72. A Weighty Revelation

72. A Weighty Revelation

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

A Weighty Revelation

To feel “fit as a fiddle,” you must tone down your middle.

When Bob and I got married 39 years ago, he weighed a good 50 pounds more than I did. I’d been self-conscious for years, being one of the tallest in my class at 5’9”. . . taller than many of the boys in my high school. That was a hard insecurity to shake. To realize that Bob was “bigger” than I was weight-wise was a welcome boost for my self-esteem.

I enthusiastically welcomed my added pounds and beach-ball contours when I became pregnant with our children, Jennifer and Wade, but managed to stay active enough afterwards to drop those extra pounds and reclaim my original shape. Now that decades have passed, my metabolism has crashed, and our kids have grown and left us with an empty nest; my waistline and the numbers on our scales seem to be growing uncontrollably.

I used to try dieting, but Jen and Wade told me to eat because I was too grouchy. I’ve half-heartedly tried to eat more healthily, yet realize eating healthy meals isn’t enough. I still find myself sneaking the sweets I crave—and I know my body deserves better. Those calories are not only fattening, they’re dangerous to my health. My brain knows this, but my mouth and taste buds betray me when I least expect it. . . and I’m disappointed in my lack of self-discipline.

I used to run for exercise until my joints gave out. I powerwalk and work out at the gym now, but since my hips and waist stubbornly stay the same, perhaps that’s not enough.

Some try to tell us not to worry about the actual size of clothes we wear. . . what matters is for our clothing to fit well. Reluctantly, I recently followed that advice and swallowed my pride as I purchased a size of jeans I swore I’d never buy. I needed some “well-fitting” jeans to take on a weekend trip with Bob. Yes, the size was hard to accept, but they were made with “stretch” denim, and the labels said they would make my tummy “seem slimmer.” That dulled my ego’s pain a little.

I hoped these were the right choice of jeans, because I wanted to look and feel my best on this romantic getaway to a picturesque southern New Mexico lodge Bob had heard about. The inn was lovely and the room we stayed in was quaint, albeit very tiny. That meant the little dresser only had a couple of small drawers and there was no closet.

Because of the lack of space, I just folded my new jeans and placed them on a shelf. I planned to wear them the next morning on a scenic drive and hike which Bob was anxious to share with me.

When I came out of the diminutive bathroom, drying off from my shower, I found Bob standing in front of the mirror with a puzzled look. . . staring at the pants he’d just zipped up. “What’s wrong with these jeans? The pockets are in the wrong place and the legs don’t feel right.”

“No!” I gasped in horror. “I laid your jeans out on the chair. You’re wearing mine!” Bob just laughed, but I was devastated. After 39 years of marriage, Bob put on the wrong pants and they fit him.

I tried to tell myself the reason they fit was because of the stretchy denim, but knew in my breaking heart that I could no longer deny it. I’m as big around the middle now as Bob is. I don’t know how much Bob actually weighs, but even though he still weighs more than I do, I’m sad to admit that my body’s shape has morphed into his twin.

This wrong-pants revelation has given me a new determination and focus to get my act together.

I was blessed with good health and a slim body in my youth, and I became lazy. I’m grateful to be older now, but with that gift, I need to take more responsibility. I know I can do this. I deserve it.

I can no longer be lazy and just eat whatever. . . whenever, because I want to live a long, happy life with my husband and dear family. Sweets and fatty foods must be cut out, and as long as I’m physically able, I want to push myself harder at the gym and take more frequent walks. I have no desire to be the size I was at our wedding, but I do need to take better care of myself.

If I can firm up and slim down at least enough that Bob can never wear my jeans again, I’ll be thrilled. . . yet I know that shouldn’t be my only reason. They say what’s really important is to be healthy, but my new determination to try harder makes me feel better about myself. That’s important too. Bob has always loved and supported me, but even after being married 39 years, I realize some of my insecurities still linger. By no longer being lazy and taking better care of myself, I will grow as a person. That’s much better than growing around my middle! Bob may have picked the wrong pants, but I know now more than ever that he picked the right woman.

~Lynne S. Albers

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