One of the greatest ironies in life is that as we age, slow down and grow a bit weary, we must exercise more and eat less to stay trim. Our brains want us to lie on the couch, snack and watch cooking shows; our bodies need us to grab a carrot stick and get moving.
I remember my college days, when a thinner me would eat a giant bagel for breakfast, anything I wanted for lunch, pizza for dinner and complain that the half mile walk from dorm to classroom was just way too taxing. Now a piece of pizza or two is a rare treat. My knees hurt, my hips creak, yet I work out 3-4 times a week, lift weights and walk… and walk. Salad, which used to be a side dish, is now often my supper. I am two to three sizes bigger (last time I checked) than my lazy college self.
Most of my sisters of age are in the same situation. We try on clothes and try to justify… well, size 10, that’s not too bad for my age. Size 12? That’s not really that far from 10. Size 14, oh, hell no! I won’t let myself go into big girl size! So it’s off to the “women of a certain age” shops, with their billowy, flowy camouflage clothes and made up size charts. Unfortunately, it’s hard to pull off flowy and billowy at five foot four-ish.
But I do have that one friend. We all do. She is in better shape now than in college (and she was in great shape then!). At age 54, she rocks a bikini better than most 20-somethings. I know, I was the woman sitting next to her on the beach, gloriously encased in my one piece granny swimsuit. It would be easy to blame her audacious fitness on good genes, but the fact is girlfriend just works harder and has more self-discipline that almost everyone else I know. She walks miles and miles a day, restricts calories, rations wine (is that really possible?) and eats tilapia and asparagus for dinner almost every night.
Am I envious? Maybe, but not enough to follow her routine. To me, self-indulgence seems like a justified reward for riding the rollercoaster of life this far along without falling off, as well as reaching the far side of menopause with no supplemental hormones or attempted homicides. On the occasions that I do clamp down and get serious about my diet, it makes me crabby. Very crabby. The last time I was in strict restriction mode, I was
yelling at gently calling out suggestions to Hubs when my darling younger son T piped in “Don’t listen to her, it’s just the Weight Watchers talking!” I honestly think it is better for the whole family for me to remain fit but a tad flabby. Elder son consoles me with “Just wait a few years. There is no such thing as a fat old person.” Maybe, but it’s probably because they have all died.
Anyway, said girlfriend dropped by this weekend on one of her long walks to nowhere. She looked good… really good. She always does. I told her she needs to make sure to request an open casket, she is going to make one fine-looking corpse!