There’s a guy at my gym that I know from when our children were in elementary school. We worked on a bunch of fundraisers together over the years. He’s lost a lot of weight and when our paths cross at the gym, he ignores me. I imagine a thought bubble over his head that reads, “I’ve lost a lot of weight so I don’t recognize you anymore.”
Why does his weight loss aggravate my poor self-esteem?
At a party a few years back, a male friend said, “I’m glad to see you’re taking care of yourself. You look good.” I did a quick mental inventory of what I was wearing and tried to remember if I was having a good hair day. I hadn’t discovered the gym at that point, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t taking care of myself.
His comment niggled at me as I began to notice that many women of a certain age are decidedly heavy. However, since I wasn’t particularly taking care of myself, I decided that he had it backwards; they must be actively letting themselves go.
I’ve always been self-conscious about my weight; my sisters are skinny. But when I look at pictures of a younger me I don’t see an overweight girl, or teenager, or adult. I see a regular-sized person. And despite being obsessed with whether or not I was overweight, it wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I was bothered enough to embark on my one, and to-date only, dedicated life-style changing diet. I lost a lot of weight and managed to keep it off for almost ten years. And then it began to creep back.
The weight gain was slow, but steady. I started to worry. Was I finally letting myself go? How could that be? If anything, I had just started to take care of myself! I went to the gym at work an average of four days a week. I ate Weight Watchers meals for lunch. When I was laid off in 2009 the first thing I did was join my local gym. I was not going to let unemployment derail my exercise regime. I kept exercising and the weight kept creeping up.
Then came the hot flashes and I finally understood ─ menopause; the time when women’s bodies begin betraying us by messing with things we hold dear, like our internal thermostat. Without enough estrogen, the hair we’ve cherished gets thinner and hairs we don’t want start sprouting where they do us no good. Our emotions fly all over the place. And worst of all, our metabolism slows down. All of a sudden, we need to eat less and exercise more, just to stay even.
So here’s the news flash: women don’t let themselves go. While we’re happily enjoying midlife, the universe changes the rules. I’m told that many women find the post-menopausal stage of their lives fabulous. I hope that proves to be the case. Meanwhile, next time I see that ex-fatty in the gym and he ignores me, I might just punch him in the nose.
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Estrogen deficiency? Unsightly hairs? How totally male-ish is that? Here’s the good news, Jubby. Women actually DO make testosterone. Changes in the T to E ratio can be hairy. They can also be extremely sexy – the ratios not the hairs. Just wait till you feel what it’s like to be a tomcat most of your life. Besides fun. Take advantage of the T and really push yourself in the gym – weight training and all that other stuff. You will NOT bulk up – slim down and get a little firmer is more likely and, as noted – quite sexy. And it will make your next 40 or 50 years so much safer (no osteoporosis, falls, hippiness etc.) and happier.
Luke (a/k/a SomebodyThrowABrickAtThatDamnTomcat)
You make it sound very enticing! Tomorrow at the gym I add some new machines!
Ha! She took the bait and I get to give EvenMoreUnsolicitedAdvice. Yay that. So, listen up Chudy. You really only need 1 machine – the leg press. Preferably the dead weight one that you have to load with those stupid plates – but that’s part of the magic. There’s even a role for WhatsHisName but that comes later. The magic comes from working the largest muscles in your body. Yes, this will tighten up that butt, yes it will trim and smooth the muscles on your stubby legs AND if you really push it, i.e. the damn weights are so heavy you can only press them 1-3 times – real magic starts. Hmm. This comment will get to long if I fully explain. Sigh. Maybe I’ll put it on a website. For now, do this: at the gym, jump into the air. That’s pressing your body weight so don’t start on the machine at anything less than 150% of body weight. I guarantee you can do at least 2x your body weight. And we are going higher. Before the TBI crap, I was at 8x body weight and my parts got firmer but not noticeably bigger. And, magic time, arms, belly, all the other parts also improved big time. Working glutes, quads etc. stimulate production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and THAT is seriously good Juju for all your parts – and your brain. True fact.
p.s.enticing? pumping iron may be a lot of things but only the results are enticing.
Lesson learned, I shouldn’t comment on your comments.
Whenever I hear the expression “letting oneself go” I think of a hilarious c&w song about after a man dumped her, the singer “let myself go…” on vacation, to movies he didn’t like, out to eat, etc. Anyone who looks at a fabulous female and says something about “let yourself go” I would think, that person can let him/herself go to hell. Health is important, yes, but the body imagery that we have bought into thanks to the advertising industry, that is not healthy.