To be or not to be; fit or fat, that is the question.  Whether to suffer the tortures of PX-90 for the cheesecake that slips past the lips to settle on my hips, or forgo the culinary pleasures of life – for the rest of my life? Eat the spare ribs, or spare my joints the pounding of a three-mile jog?

If middle age spread were a ranch, mine would definitely be Texas sized.  Okay, maybe not quite, but to a gal who could polish off an entire bag of potato chips with the container of Top The Tater and never worry about busting out of my size six, the double wide load (size 12) I’m carrying now is just too much.  And I don’t mean that in a good way like back in the hippy-dippy 70s’; “Hey, too much man.”

I’ve given myself every excuse in the book for gaining and not being able to lose weight.  My metabolism has slowed down.  There are too many growth hormones and preservatives in our food. Stress hormones are increasing my belly fat, and my all time favorite – if I didn’t have to cook big meals for my husband, I wouldn’t have a weight problem.

That one flew right out the window when we switched to an extremely low fat, low sugar, low salt, high fiber, heart healthy diet after he became the proud owner of two cardiac stents during emergency surgery.  Fear for your longevity is a fabulous motivator – he embraced the prairie, stream and garden diet (chicken, fish and lots of fresh veggies) and lost thirty pounds.  I, on the other hand, gained five.  We’ve strayed a “bit” from the diet over the last several months.  He’s maintained his frame, my has bloated like a road kill deer in the hot sun.

So, I’ve finally stopped looking for answers other than the obvious.  I’m not getting enough exercise.  The problem is, even thinking about exercise takes more effort than I’m willing to devote.

A while back my daughter was sifting through some old photos.  “Wow mom, where’d you get that awesome six pack?”  I wondered what picture she was looking at and why she’d be so impressed by six cans of barley and hop beverage.

When she passed me the photo, I saw myself in a typical day-at-the-beach snapshot when I was about eighteen years old.  I was ripped – and I don’t mean wasted (side note: eighteen was the legal age then).  My abs had more definition than a dictionary.

I never exercised when I was a kid.  Where did those abs of steel (not to mention the rest of my major muscle groups) come from and how could I have been so totally unaware of them?  It was child’s play, literally, that was responsible for my buff bod.

I decided that was my answer.  I would bring play back into my life.  I bought a hula-hoop to start.  After less than five minutes of trying to keep the plastic circle from falling below my hips, I was exhausted.  Good thing the store had been sold out of jump ropes or I’d probably be the new owner a cardiac stent or two of myself – they say the longer couples are married the more alike they become.

A few weeks ago, I saw an flyer for a Zumba class.  Even though the fusion of aerobics, Latin dance and hip-hop would be a workout that qualifies as exercise, it sounded like fun, putting it in the category of play. I enrolled myself and the daughter who reminded me I’d once had a six- pack to be proud of.

The instructor told us, “Shake what you’ve got.”  The only problem is that when I start shaking the whole of my heft, it shakes me right back. knocking me off balance and struggling to stay upright.  I have to worry about fragile bones at this age.

The hubby and I ran into an old friend a couple of days ago.  Well, old isn’t exactly the right word – not only is he about half a dozen years younger than myself, he looked young enough to be my “old” man’s kid.  When I asked him how he managed to stay in such great shape he said he still runs about three miles or so a day and watches what he eats.  So simple.

It reminded me that back in the day I used to live in the midst of some serious marathon runners.  I was the lone hold-out. I swore I would never take up running until pigs sprouted wings and flew. Well, I haven’t seen that yet, but given the way I’m porking out, don’t be surprised if you see me jogging down the street despite my oath.

I wonder if I can rig a pair of wings to the back of a pink hoodie?

. . . . . . mid

GET A ^ LIFE at MAD Goddess

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