In Which a Middle-Aged Goober Steps on the Scale and Weighs Her Options

from istockphoto.com

And so today I looked at the scale in the doctor’s office and found out I weigh more than I have ever weighed in my life. Ever. For years now I have avoided the number, telling the nurse I didn’t want to know. I would take off my shoes and shut my eyes, waiting to hear her say, “Okay, you can step off now.” I’d make sure not to look down at my chart while talking with the doctor, so as to avoid glimpsing the truth. But today, in this year that marks my fiftieth birthday, I decided it was time to stop kidding myself: I’m overweight.

This is not a news flash for me, of course. I’ve known for a while now, even though I’ve managed to kid myself into thinking I look okay and feel pretty good. Neither of those things is true. Photographs show my full face, wide hips, and soft belly. My knees ache, I snore (Precious describes this, lovingly, as “fog horn like”), and my cravings lean more and more toward sugar and carbs.

One of my friends, a woman I met just three years ago but feel I have known for decades, lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers. I thought she looked fine before, and she did. But now, she’s just about the best-looking sixty-something woman I know. And she’s way cool to boot. I would like to be her when I’m 63, that’s how fabulous she is. She says she was never driven by vanity; it was her creaky knees that made her lose weight. That’s the way it is for me, I think. I don’t seem to scare small children when I go to the mall, and Precious loves me as I am, about 20 pounds heavier than when we married in 2002. But now I make moaning noises when I get up from the couch, which isn’t often, because that’s become my favorite place to park myself. I complain about back pain, low energy, and blue moods. My cholesterol is through the roof. Can you say put down the cheese doodles?

Another friend says she lost weight by eating only on alternate Tuesdays, and yet another swears by the hCG diet, which seems to involve injections and possibly urine from pregnant women. As it is with most meaningful undertakings, I will have to find my own way to better health. I suspect my path will involve smaller portions and more workouts, but I’ll keep you posted.

In college, I thought I was too heavy. Pictures from those days make me teary-eyed with envy, as I see now that I was “normal” back then, back when I weighed 40 pounds less. Today, though, my weight is not the only thing I’m paying close attention to as I plod toward the big five-oh in August. I’ve taken up yoga, and I like how it’s putting me in touch with my body in new ways, making me aware of moves I didn’t even know were possible and affording me a sense of calm (thanks Hilary and ALIGN!) Also in my arsenal are a therapist (no website!), a personal trainer (thanks Stephanie!), and an acupuncturist (thanks Eden!). A supportive husband, a loyal dog, and plenty of women who have gone before me.

“It’s the sharing of our stories that saves us.”

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