Another year has passed, another year begun. The Christmas lights have come down. The tree is gone. All the holiday decorations have been stowed away, except for that Santa Claus soap dispenser in the bathroom that still has some Soft Soap left in it. The time has come again. The time to keep the resolutions we made a week ago, written on that scrap of paper we wish we’d misplaced, but which keeps turning up whenever we’re searching for something else.
I made a few resolutions for 2013. Not that I wanted to, or anything. I hate setting myself up for failure. But it seemed like a good idea at the time (“the time” being when I was drunk on holiday eggnog). I resolved to spend more quality time with my children, who seem to be growing up far too fast. I resolved to finish my third novel, which has been giving me agita, and which I happily set aside whilst making merry and baking myself into a coma. I resolved to be more organized with my paperwork and possessions (read: crap). And finally, I resolved to take better care of my body, this organism that has been a friend and nemesis to me, for better and for worse, for the past forty-five years.
Okay, so resolutions one through three seem pretty simple and straightforward, fairly easy to achieve if I put my mind to it. But the last—the body thing—is a different story. I am an average person in the health department. I take vitamins sporadically…you know, when I remember to. I work out regularly—logging several hours a week on the treadmill. I make sure to have plenty of veggies and lean proteins. But I also like my sweets. And my carbs. And my beer.
Over the course of my life, I have probably lost and gained hundreds of pounds. It used to be so easy. I’d say, “Okay, Janis. Get with the program.” And I’d starve and work out until I was fitting into a single digit size, smirking smugly at myself in the mirror. But now that I’m in my mid-forties, my body has changed. That thing about menopause making barrel-bellied women—that’s happening to me. And no amount of starvation or jogging or sit-ups is having any effect on my midsection. I trained and ran a half marathon last year, for God’s sake. But the photo of me crossing the finish line reveals not a fit, toned middle-aged chick, but an estrogen-challenged porker who also happens to have enough stamina to run 13.1 miles without stopping (not even to pee, mind you).
Sometimes, I think it might be nice to embrace my inner fattie, let myself go, and start amiably packing on the pounds with all my favorite foods. There are many women who make plus-sizes look great. They have confidence up the yin-yang! They say, “Yeah, I’m fat. And I’m FABULOUS.” Unfortunately, I have never been one of those women. I’m more the kind of woman who pretends to be pregnant, rather than overweight. Lots of forty-somethings are having babies nowadays, so, for the time being, no one questions it. Although this ruse might not work so well when I hit my fifties and sixties…
But what I realize now, aside from the fact that Mother Nature is a cruel bitch, it’s not so much about size for me anymore as it is about feeling good in middle age. I’m a mom, first and foremost. Yes, I want to be attractive. But I’m happily married to a great guy who has seen me carrying around a ten pound baby in my belly and still managed to have sex with me, so he can handle a few generous curves. But I want to be a healthy mom. The kind of mom who plays tag on the front lawn with her kids. Who jumps in the ocean and climbs on a surfboard right alongside them. Who does the three-legged race at the 4th of July picnic without having a coronary. Not the mom sitting on the sidelines stuffing her face with a corn dog and continually pulling her over-sized shirt down to hide her tremendous gut.
So, hell, I just have to keep this resolution. As much as it pains me, I’ll forgo the dessert most of the time—not all the time, because endless days without chocolate are not worth living. I’ll cut out the beer, except on hot summer days. I’ll do my treadmill religiously, so that I can actually tag my kids instead of huffing around the front lawn ineffectually, causing my son to dial 9-1-1. As a mom, this resolution is my duty, my cross to bear, my honor. Okay, maybe not that last one so much.
And if all else fails, if cutting out the sweets and hops doesn’t work, I’ll bribe my husband into paying for a little lipo and a tummy tuck.
Wait a minute! Just hold on a sec. That’s a much better idea! Lipo and a tummy tuck! Much better than starvation and deprivation! Just shove a little vacuum into my navel, set the suction to high, staple up the excess skin. Boom. Done.
Wow. I’m so glad I thought of that! I mean, it’s not like I’m blowing off my resolution. There are many ways to take care of your body, right? Eating healthfully. Exercising regularly. Going to the spa. Doing yoga (gag). Drinking wheat grass juice. Getting lipo and a tummy tuck…Awesome.
Now, where did I put my beer?