Category Archives: Body image

Alphabet Soup Challenge: A is For Aging

I think it’s funny that when we read the word “aging” we picture older people. Maybe you think of your parents who are in their 70’s or 80’s. But really, we are all aging. Babies, kindergartners, 30 somethings. All of us who are alive–we are aging.

What’s the big deal? Even more importantly, what’s the alternative?

This is the alternative

As I age beyond 50, I see many benefits. Sure, there’s the drawback of not being able to as quickly recall names or past events. The drawback of seeing little gray hairs sprouting in my eyebrows and along my hairline. The drawback of more aches and pains and possibly some arthritis.

However, if I knew 20 years ago what I know now about how edging closer to senior citizen status would feel for my spirit, I wouldn’t have dreaded it.

Because I’m 53:

I have a lot of funny stories about mistakes I made when I was younger. You know, the shit I survived.

I am much better at self-care because I have developed more self-respect.

I communicate more directly, as I now know that it’s better in the long run if I ask what may be perceived as a stupid question instead of assuming the answer and acting upon that assumption.

I am less fearful of failure.

I am more accepting of my personal faults.

I am more willing to ask for help; not seeing it any longer as a sign of weakness, but rather an acknowledgment that what I’m trying to achieve is more likely to become reality if I enlist the help of the right people at the right time.

I’m more accepting of my limitations and more comfortable saying “no” or taking a break from an activity that is stressing me out.

Those are some monumental benefits, right? I don’t believe in actively fighting the aging process, you see. I believe in embracing it with the right attitude and keeping in mind what the alternative is.

So, fellow upper-middle-agers: what did I miss? What benefits have you experienced from aging?

***Header image courtesy of https://sixtyandme.com/quotes/

Alphabet Soup Challenge: W is for Weight

I find myself quickly bored when I’m in a group of female friends and the conversation turns to weight. How one is currently doing Keto and another one joined a new gym in an effort to decrease the number on their bathroom scale. One cut out all the carbs and another started that new diet fad a friend introduced them to on Facebook.

They all think they’re too fat. No matter the evidence to the contrary. And I can’t think of a scenario where it was men grouching about how fat they think they are. It’s always us gals.

Guess that’s American society for you.

I find it far more interesting to talk about food. Tried and true recipes, restaurants that serve the best hot bread with melted honey butter. What delicious stuff I can make in my Instant Pot. How Bonnie always made “nut goodie bars” (which I have the recipe for but have never attempted making).

A favorite picture of my mom, Bonnie, happily cooking in the kitchen of her and Dad’s RV

Not that I don’t care about my weight. I most certainly do. Right now, I want to lose about 10-15 lbs. I know that when I was at my personal goal weight (150), I felt better. I had more energy. I felt more in control of my body, because I was feeding it much better. Some of the pants I started buying were actually a size 10, which blew my mind.

This is how far I got in my post about weight. Between then and now, I saw something on Facebook that made me think twice about where I was heading with this one.

I searched and searched for this meme, as I couldn’t recall which of my Facebook friends had posted it. I never did find it.

Let me do my best at painting a picture of it for you: it featured an approximately 80 year old woman in a bikini. She had a smile plastered on her face. Her body showcased jiggly and wrinkled skin (not unlike the jiggly belly I myself sport). The text on this meme said something to the effect of how we women ought to appreciate our bodies for what they can do as opposed to how we think others think they look. To understand that what makes us attractive to others is not our physical appearance, but our souls. Our loving, kind, creative spirits. That our bodies are not “us”. Not our essences.

This is what I need to internalize. Because intellectually I know it’s healthier than continuing to let my thoughts about how overweight I am take up space in my psyche.

Header image courtesy of https://www.randoxtestingservices.com/alcohol-drugs-affect-changes-body-weight/

Random Ramblings

Just a few, unrelated and utterly irrelevant thoughts I have had recently….

I’m kind of a sucker for those sites that post decadent dessert recipes on Facebook. It infuriates me, however, when “Easy” is in the title, however. Thing is, if I’m going to make and then of course consume said dessert, it is not in my belly fat’s best interest for it to be “easy” to make. The recipe should include ingredients you have to work for, like a specific kind of berry only found on the top of the Rocky Mountains. Or honey that has to be tapped from a specific maple tree located deep in the forest. Or corn meal that you have to grind yourself.

I might want to grow my hair out and see how long it can get. This notion was inspired by seeing Megan Mullally’s beautiful hair while watching Summer of 69, the big hearted and smartly hilarious comedy show she and her husband Nick Offerman created. Also, she played the ukulele during the show so now I want to do that too.

I love Pinterest but recognize that it can be a black hole. Or like the kettle corn I can’t seem to get enough of, despite feeling sick to my stomach and hyped up at the same time. Or like when my cousin and I, as kids,  would spend hours upon hours gazing through the JC Penney Christmas catalog with calculators in hand, pretend shopping for things we wanted to buy.

Hubs recently shared that he had to “drain the lizard”. As in, he had to pee. Use the lavatory (wasn’t that weird how the bathrooms in school were called this back in the day? Such a weird, unused word today). Hubs told me this was one of his favorite euphemisms. I prefer when he tells me (seriously, even in public) that he has to “go potty”. Weird, right? But I find it endearing. It reminds me that he was once the daddy to our no longer little spawn, and our charming 3 year old grandson. The daddy and “Papa” who said/says “make sure to go potty before you get in the car” and “do you need me to take you to go potty now?”

One goal I have in life is to be able to sing through the entirety of  R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World”. While undoubtedly frenetically paced, this is a classic song, amiright?And once I’ve accomplished that goal, I should easily be able to get work as an auctioneer. Maybe I could add that to the list of possibilities for my job search.

 

About my belly weight

While I am not considered obese by any standards I am aware of, I’ve got a spare tire around my middle. It ain’t pretty. I could blame the two pregnancies I endured but that would not be completely accurate never mind fair. Lack of regular exercise and my love of craft beer and sweet treats are also to blame. I’ve grown to hate the expression “it is what it is”,  but in this case it’s true. While I attempt to shrink my spare tire by doing 50 sit ups each morning, getting a walk in every day, and eating healthy 88.8% of the time, I suspect that the chance  this belly fat will stay put is closer to 100%. The catch 22 is that I prefer wearing flowy, bohemian type tops for their style and comfort. However, to some who are not fashion minded, they may appear to be maternity tops.

It’s a really good thing that I no longer take myself too seriously, because it allows me to share the following stories about said belly fat.

So a few years back while working as a social worker, I was in the home of one of my clients for a visit. His (pudgy) wife was in attendance as well. After I seated myself, this wife comments that she “didn’t know I was expecting”. Awkward moment! I sat in shock and horror, and after sucking my gut in as best I could, I mumbled something to the effect of “no I am not expecting, I’m just fat”. Of course we all know that hindsight is 20/20, but…maybe I should have retorted in an innocent tone of voice “Expecting what?” At which point I presume she would have said “a baby” to which I could have replied “Why do you think I would be expecting a baby”, hence putting her on the spot so she could tell me I looked fat that day. I then could have pointed out that she in fact had a good 150 lbs on me. However, I was a professional and was/am a Christian so it’s likely best that I did not respond in this way.

Then there was the time that Hubs and I were walking on a lovely trail in the town we lived in in Wisconsin, when we walked past an older, scrawny looking man who was accompanied by what I can only assume was his wife and daughter (both overweight). After (I kid you not) we passed by them going the opposite direction, I hear this man’s voice saying “Excuse me ma’am? Are you expecting?” Again I maybe should have replied “Expecting what?” but I just turned around in shock and said “no” to which he responded “Well you look it”. I give myself credit for not immediately charging at him with raised fists, hollering something about his fat wife and daughter. Hubs thought it was hilarious. Fucker.

The most recent occasion in which I was suspected of being “with child” came more recently, during my weekly volunteer gig at a nearby food bank. I seated this middle aged hispanic woman and her husband in an office to begin the client intake process. As I sat down, the woman asked me “Is this your first?”. I was completely caught off guard yet again. For a second, as I am still a relatively new volunteer in this setting, I assumed she meant “first client”, but for clarification I responded “First client? No”, but when she said something about how she needed to be wearing her glasses at all times, it dawned on me that she thought I was pregnant. I agreed that she needed to be wearing her glasses and laughed it off. When I told Hubs this story later that day, he of course laughed his head off. Again-fucker. Then he came up with the line I should have responded with, which was “Oh, thank you for thinking I look like I’m still of child-bearing age”. Well, okay, that would have flipped things around right?

So the question I have for myself about my belly weight, is what am I going to do about it? I see several choices here: 1) Liposuction. Fact: out of my price range and I have a low pain tolerance. 2) Discontinue consumption of craft beer and chocolate. Fact: my life would be much less enjoyable if I did this.  Not happening. Life is too short to deprive myself of these pleasures. 3) Wear a corset under my clothes when in public. Fact: That would be so uncomfortable, not to mention itchy. And it probably would not be healthy for my innards. 4) Suck it up and suck it in as best as I can. Especially when in public. And memorize some great comebacks if (or shall I say when) a stranger asks me when the baby is due.

I think I’ll go with choice #4. Life is to be enjoyed, not lived for other’s approval. Especially for how you look.