Hi. My name is Angela.
There. I said it.
I’ve actually known this for a while now. Now I am not saying this because I am fishing for compliments. I am saying this because I am finally coming to grips with it. I’m quite fascinated by this sudden realization, actually, because I’ve never struggled with my weight until now. Now, I am not grotesquely overweight or anything, nor am I considered obese. But I recently entered my weight, height, and age into one of those BMI calculator thingamabobs, and there it was. It very plainly and very clearly, albeit very politely, told me I was chunky and needed to drop a few pounds. Dang.
Like I said, I’ve known that I was a little overweight for a while; more precisely since the birth of my third child. I was thin when I got pregnant with the first three, and lost the weight very quickly and very easily after the first two. And then this funny thing happened to me after the third kid: My body kinda liked the extra padding and invited it along for an extended stay. Then I got pregnant with #4 before I could even drive myself to the gym. And I’ve been carrying that weight around with me ever since.
It was easy for me to have a couple of kids and drop the weight. I was young and in shape when I started having children. Prior to my stint as an Olympic procreator, I was an AFAA certified aerobics instructor who taught 12 classes a week. I’ve run the Peachtree Road Race twice and loved every kilometer of it. But that was four kids ago. And something something pounds ago.
You see, I am actually one of those weirdos that, deep down, really enjoys exercise. I love aerobics, running, hiking, biking, you name it. I’ve just gotten really tired lately, and the idea of adding regular exercise, on top of everything I already do feels impossible. Maybe it’s because I’m taking care of a family of six, and as is typical of moms, I give myself the leftovers.
To make matters even worse, not one single member of my immediate family has more than an ounce of fat on them; which, unfortunately, makes me the “fat one” in the family. My father is a retired Army Ranger who’s idea of a good time is fasting for long periods and running in sub-zero temperatures in the ghettos of downtown Detroit. I’m totally not kidding about that, either. And my brother is a…well, let’s just say he works for the government and he does a bunch a stuff I’m not allowed to talk or write about. Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to piss that dude off.
And both of my little sisters look like supermodels. Seriously. It’s actually quite sickening. In fact, I think I might hate them because of it. Not really. Only slightly. But that’s okay. Neither one of them has any kids. So if and when the day comes that they decide to embark on the journey of motherhood, I will be right there offering my help to both of them as the older, wiser, fatter, sister, and silently laughing at them as their petite little nubile bodies balloon to the size of small freight carriers.
And my mother doesn’t help matters either. I seriously think she’s a size two, and whenever I ask her if she’s hungry and would like something to eat, she responds with something incredibly annoying like, “Oh, no thanks, I’m not hungry. I ate a couple of grapes a few hours ago.” Psssht.
So I’m the stereotypical skinny white girl turned fat, frumpy housewife. Awesome!
I think I’ve been feeling particularly sensitive about all this since my dear friend Holly recently started a brand new photography blog of pictures that she’s taken of her friends throughout the years. She’s a wonderful photographer. And as you might have already guessed, I’m one of those friends. Go ahead and peruse her blog. No, really. I STRONGLY encourage you to look at all her pictures. Several of them are of me. And I ain’t gonna lie…I LOOK GOOOOOOOD. In fact, I’m smoking hot, if I do say so myself. However, I was also 20 years old and childless. I’m now 33 and have four. So the old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be.
What I find particularly hilarious about all this is that this is what I still look like in my head. And then I’ll see a recent photograph that someone has taken of me and think “Dear God, is that really what I look like now?!?!?!?” It’s like my appearance is forever frozen in my mind. So while the version of me in my head is actually better than the real-life version, I am realizing that I have some delusions about my physical appearance. And I’m finally ready to do something about it.
I tend to think of the world in terms of shoulds and should nots. As in, this SHOULD NOT be this way. That SHOULD NEVER have happened. This is what SHOULD have happened. I tend to be a little bit too idealistic and therefore not very realistic at times. I am a tired mom of four who used to never have to worry about her weight. I SHOULD NOT have to make a special effort just to exercise. People in other countries don’t spend hours in the gym, why SHOULD I? Well, here’s the deal: People in other countries don’t consume massive quantities of high fructose corn syrup and processed foods either. We do. This is America. And in America, if you don’t exercise, you’ll get fat. Period.
My friend Erin and I were discussing this not too long ago. She said, and I agree, that there are two types of older people in this world: The kind that exercise and eat well, and those that do not. And they’re either thin and healthy or overweight and unhealthy. When you’re young, you can eat Cheez Whiz and Fried Snickers Bars (hopefully not together) and still look pretty good on the outside. Your bodies are so much more forgiving. But eventually that stuff catches up to you as you get older and manifests in your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar levels, etc. It sucks. But that’s just the way it is.
So, as a family we’re resolving to eat better and to exercise at least 3 days a week. Ren’s actually way ahead of me. He’s been exercising faithfully for about month now. One of the ways we’ve chosen to eat better is to buy locally and organically through Athens Locally Grown, which deserves its own separate blog post all to itself.
So, is it fair that I had to get up at 4:30 this morning to head to the Y in the freezing cold to end my relationship with sedentariness? I personally don’t think so. But I’m realizing that my waistline doesn’t give a crap about fairness, and the longer I continue to gripe and moan about it, my waistline will continue to increase, and then the weight will be even harder to lose. So I’m doing something about it now while I’m feeling inspired. Feel free to pray for me as I embark on this endeavor!