Stop me if this story seems familiar…
In high school, I was a size 10. And thought I was huge. Everyone else wore 5s and 6s and were stick thin, whereas I had a little tummy that I could just never get rid of. But I look at pictures now and wonder how I could ever think I was truly overweight. I was a stick, too!
Then I had three kids and the muscles in my abdomen went pffftttt. And since I suddenly had to cook for not just myself, but an entire household, meals had to be eaten even when I wasn’t completely hungry. For a while I worked out at the Y religiously, losing 25 pounds in the process and strengthening my muscles enough that my bad back even got better. Then another local gym closed, the Y raised their prices and I had to compete for the machines with Suzie Stick Figure who was more interested in flashing her DD chest in spandex than actually working out.
Schedules changed, too, and there was no more time for working out at the Y. I had to get kids to school, get myself to work, then get the kids again with no time in there to even work out for 1/2 hour. And then my father in law died. I figured the last thing I needed to worry about was my diet and exercise routine, focusing instead on trying to bring normalcy back to my family.
That was 25 pounds ago.
I remember the first time I realized I was a big girl. I think I was 8 or so and the doctor told Mom I needed to lose some weight. She, of course, thought that was ridiculous. She was probably right, I was 8 for Pete’s sake and it wasn’t like I was that big. I fought that little “baby fat” tummy for years, though. Until it turned into a “baby belly.” So here I am again, fighting those extra 25— uh, 40 pounds, trying to slim down before I go to NJ RWA conference in October.
I did something drastic: I joined Weight Watchers. They assign you food points and you can eat anything you want as long as you stick to your points. So if I have an egg and toast in the morning followed by a chef salad at lunch, I’m through my points. I lost 4 pounds, they took two points away. I hate these people. Basically, all I can eat is lettuce and broccoli. And as much as I love them both, there comes a time when they just don’t boost the blood sugar past coma state.
The object, of course, is to exercise more and trade activity points for food points. That makes sense. So last night, when I tried to get on my elliptical trainer for a 1/2 hour, son #2 wants something. Then son #3 throws a tantrum because he’s just too tired to live. Then son #1 needs a shower and son #3 wants me to watch Mythbusters with him, etc. etc. etc.
I have no life. I have children. There are days that I realize my life– and my body– are not going to be my own again for a long time. At least until all the kids get into the double digits, and probably not even then. So here I am whining to you.
But then I think about how hard we try to conform in a Paris Hilton world. I mean, there is more to me than my weight, right? I have a brain, some say a great sense of humor, three great kids, a happy family… why does the fact that I’m carrying some extra pounds around define my life?
Because as much as I protest it, it does. It denotes some sort of failure on my part. It’s no secret moms don’t take care of themselves as they should, and I’m no exception. I’ve been trying to make a dentist appointment for myself for three years and just managed to find a time when I could squeeze an hour in between activities. Don’t ask when the last time I had a physical was. Basically, it comes down to if I don’t have time to get my teeth cleaned, I don’t have time to weigh every ounce of food I put into my mouth.
So to you all meeting me for the first time in Newark in October, I’ll be the one in the “world famous dessert line” cracking jokes about my baby belly. And trying not to let it define me.