Every January I faithfully go for my annual physical, and every January I leave my doctors office with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s always the same routine. She sends me for blood work, pokes and prods my parts, (I call it the “annual grope n squeeze”) takes my blood pressure, etc, and pronounces me fit as a fiddle. (truth told, I’m always a little leery of my bloodwork results…my increasingly steady diet of red wine is bound to show up one day)
Two years ago I mentioned my knees were bothering me and after x-rays she advised I was showing signs of arthritis. Years of walking and hiking kept my muscles tone but had caused my cartilage to erode. No fix for it – this is the kind of aging arthritis everyone gets, eventually. She did however suggest I lose 10 pounds to take the pressure off my knees (ok, yes, I had put on a few pounds, but it’s not like I wasn’t careful. As soon as I noticed my clothes were tighter I immediately switched from Vermouth to red wine)
“Keep walking”, she said, “ to keep the muscles strong, but take off the extra pounds to take the pressure off your joints”. (did you know that every extra pound you carry adds 6 pounds of pressure to your joints?) I had a year to get myself back in shape, and I left her office determined to do just that.
I kept up with the walking and hiking and ramped up my veggie and fruit intake, cutting back on starches and carbs (ok, not really) Never having issues with weight before I thought I could overcome this with time and prayer (?) I did consciously add fruits to my snack diet instead of cookies or chips but I purposely looked for the biggest fruit I could find (cause if I can only have 1 piece of fruit you can bet it’s gonna be a whopper!) Apples the size of my head (but only one) and every now and then I’d find bananas the size of baseball bats (score!). Giving my diet minimal effort, I cautiously strolled into my next years physical hoping she wouldn’t remember the last, cause not only did I not lose the ten pounds she recommended, I’d gained five. (stupid fruit)
She looked at all the stats, no change in my bloodwork but “Your weight is up. Did we discuss that last year?” she asks. I plaster a puzzled look on my face and innocently reply, “Why no, I can’t recall any issues last year. Should I be worried?” She assures me there are no concerns but cautions me against continuing to gain weight. (it’s not like I do it on purpose)
Rats, I leave the office again determined to make changes (could it be the red wine? Maybe vodka would be kinder from a caloric intake?) I whine to my husband later that day and he gently suggests that perhaps my problem is portion sizes. After giving him a sound tongue-lashing for his impertinence, I head in to the kitchen to make dinner. My mood is somewhat lighter while I cook, (thanks to the red wine) so by the time we sit down to eat I’m feeling pretty good. Then I look at our plates. Sweet Mother of Mary, how many people are dining here tonight? Our plates each consist of a chicken breast (Jesus, how big was that buzzard anyway?) …….a big chicken breast! Nestled next to the giant breast is a mound of mashed potatoes and a good handful of green beans and in case we didn’t get enough veggies, we each have a soup size bowl of salad (veggies are important, right?) Houston, we have a problem.
I woke up this morning and vowed to implement changes. I squeezed myself into my spandex workout wear (it was like stuffing sausage into casing) and met up with a friend who’s an avid hiker and criminally slender. (bitch) She makes the thermoses of green tea and picks the hiking trail. I make the tuna sandwiches – that’s our deal, and in the past I made big tuna sandwiches. I’d take the biggest slices from the centre of a loaf of rye bread so we each got a sandwich that spanned a good 6-8 inches. (we’re hiking for God’s sake, we need sustenance) Today I took the smaller slices, from the ends of the loaf, and she thought it was great (personally, I thought it was an hors d’oeurves) She delicately gnawed away at her sandwich over a 20 minute period. I, on the other hand, scarfed down my sandwich in 90 seconds and then scanned the area for any potentially edible berry bushes. (who survives this diet stuff?) Eventually we drifted into conversation that distracted me from my starvation and much to my surprise, I found myself less and less focused on my appetite. In fact, I felt great.
As I write this, I proudly acknowledge that I survived day 1 of yet another, diet. I’m bbqing lean pork with grilled veggies and a salad…..a small salad, I swear. AND, I’m testing that vodka theory as I cook! (surely there’s fewer calories in vodka than red wine?)
I just hope it doesn’t conflict with the chocolate peanut butter ice cream we’re having for dessert…………!