In kindergarten, I weighed 47 pounds. I remember this distinctly, because I was the lightest one in my class and I’d already absorbed our culture’s core value: skinny = good. Unfortunately, soon after that I began to absorb other things, like pizza, French fries and ice cream. I wasn’t 47 pounds for very long.
Actually, my battle with the bulge started very early. As an infant, my cheeks were so fat that they pushed my lower lashes into my eyeballs; I required some sort of doctoring for that, I gather. A baby dumpling is adorable; an adolescent dumplarge, not so much.
Over the subsequent five decades, my girth has fluctuated – never really achieving svelte, but always just this side of genuinely obese. Since I turned 50 last October, things have changed. With the onset of perimenopause, my always-sluggish metabolism seems to have ground to a halt.
It’s slower than the giant Galapagos tortoise, which heaves its considerable bulk at a top speed of .2 mph. It’s slower than the South American sloth, a creature whose very name means “reluctance to make an effort.” It’s slower than the saguaro cactus, which musters a paltry one inch of growth in its first 10 years.
I’ve read that in subarctic regions there is a species of frog that occasionally freezes solid. It can stay that way for years, in suspended animation, until a thaw revives it.
My metabolism is slower than that amphibian’s.
The result of this near-comatose condition is that my weight has ballooned exponentially (at least something about me moves fast). Now, let me stop you before you launch into advice for reversing this trend. I know: eat less and move more.
Okay, but what are my OTHER options?
Back in January, I blogged about my new fitness regime, which consisted of walking briskly through a rather poorly animated Wii environment called “Rhythm Island.” Over the course of about three months, I faithfully strapped on the controller and numchuck and wandered through this cartoon world in time to up-tempo music. It was a slightly creepy routine, as this artificial landscape reminded me uncomfortably of the 1960s show, “The Prisoner,” in which Patrick McGoohan found himself hostage on a mysterious island, surrounded by strange people and balloon creatures. A feature of Rhythm Island was a silent population of humanoid creatures who seemingly spend their entire lives staring blankly out to sea, waving their arms randomly in response to nothing I could identify, and following my virtual progress through unblinking, pupil-less eyes.
Apparently, exercising while experiencing a low level anxiety and paranoia isn’t effective, because although my perky cartoon coach Dora assured me at the end of each session that I’d walked several miles and burned hundreds of calories, the weight kept piling on. To hell with that. I broke up with Dora in March.
Since then I’ve been working nightly in my garden. Admittedly, picking worms off the rose bushes doesn’t raise one’s heart rate all that much (unless you really don’t like worms). But with the number of times I’ve bent from the waist to pull a weed – approximately 1 million times – I’d expect at least my waist to be trimmer by now. Not so’s you’d notice.
There’s a commercial that runs every night touting some new body sculpting procedure. “Get back the figure you had in one day!” it promises. Okay, but do I get to pick which figure that was? There have been so many …
I’m skeptical of this wonder solution, but perhaps it bears further investigation. In the meantime, I’ve sent away for that home liposuction kit I saw advertised. You just hook it up to your vacuum and away you go – literally.
Pretty sure that will work.