Thursday, September 27, 2007
RACING MOTHER NATURE
They say you can’t fool Mother Nature.
You can’t please her either, apparently. I have been in direct combat with the mighty matriarch for nearly three months and she is ruthless! Even bad parents let the kids win once and a while.
Two and a half years ago, the big mama started messing with me. She started poking at me a bit by changing the way my eyes focused. An eye exam early that year scored me 20/20 and I smugly thought I escaped the “old eye” thing my peers in their 40’s complained about; the thing that causes them to hold books a yard from their face or whip out little spectacles muttering about not being able to see a thing.
On my 44th birthday, I settled by the pool with a book and realized I could not read the print on the back cover. Glancing first over both shoulders, I slowly moved the book farther from me, inch at a time until POOF; I could read it! Damn it! I had not dodged the bullet after all.
It was right around that time that she started really pushing me. Little by little, my bathroom scale crept upward, indicating that I inadvertently found an extra pound or two; Water weight probably. No problem. I knew exactly how to handle the crisis. I simply needed to return to the way of eating that allowed me to be the thinnest I'd ever been after my third child was born. High protein, low carbs and I'd knock off ten pounds in a week.
I put the tried and true plan into action and the scale lowered, then bounced up then lowered until it resembled the wavering of the needle on a roulette wheel, settling of course on the higher number. Mother Nature, it seems, had changed the rules.
The slow and steady weight gain continued over two years; up a little, level off, up a little, level off, landing me at a number that I am sure I weighed at full term sixteen years ago, while carrying an extra human in my body.
Three months ago, I declared war. Stricter diet, tape up my bad knee and hit the pavement; two miles a day, rain or shine. Surely I would find success by raising my metabolism with exercise. On the third day, I hopped on the scale feeling healthy and driven and…nothing. In fact, I was up two pounds. Water weight probably. I would not give up. In spite of knee pain and swelling, I worked on my walking; long stride, arm pumping, deep breathing 15 minute miles. At the end of the first week, I hopped eagerly onto the scale and…nothing. I continued my efforts for a month with no progress.
“Perhaps,” my own mother offered in an attempt to comfort me, “You’re just getting your 'grown-up' body.” She is, by the grace of God, still alive and my determination fueled. I upped the walk to three miles, 45 minutes, to no avail. Furious with the results, I decided perhaps I just needed a little boost. I broke down and purchased the latest over-the-counter diet pills; the ones that don’t let fat be absorbed by your intestines.
“No Cheating!” Mother Nature insisted, after three days of stomach cramping and making sure not to wander more than 10 feet from the bathroom. “Play by the rules.” She chided as she slapped three more pounds to the scale.
It was time to put on the boxing gloves. Four miles, one hour, every day. After three weeks at four miles, I hopped on the scale to find…what’s this? Three quarters of a pound? Maybe seven eighths even? Oh hell, round it up and take the credit… I lost a pound! It was only a drop in the bucket but a start that renewed my determination. I scrambled into my knee brace and slipped on my pants, ready to push it to five miles!
My husband walked by the bathroom and paused, taking in my topless attire and then said “Honey, I’m really impressed by what you are doing.” His face softened and he said in earnest, “I can tell you’re losing weight, too, because your right boob is smaller.”
By the grace of God and a will power I did not know I possessed, he too, is still alive, although deeply examining the error of his ways. Once satisfied that I had sufficiently chastised his stupidity, I sat with the realization that the only perk enjoyed from gaining weight, moving from an A cup to a B, was being taken back. This is the reward for my efforts? This is the breakthrough I was waiting for? The only good that has come of all this work is that I have managed to shrink one boob? Take the boobs back and leave me the rest? What good are buns of steel if they are covered in padding?
I laced up my sneakers with a vengeance. Mother Nature had upped the ante and I refuse to lose this race. Five miles here I come; see you at the finish line Mama.