I knew this day was approaching, the day when I finally had to face the truth. The truth being that I am so very uncomfortable trying to pour my 53 year old body into my cute little denim shorts. Oh, there was a time when it was acceptable to “jump out of an airplane” to fit into my jeans, and then do a series of squats to be able to breathe – but I was young and single and did not possess such a high percentage of body fat. No, it was time – time to fold them up, find a plastic bag to carry them in, and head to Goodwill where hopefully some cute young girl in her 20’s will love them like I did. And look much better in them to boot.
But how could this have happened? And it is such a slow, insidious process, this accumulation of fat in such imaginative places – knees, back, arms (lovingly called “Grandma arms”, even when one is not a Grandma) and of course the ever popular midsection bulges that we so preciously call “love handles”. I thought I had it all under control! Since moving to Portland I have started eating much healthier. I cut out soft drinks and only drink water, and I haven’t eaten ground beef for what must be years now, sticking to mostly fish or chicken. And with the great farmers markets here, my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables has increased considerably. And talk about exercise – I sold my car, for crying out loud! That means I walk just about everywhere, only taking public transportation if absolutely necessary. So what gives?
The answer is due to three important factors – I am a woman, in my 50’s, and in the throes of menopause. That is the exact combination needed to slow one’s metabolism to a grinding halt. Yes, maybe I could become a vegan, like so many Portlanders are. But I will not give up my dairy products, in lieu of some kind of fake milk or cheese – my Midwestern roots will not hear of it! As it is I feel like my caloric intake some days is only in the triple digits, low enough to keep the weight off, one would think. And I refuse to become a prisoner to some overly exhausting exercise routine, all in the name of fashion.
No, I am happy and healthy and damn it, I think I look pretty good! So what if I have some extra rolls of fat in places that it wasn’t 30 years ago? I want to be able to dress fun and feel good about my appearance, but I am in a new era in my life, one where I don’t want to be one of those women that can’t glide gracefully into the aging process. We place too much emphasis in our society on appearance, especially for women. I have decided to place my emphasis now on how I feel; glowing with health and radiating joy.