pounds, I also lost my no-waistline clothes.
I cruised along at a nice comfortable weight for the next two decades or so, when all of a sudden it seemed that my clothes had all shrunk in the wash, or had over dried. Many items of finery languished in my closet. Over the months, more and more items of clothing remained there. I took long detours around the scale.
Over the past few years, I’ve made several half hearted attempts to lose it again. But, now it’s an absolute struggle to take weight off as I used to be able to. And now, of course, there’s more to lose. I manage to lose a few pounds the first week or so of almost any diet, then I quickly plateau, decide the diet isn’t working, and return to eating and drinking as I like.
My revived self disgust culminated last week when we spent a few days in Palm Springs at a lovely resort that had an enticing pool. The days were hot and all the family went swimming. I couldn’t have been paid to get into a bathing suit. The spider veins are one thing, but extra pounds are not to be shared.
I don’t think I expect my body to look as it did at 25, 30, 40 or even 50, even though I’d be happy if it did. But I would like to be able to say, this is my 75 year old body. Old age shouldn’t mean slinking into the dark corners of oblivion. I secretly admire women who don’t give a shit and just do as they please with no excuses. No slinking for them. Bring on the rolls of flesh. I’m not one of those women. Having been a dancer doesn’t help. Nor does living in California. Vanity comes along with this territory.
I’ve promised myself I’m going to give this diet a real chance. I feel very motivated. I’m setting an alarm to get up from my computer after 20 minutes of sitting. I’m committed to an hour of exercise each day. I stopped drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages, even though I’d just discovered a wonderful cocktail while in New Orleans, called the sazerac. I’ve consoled myself a bit about that, since no one seems to make it very well here. I’ve eliminated sugar and bread. Fruits and vegetables are my only snack friends. I have no immediate trips planned. I’ve set a goal as to how much weight I’d like to lose. I’m writing down everything I eat, although it does get tedious. The five family Birthdays we celebrate in January have come and gone. So, now, no more excuses.
If I am not successful with this effort, I will not be pleased. I have told myself, and now my readers, if I don’t succeed at this, I will never, never, never try another diet again. May the Good Lord grant me acceptance.