Catch-22

I’m inclined to blame JD for my laziness and sedentary lifestyle. Where’s the 40-something mother of four who rode her bicycle to the grocery store when her car broke down? Who went out dancing with her friends?  Who used a push mower to clean up the yard?  She’s hiding under multiple layers of fat that’s where.  Not that I was ever skinny.  But it was such a treat to find myself able to wear size 14 the summer before I met him!  I know, I know, 14 isn’t all that small by society’s standards.  Well fuck society – I looked damn good in a 14!  It was the first time in my life I can remember feeling good about myself.  And I let it all slip away after meeting JD.

But, if I’m honest with myself, I was predisposed to be slothlike. As a child, as a teen, hell as a young adult it was just easier to do nothing.  Don’t go anywhere or do anything that could result in rejection or humiliation. I learned that reading was safe. Books wouldn’t laugh at me or make fun of me.  Seriously, when your so-called friends invite you to play Follow the Leader specifically so they can follow you, watching your flab bounce and exaggeratedly copying your less than graceful movements while roaring with laughter, how can you be expected to trust anyone?  And why would you want to go outside ever again?

I know they were just kids but I was just a kid too, and at the time had no sort of support or positive influence to counter how they treated me.  We lived with our grandparents then and had no idea where our mother was or if we’d ever see her again.  And yes, that grandfather, the abuser; so yeah, books were my refuge, my solace.

And you know what happens when you read all the time?  Remember this was the 1970s; there were no audio books except for blind people maybe; no Kindles or other e-readers.  So when you read you sat or lay down and held a real life book.  Every spare minute I was reading which meant every spare minute I was sitting or lying down.  Of course I gained weight!  The longer you live that way the easier it gets.  Or perhaps I should say the harder it gets to break out of it.

After JD and I got together our dates consisted mostly of going out to eat – there’s his Jewish heritage coming into play.  He’s fond of saying he was raised around Jews, Italians, etc.  They all loved to eat and every family or neighborhood gathering had food as its focus.  Back then I was raising three girls on a relatively low income and we rarely got to eat out beyond the occasional fast food or Papa Murphy’s pizza.  (I know Papa Murphy’s isn’t “eating out” but it meant I didn’t have to cook so it was the equivalent in my book.)  In any case I lapped up the nice restaurants, buffets and late night dessert runs like a cat addressing a bowl of cream.

In addition, he’d injured his leg badly a few years before and wasn’t up for dancing – my favorite form of exercise back then.  It became easier and easier to sit for long periods.  When we moved to Washington the long dark and dreary winters further drained any desire to get up, get out and do something besides work, eat and sleep!

So nearly 20 years later, I’m not wearing a size 14 and I’m still struggling with how to rekindle a desire to move.  My friend bequeathed her bicycle to me and I’ve ridden it exactly once.  Granted, it still needs to be adjusted for my height and none of the tools we have work on the one last part we need to raise.  But it was also HARD!  I remember riding a bike around our little farm and it wasn’t easy then, but it seemed a lot more comfortable than this one test ride I took.  I don’t want to give up on this.  Seeing my mother-in-law nearly bedridden with grossly swollen legs because she gradually stopped moving has me scared.  I don’t want to be there in another 20 years.  I don’t want to be reliant on the kindness of nursing staff or the diligence of my children monitoring said nursing staff.

I want to be independent and feel good for as long as possible.  I don’t care about the size I wear any more (so I tell myself at any rate) I’d just like to find the right motivation to get myself up off my ass and moving, even if that merely means a walk around the block to start.  I see my mother-in-law’s predicament and the light bulb goes on over my head – this is the inspiration I needed!  Sadly, nothing has changed much.  I tried walking in the parking garage last week (my co-workers and I go there to stay dry and the ramps help work multiple muscle groups, or so the theory goes).  But that morning I stumbled on the train and again that evening I nearly lost my footing as I managed to hop aboard the train just as the doors were closing.  The next day I was struggling to just get out of bed.  I do take the stairs now when I’m only going up or down one floor.  My knees can’t handle more than a floor at a time these days.

Another result of losing movement is that my house is a mess.  Some days this bothers me more than the fact I breathe hard after a single flight of stairs.  I used to be a decent housekeeper, damn it.  It was still cluttered enough to be comfortable but I swept regularly and mopped floors.  I didn’t do windows much or clean my oven regularly, but unexpected company wouldn’t have to hold their noses or clear off furniture to sit down.  Now I find HUGE dust bunnies inhabiting strange places, and cobwebs drape gracefully from the ceiling in various locations.  Now, I get by with the least housework I can get away with.

And I hate that I’ve come to this point.  I want to be that 40-something woman again, with the energy and stamina to work full time and keep her house neat and play with her kids, now grandkids.  How do I find my way back to her?

Without getting off the couch I mean?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Catch-22

  1. Well, unfortunately, I think you may have to get off the couch. I don’t know if you are honestly looking for advice but regularity is the key. Every day I get up and the first thing I do is exercise for half an hour…before I even have a chance to think about it. Also, almost every day I wake up knowing exactly what I am going to eat. The weekends are reserved for pigging out. It’s boring but it works.

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  2. If you figure it out will you kindly let me know? ? My brain KNOWS I need to move more. My butt says “eh, va bene (It’s ok) you can start that tomorrow or next week. Let’s just keep sitting here binge watching Nurse Jackie”…and I think we all know who wins. IAM back on weight watchers & I am losing what I regained in the 6 month break I took from WW but the exercise part is just non existent. I hate it, period end of discussion.

    For the record, when i saw you in September I thought you looked wonderful & much thinner than the previous time, if that helps.

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    • Well yes that DOES help! I did lose a bunch (about 60 lbs I think) between when I saw you last and this past September. You looked fab as well ma’am! I loved the longer hair! Maybe I’ll look into WW. It’s just so hard to do anything when the lump beside me is doing nothing and has no interest in doing anything. Cue the violins! 🙂

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      • I totally get that, I’m very lucky that Luke actually likes it when I’m being good on ww because he eats what i eat, ergo he loses weight too! My WW buddy however is in your boat, her family WILL NOT change anything about their eating habits so she cooks 2 meals & has a pantry full of temptation. … personally I’d tell them to fend for themselves if they didn’t like the meal I cooked but I’m mean like that.

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  3. So I’m getting over a sprained sacra-illiac joint (in your low, low back) and I haven’t been able to run for 2 weeks. And I’m finding the longer I don’t run, the less I want to run. It’s really a vicious cycle. So I forced myself to walk about a half mile today (to and from Starbucks!) It’s was okay – not too much pain. And I plan on walking the rest of this week until I can build up to running short distances. The key is just gritting your teeth and making it a priority. Hard to do I know, but once you get started, it will be a self fulfilling prophecy in a good way. The good feelings tend to increase exponentially. The other key is that I am part of a running group who want me to come back. Running, walking, cycling, swimming, jazzercise – if you’re part of a group, they help keep you accountable. Good luck and just take it one day at a time and DON’T be hard on yourself if you backslide. We can be our own worst critic and that can be very counterproductive.

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    • Thanks AGMA. I am trying something new for me and we’ll see how that goes. My brain is on board, now I just have to get my body involved. Good luck to you, I hope your injury heals quickly and you’re back running again soon!

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  4. This may be unpopular (I’m new here so I don’t know) but the only thing that’s helped me is supernatural intervention. That is, prayer. The only one who’s been able to get me off the couch so far is God. I tell Him how much I need to, how much I don’t want to, and somehow I find myself doing it. (Though admittedly, sometimes it takes a few [a bunch?] of said conversations before the help comes.) but truly it/He always comes. Hope I haven’t offended or put you off, it’s just that I can relate so much to what you’re saying that I wanted to offer what’s been the only life saver for me… And I’m so sorry for your struggle. The agony of what we can do to ourselves: the guilt, the self reproach. It’s awful. I do hope you find some relief.

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