Dieter’s Lament by Pam Smith
|Posted by admin under ARTICLES|
It’s taken awhile but I’ve finally accepted the fact that my dainty size 10 is now a thing of the long distant past. I’ve also reached the more humiliating stage where my reaction to something I’d rather not think about, like my weight, is to keep on justifying it. Sure, I’ve gained a size or two – or three, but what’s the big deal? I’ve lived a little, had babies; some rounding out is only to be expected and besides, those few extra pounds aren’t that much of a problem – well, not really.
Alone in my bedroom, however, I need to know for sure if it was my behind I’d overheard some colleagues discussing– the one the bitches were likening to the rear end of a bus!
But now I know my bottom looks like a giant albino orange, I’m really in trouble.
Next I turn side on, hoping for a more flattering perspective. Worse! I look five months pregnant. Where did that big panel of fat down my middle come from? Had the fat fairy come while I was sleeping and deposited it there? How come I hadn’t noticed it before?
It wasn’t that long ago that hubby had spouted cheekily at the dinner table, “My boss saw you when you came into the office today. He thinks you’re a bit of a smasher.”
Squinting back at the cheval, I try to remember the exact date and, as my memory responds, wish I’d left well enough alone.
It was my 39th birthday – I’d spent an indulgent morning in the beauty parlour and couldn’t wait till he got home for hubby’s reaction. So, feeling particularly fabulous, I’d called by to his office to suggest lunch. I’m 44 now so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how long ago that was. What’s worse, it’s the last compliment I can recall – no wonder I remember the date.
Unfortunately my introspection has raised other details from the depth of my subconscious – such as a remembered feeling of smugness.
At the time, several of my friends were blooming into larger fittings after having babies and complaining bitterly. I, however, safe in the knowledge of hereditary slim genes, airily dismissed the fear of it ever happening to me. To my knowledge there wasn’t a plump body in my family.
So what went wrong? How come I’m the guinea pig.
Back to the Cheval. I snarl at the reflected image – I can’t help it, I’m distressed – but nothing changes. Tilting back my head, I squeeze my eyes into narrow slits and concentrate on a spot above my left breast until my entire image moves out of focus. Unfortunately, this has the opposite to desired effect, making my rear appear even bigger than before. With a hiss of disgust my mind quickly returns to the more comforting subject of fatter friends. The skinny ones I prefer not to think about – those who frequent places like – shudder – gymnasiums and sports clubs and somehow manage to maintain ridiculously firm breasts, butts and thighs.
At this point, I decide I am bored with the subject and lunge for my robe, hanging nearby on an old hat stand. Feeling petty and irritated I toss it over the cheval, obliterating all but my feet, the one thing about me that remains the same, year in, year out. But nobody cares about feet. Nobody says, “Oh, darling, what divine feet you have.”
I give an annoyed toss of my Jennifer Anniston shag, long overdue its monthly un-tidy and tell myself that there are thousands with far greater problems than mine and, at least I have good feet, even if nobody notices.
Well, now that I’m thoroughly depressed, I decide cheering up with some retail therapy at the new shopping mall – the one with giant mirrors at every turn, is in order.
I slink back home and drag out the bathroom scales, dust them off (they haven’t been used in a while) and step gingerly on. My plaintive wail is probably heard on the next block.
Finally facing facts, I realise there is no time to lose – something must be done. But wait, I’ve tried every awful diet in existence and I so don’t want to do that again. Besides, if diets worked, I wouldn’t have a problem now. I’m sure that’s right.
Time for a change…
I discounted the thought of another diet, I resolve to try a more professional approach. My very sharp, stick-thin doctor will know what to do.
It’s a while since my last visit and, out comes the stethoscope, followed by the blood pressure monitor and, of course, those hideous scales.
I reluctantly step on and groan in horror as the needle leaps into the stratosphere.
The assurance that the scales weigh heavy is not forthcoming. Instead, my doctor makes a tut-tut sound and whips out a blood form.
I HATE giving blood, even a little bit. I can’t look either – if I do I know I’ll faint.
My heart sinks as I watch her tick, and tick, and tick. It looks like a lot of blood to me – I feel like fainting now, forget later.
The final resort…
Two days later my doctor calls me. I must join a gym – obviously the amount of walking I’m currently doing is not enough – I hadn’t told her I’d added up a month’s walking to come up with the `hour or so’ I hoped she would think was a day’s worth.
She tells me there is nothing wrong with me that exercise and diet won’t fix.
I splutter indignantly that I do exercise – I walk to and from my car several times a day – and I often go without lunch. But she is not impressed and I realize I’ve run out of justifications.
So the next day, I leap out of bed, squeeze into the black lycra bottoms I’d bought and hidden in my wardrobe a few months earlier in case they shamed me into exercising – I said I’d bought them, I didn’t say I planned to use them any time soon and head for the local ladies-only gym. Saying I was terrified would be putting it mildly.
But, Wow! Miracles can happen. Weeks later, everything has changed. Who’d have believed it – well, maybe my husband, judging by the lecherous remarks he’s started making when we are alone.
I feel like a new woman.
Okay, perhaps `new’ is a bit of an exaggeration but certainly those lumps and bumps are beginning to flatten out and I’ve even got the beginnings of what one of the trainers said was a tiny ab – whatever that is – but most importantly, my confidence has gone through the roof.
I FEEL FANTASTIC!
Recently, during a mid-morning workout a girl, striding effortlessly on the treadmill beside me, started talking about what she called her new lifestyle.
In six weeks she had shed seven kilos and was fitter than she’d been in ten years. She was hooked, she said, and I thought of how my own endomorphines were kicking in.
I noddingly agreed, realizing at the same time how very much better I was feeling, not only in myself but about myself. And, amazingly, none of my other activities had suffered, in fact I have far more energy and my family even tells me I’m fun to be around. Whoohoo!! Life is goooood.
Recently, as I was changing to leave after a vigorous morning session at the gym, I drifted into conversation with a woman I hadn’t seen before. It was her first day. Her kids had all left home taking with them, she said, her confidence and self-interest.
That surprised me. She was attractive, well-spoken, and showing little sign of wear.
The hardest thing, she said, was walking in the door to sign up. She had wanted to do it for weeks but was held back by the fear of looking over-age and out-of-place. In amazement, I listened to an account of what she had expected to see on the gymnasium floor. Designer haircuts, fluorescent lycra work-out costumes, full make-up, perfect 10 figures. It was identical to my own original misconception.
Don’t be shy…
When I first started at the gym I was fascinated by one well-built young woman charging away at great speed on the treadmill with not a puff or a bead of perspiration in sight. I spoke to her later and she told me she’d just clocked up her third month. When she first joined she could barely handle six minutes on the bike and ten at a push on the treadmill. Thirty minutes on each was now her daily minimum. She didn’t appear self-conscious about her weight so I could only assume it was less than when she had begun.
Certainly, there are few Super Grans in sight but, speaking for myself as a grandmother, my skin has gained a healthier glow and I am now able to bend over without creaking.
I joined the gym as a middle-aged, overweight, keyboard junkie, entering the perceived realm of the fit and the beautiful with little hope of it working for me and, to my amazement, lost five kilos in my first month and three in the second.
It’s caused other wonders too. No longer do I puff and panic at the sight of a gentle rise in my walking surface and, best of all, choosing health options, I haven’t experienced a hunger pang in weeks.
1. Forget the fad diets. They have nothing to offer but misery and the same old kilos coming and going and upsetting your metabolism on the way. If you want to lose them for good, do it slow and steady; build healthy habits, make a lifestyle of it, otherwise they’ll keep right on coming back and back.
2. If you really want to be free of those unsightly kilos, erase that loathsome word, `DIET,’ from your vocabulary. Call it `Choosing the healthy options,’ or`Creating a new lifestyle,’ or simply `Building a new me.’
3. Personally, I believe a gym and some personal training are essential. Walking is good but it should be in conjunction with some kind of other keeping-fit regime where you get to tone and strengthen your body as well as increase your lung power.
4. It’s your body and it’s the only one you have, so look after it – even a single kilo lost is one you no longer have to lug around with you.
1. Hereditary slim genes are no excuse for having a lazy lifestyle – poor health can affect all shapes and sizes.
2. Got great feet? Wear pretty sandals, they’ll aid your confidence.
3. Fad diets are a short term fix. Change your lifestyle.
4. See your doctor for a check-up before signing up at a gymnasium or keep-fit class.
5. Strength and flexibility often come before noticeable weight loss.
Now, go to it, girl – discover the beautiful real you…!