I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I believe in setting goals, but making grand declarations just because the calendar changes seems silly to me. That being said, I do have one goal that I need to get serious about and I wish that more people would stop hiding behind politeness and support me in my efforts. I know that weight is only one aspect of good health, but right now it is my biggest challenge.
When I was in college, I was skinny. Though I didn’t feel that way at the time, I was content with the body I had. Honestly, I didn’t think much about it. I got some comments (from friends of my parents mostly) that I was too thin, but I didn’t (and still don’t agree). I wasn’t athletic, but didn’t have to work out to keep my shape. I had the kind of body that could wear anything off the rack (even my wedding gown fit without alterations) and the kind of metabolism that allowed me to eat just about anything I wanted.
Somewhere after baby number two, that all started to change. As I approached 30, things began to resettle in new places. I know the hows and whys, and of course on a certain level knew that I would have to start paying attention and take better care of my body, but I didn’t, for a number of reasons. As a result, my current weight is a little above where I was the day my oldest was born, which while not quite considered obese, is definitely outside the healthy range for my height and build. Now that I’ve crossed the 50 mark, I am facing new challenges. My metabolism has gone on strike. A single alcoholic drink adds pounds. Miles of walking seems to make little difference. It doesn’t seem fair to deprive myself of all guilty pleasures, but I want to be healthy.
Over the past ten years, my weight has been up and down and honestly, I haven’t gotten as serious about it as I should. I know I am significantly increasing my chances of certain health problems, and I am upset that my clothes don’t fit the way they should. I try to be conscious of what I eat, but when I do, it seems that other people take issue with that. If I comment on my body, saying something as simple as “None of my clothes fit,” or “I really have to lose some weight,” I have people arguing with me, telling me I look great.
I find this frustrating, and really wish they would stop. I’m not saying I want people to point out my bulges; however, people are making it more difficult for me to be healthy. We live in a culture that places a ridiculous value on consuming food and drink. Most social occasions include or even revolve around eating and drinking, and for some strange reason, people pay attention to what others consume.
If I say no to a drink, it is questioned, or even challenged. I am told I can have just one more. I hear, “You are on vacation,” or “It’s the weekend. Live a little.” Then there’s the most difficult to refuse without being rude: “Celebrate with me.” If I counter with the fact (for me it is unfortunately a hard fact) that I don’t want the extra calories, I am told that “You don’t have to worry about your weight” or “Just one won’t hurt you.”
Saying no to dessert prompts the response: I shouldn’t deprive myself, I deserve it. Or there is the attempt at guilt: “It will just get thrown out if you don’t eat it.” Pointing out that I am overweight often elicits an almost angry response. I am told that I should love my body and not be ashamed of it.
This makes no sense. I am not ashamed of my body. I am disappointed with myself for not exercising more and am nostalgic for the days I could eat all the desserts and still keep my tiny waistline, but I am not ashamed of my body. After four pregnancies and many years, there is no possible way I am going to have the body of 20-year-old me. I don’t have the desire to get back to my pre-first-pregnancy size, I just want to be healthy and once again like the way my clothes look and feel on me.
I am proud of all this body has done and even some of the things it still can do. However, I want to be able to continue doing these things. I want to actively enjoy my life to the very end. I want to be able to keep up with any future grandchildren I may have. To up the odds of all this, I need to lose weight and get in shape. So please, if I mention I want to lose weight, please don’t tell me I look great. Either say nothing at all or offer to go for a walk with me. It might even be fun.