Summer 2: A Conversation with My (Thin) Body (July 2017)
After a serious conversation with my body, we arrived at an agreement:
I promised not to diss it for not losing weight on my timetable, and it assured me that it would eventually ditch that last five pounds, given some not-too-onerous conditions.
The main condition: “Stop abusing me!”
I hung my head in shame – it’s true. I haven’t been very kind to my poor beleaguered corporeal shell; I have spent a lifetime bingeing on junk food, addicting it to saturated fat and sugar, and not eating enough of the good stuff, like lean protein, fruit, and green veggies.
Still, I wanted to blame the victim.
ME: (whining): If only you would actually meet my goal weight, instead of hanging onto that last five pounds, I’d probably treat you better.
BODY: You keep moving the goal post. First, you said we would wrap things up at 135, then you said you’d be happy at 130, and now that we have worked so hard getting to 130, you want to lose five more pounds?
What’s a body supposed to do?
Give me some direction here. I’m confused!
ME: I feel pretty good at 130, but my skinny clothes don’t fit properly: when they fit in the butt, the waist is too tight; when they fit in the waist, the butt is too baggy.
BODY: Just move me more, and get cracking on those physical therapy exercises that Medicare paid to have you learn.
ME: I’m already walking you at least three miles a day...
BODY: And thank you for that. We have enjoyed some great times together on the pavement, haven’t we?
ME: You mean like dodging that mean little butterscotch dog, whose owner refuses to leash, that bit my jean leg and still continues to chase me, even when I try avoiding him by crossing the street?
BODY: Get some pepper spray, already.
ME: I can see that not ending well for us. Besides, pepper spray can’t change the 19-degree weather, torrential rain, blistering heat, stultifying humidity, and God knows what other atrocity Mother Nature might have in store.
BODY: You have a treadmill. Use it.
ME: Easy for you to say. Do you not remember that cracked vertebra that sent us to the emergency room?
BODY: Well, that was just stupid. You were not practicing safe treadmilling.
ME: I THOUGHT IT WAS PAUSED!
BODY: No need to yell. I can hear you. Thinking that it was paused and it actually being paused are two different animals. My point: you weren’t paying attention, and we paid the price.
ME: I hate that dreadmill.
BODY: It’s just a stupid machine.
ME: It’s out to get me…
BODY: It’s a hunk of metal. It does not feel, it certainly does not hate. It simply does not care. It just is. It’s amoral.
ME: You let me step onto that treadmill, and you knew it was paused.
BODY: So now it’s my fault?
ME: We’re supposed be in this together.
BODY: You know better. You’re the one with free will. I just obey your impulses, no matter how vulgar. I’m just along for the ride.
ME: A little warning now and then would be nice.
BODY: (Guffaws.) It doesn’t work that way. You can be such a dingbat at times…
ME: (Whining.) Not fair!
BODY: Now you’re deflecting, but adversities build character, so suck it up, buttercup.
ME: Easy for you to say – you just go along for the ride.
BODY: Ha! If not for me, you wouldn’t be able to move at all. Who puts one leg in front of the other and keeps you from stumbling over sidewalk cracks – well most of the time…
ME: (Snicker) What about that time I tripped and nearly fell on my ass, right in the middle of a busy street?
BODY: I caught you, didn’t I?
ME: Well, yes, but it scared the shit out of me. I was just two seconds away from a broken bone. You know how dangerous that is for a senior citizen with Osteoporosis.
BODY: If you had been drinking your milk and eating calcium-rich foods, you wouldn’t have this problem.
ME: Now you’re the food police? You know how much I hate milk…
BODY: Meh, meh, meh. It’s all about you. What about my needs?
ME: Good point. But I’m trying hard to get my calcium and Vitamin D-3, even though I have to choke down those horse pills.
BODY: What about that prescribed Boniva you refuse to take?
ME: I can’t bear the thought of swallowing that humongous elephant pill! It looks like a suppository!
BODY: It’s only once a month!
ME: Have you seen that long list of side effects? Upset stomach and loss of teeth? You know I have a dainty stomach and terrible teeth.
BODY: You need to have a conversation with our doctor.
ME: I’d rather have injections!
BODY: But first you need to talk to the good doc; she’s not a mind reader.
ME: Okay, Okay.
BODY: Yeah, you talk the good talk, but I know you. You’ll procrastinate until you’re up against the wall.
ME: I promise. I’ll get around to it.
BODY: We’ll see.
ME: So. What about that last five pounds?
BODY: What of it? Aren’t we thin enough now?
ME: I explained my reasoning already. Did you not listen?
BODY: Okay. I can appreciate your desire for further thinness, but, for God’s sake, perspective! I need to be fed and hydrated properly.
ME: I’m doing my best. You think it’s easy choking down a half gallon of water every day?
BODY: I’m loving it.
ME: I’m glad, so, at the very least, could you please help me shed that last five pounds?
BODY: (Sighs.) If I work with you here, do you promise this will be the end of it?
ME: (Jumping up and down.) I promise!
BODY: (Pauses.) We are probably thin enough, but against my better judgment, I’ll work with you, provided some conditions are met.
ME: Such as?
BODY: I’ll get to that in a minute, but keep in mind: we’re no longer spring chickens.
We’ve already lost 66 pounds in just a year.
ME: It seems like forever.
BODY: Do you understand what kind of toll our fast weight loss has taken on us? Our skin isn’t as elastic as it once was, boobs that once stood at attention now sag to our belly button. We have arm wings, belly roll, and turkey wattle. And don’t forget the wrinkles, even on our legs.
ME: I know, I know…
BODY: Now here’s my terms.
1. You must never starve us: in order to lose weight, you have to eat. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true; if you skip meals and even try fasting, our body will go into starvation mode and hang onto every pound and then some. If you fall for that oldest trick, I’ll pack five pounds on us so fast the first time you go on a binge, and you will binge if you pull that old starvation nonsense. You have a 30-point daily allotment. Use it.
2. If you do binge, and it is likely you will – we all have our weak moments – you will pick yourself up right away and reboot. We will experience a temporary gain, but if you get right back on track, we will shed it right away.
3. You must feed us nutrient-rich foods, using all your daily SmartPoints for lean proteins, good carbs, nuts and seeds, and high fiber foods. Eat plenty of 0-point green veggies and fruits. If you must eat junk food, use your exercise or weekly points, but sparingly – you know the drill, especially how processed sugar screws up our insulin levels.
4. You must keep up our exercises, including the ones for your condition but no over-exercising – that does us no good and just wears out our old bones.
5. You must continue our prescribed water intake – and you know why, no need to over-explain…
6. Make sure we get our proper sleep. I do my best weight loss/weight control work when we are asleep.
7. Continue taking our Calcium and Vitamin D-3. And talk to the doctor about your prescribed medicine.
8. Speaking of the doctor: if you experience a serious medical problem, you must call her immediately. Remember how our inflamed and infected gallbladder nearly killed us? I can’t work with you if we are not well.
9. You’ll like this one: you must allow some cheat foods for special occasions – Thanksgiving, Christmas, special events. It’s important for our psychological health, breaking bread with our loved ones. But this is not a license to binge.
10. Start looking for non-scale victories, such as acquiring a new rock specimen, going somewhere fun, or meeting up with someone special – I know not to suggest the dreaded clothes shopping.
11. But curb that specimen habit a bit – our house looks like a grotto. Overall, work on that budding hoarding problem…I believe “stuff” might be related to weight gain – watch that Dumpster diving and yard saleing.
12. Finally, for these last five pounds, you must accept a slow weight loss…
BODY: Hear me out. I need some time to help build up our muscles and tighten our skin, which means an occasional plateau or even a temporary weight gain…
ME: NOT FAIR!
BODY: Need I remind you that lean muscle weighs more than fat? That we can look and feel better at a higher weight?
ME: I knew that. But why can’t we get skin tightening surgery to help with the flab?
BODY: You know better. Medicare won’t pay for it. Besides, is the risk worth the benefit?
ME: (Pauses. Thinking mode.) Probably not, but…
BODY: Your excess skin is minimal. If you stick with our agreement, some of that will tighten up, and what doesn’t will just be a part of our reality.
In the end, you must decide if the number on the scale is more important than a well-nourished and a healthy body.
ME: Good point. Still…
BODY: I will work with you on the number, but never at the expense of our well-being. It will take time.
And I will take care of us to the extent that I am able, given that, ultimately, no one gets out of this existence alive…
So that’s how we have come to our agreement.
It may seem a lot of conditions for our last lousy five pounds, but my body has the bad habit of being right-on about our overall good health and well-being.
We signed on the dotted line.
Now we continue our journey together, travailing both smooth and bumpy roads.