I take the last bite of five-day old grocery store Christmas stollen. It’s a good bite- candied cherries, pecans, cinnamon and frosting. I lick a smudge of frosting from my lips, swipe crumbs off my sweatshirt and sigh to myself. Ok, that’s the last of the Christmas goodies. Time to be good.
When January starts, I’ll buy salad makings and stop drinking wine and I will get on that treadmill! Those skinny jeans in the back of the closet won’t slide on by themselves. Wait, how many times have I said that?!
How many years have I talked to myself sternly and vowed to lose 10, 20, 50 pounds?
How many times through the decades have I announced at dinner that I am having half portions and eaten from a plate the size of a saucer? Or proclaimed that I want more green beans and absolutely no potatoes! I love cabbage! Why is there butter in the house? And chips? How many times have I moaned to my sister that nothing fits and I am not ever ordering another latte?
And how many times have I actually lost weight? The answer is many times- 10, 20, 50 pounds. How many diets, plans, vows, feelings of self-loathing, guilt, optimism, joy- all because of which size I am wearing or what the scale shows.
I was skinny as a kid, so I didn’t worry about my weight as a youngster. I started thinking about how I looked in high school. That was in the early seventies. So for forty-five years, and every day of those forty-five years, I have spent my time ruminating about what I could or could not eat.
One summer during college, after a busy semester crammed with studying and too much beer and pizza, my mother nudged me about my weight. I would be thrilled to weight now what I weighed then. Do you know what I mean?
School ended, life became more regular and I took up jogging and joined a fitness center, put on my leggings and headband and jazzercised. I ate at salad bars, two drops of dressing, and one year for Lent I gave up beer. Then I got married, I got happy and yes, I got fat.
In my thirties, I low-carbed it, made cabbage soup, didn’t eat after 7 pm. I went to a version of Weight Watchers. I lost 50 pounds. I bought new clothes. Everyone raved. I felt proud, relieved, happy. I did it and I would never gain weight again.
But I did. Since my forties, I have gained and lost 25 pounds on a regular basis. I have read about diets, talked about diets, felt the shame of eating French fries and scrupulously walked 10,000 steps every day. I have eaten my five fruits and veggies every day and also thrown away lots of rotting produce when my taste for greens faded. I am sure I mentioned something about my weight, dieting, health every day.
I have talked about dieting and my weight and worried about every speck of food that I put in my mouth EVERY DAY FOR 45 YEARS! The word cloud at the top of the page gives you an idea of what I say to myself. Even the second book in my series features a humorous look at weight loss. If I had focused on anything else with as much intensity, I would be a Novel Prize winner, right?
This past year- I had a eureka moment. It happened on Facebook. You know those “memory” postings, where Facebook shows you a photo of something that you posted 1 year ago, or several years ago? My memory photos were from family events, or sporting venues or vacations; I don’t know how Facebook decides. But I did notice that in some of the photos I was skinnier and in some of the photos I was heavier. But in all the photos I was happy. And my family and friends looked happy. I loved them and they loved me. What?
Yes, what now?
Can I walk the dog, skip the snacks but don’t punish myself, be thankful for my health, and be grateful for the blessings of a full cupboard and a caring family?
After 45 years, can I just stop?
I am a writer, blogger, book reviewer, and bon vivant and encourager. I have lived my entire life in Tropical Ohio. My goal is to make friends with everyone in the world. I am writing a fiction series, The Golden Age of Charli, that presents the problems and praises, and the love and laughter of family life and retirement.
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