It does, doesn't it? Don't lie.
|Yep. Not me.|
It's a losing battle. I was a scrawny kid growing up. Long and leggy was my claim to fame; unfortunately from the waist up I was all boy. College confirmed that yes, you do in fact gain the "freshman 15," which I did consistently throughout my four year reign. "Exercise" was running down the dorm hall to let the Domino's pizza guy in.
From there on out it was a seesaw of poundage proportions depending on what was going on in my life. I started taking long walks daily in my early 20's. That, combined with near poverty wages and a grocery list that made a bachelor's fridge look plentiful kept my weight in check. Throughout my 20s I stayed active, and before marriage and kids, worked out with weights, played volleyball and tennis. On my wedding day, I was a size 4.
I gained the recommended 25 - 30 pounds with my first baby, and shed the weight quickly after, even though I found myself almost pleased with my new found curves. Even after kid number two I don't remember weight being an issue. Yeah, I was a little more hippy, but hey, you need some place to balance the kid, right?
I'm not gonna lie. 40 hit me like a lead balloon. I thought I was cruising right along in my size 6 low rise jeans and my tucked in shirts. Yep, that's right. TUCKED IN. WITH A BELT. It never even occurred to me to turn to the side or put my hand on my hip or stand in the back row for pictures.
Somehow, someway, my body hit 40 and my metabolism came to a screeching halt. No more could I park in front of the TV with a bag of chips and "work it off" the next day. Nope. That bag of chips hung around like, well, a bag of effing chips. Half a bag on each thigh. Just hangin' there.
|I have a love/hate relationship with this photo.|
The only time in my 40s I've been at a weight I considered OK was after a major breakup. I couldn't eat at all. The thought of food literally made me sick to my stomach. For WEEKS. I swear I dropped over 10 pounds in 10 days. My clothes hung on me. I looked FANTASTIC. Yet I was miserable. People would even tell me, "Wow - have you lost weight? You look so skinny!" and I'd say, "Thanks," and promptly burst into tears and crawl back under the covers to lament my broken heart.
That doesn't happen anymore. I've had more stress and heartbreak in the past year than I've had in my entire life. Am I repulsed by food? No, dammit. Food is my comfort. Food is my friend. Food is something to do when I'm bored, depressed, lonely, sad, happy ....
|Sitting kills. See me? I'm dead.|
But here's the other thing. I still exercise. Well, I try. But evidently someone like me has to exercise like 17 hours a day to lose one pound or something like that. Because that's what it seems. And the other thing is that my body is slowly going in the shitter, one bone and joint at a time. I tried running, but my knees doth protest too much. My knees also prevent me from doing burpees, those cross-country things, and anything else that requires going quickly from a squatting position to, well, any other position. I gauge how far down I can go on my lunges as to how many times my knee has popped. Usually after four I know I'd better be on the way up.
|Lie. It's not 7. It's 21.|
I went to the doctor to complain. "Test my thyroid," I said. "Welcome to menopause," she said. I punched her.
You would think that, at 47 years old, I would finally be at peace with my body. That I would be comforted knowing that all those beauties in the magazines were completely photoshopped. That even though I'm single and may have to change my online dating profile body type stat from "slender" to "average," I will somehow attract the attention of someone looking for more than just a kinda pretty, middle-aged face. They just may never get a strip tease. From me, anyway.
I know, I know. "Strong is the new skinny." I don't want to be skinny, necessarily. Strong would be good. "Proportional" would be nice. "Comfortable in my own skin" would be a win.
What do you say we lobby for a worldwide mandatory exercise time between like 12 and 2? Followed by a complimentary salad and a tall glass of ice water.
And maybe a box of Cheez-its.