"Diet" is a four-letter word, but it has been a way of life for me since I was ten years old (it is not the only four-letter word I have problems with). When I was ten, I remember standing at the Dairy Bar in Red River one summer with my friend Bege. Bege was three years older than I was and very beautiful - I idolized her. I was wearing a dress because I was headed to the Community House for some square dancing. Bege looked at me and said that I had nice legs, but that I was putting on a little weight, and then she said that I should watch my weight. She said all of this with love and caring – not malice. She seemed to want to give me good advice. I didn’t have a clue what to do. Watching my weight was a totally alien concept. At ten years old, my eating habits had not changed, but my body was doing some changing on its own. It is kind of ironic that years later after I had had Bo, it would be Bege’s mom who would give me more good advice. She told me the best way to get your stomach muscles back in shape was to be aware and constantly hold them in – the muscles would strengthen as you squeezed them in. I have never forgotten either well-meaning conversation. And diet conversation can be a bit touchy. A friend of mine once said, "I’m at my fighting weight. Say anything about my weight, and we will fight." How very true!
To look at me you would not think that I know much about dieting, but the truth is that I know lots. I have been on more diets than you can shake a stick at and I still have more chins than a Chinese phone book. Doing a diet is another thing all together. That is the big issue – "want to." You got to want to change. Am I willing to put out the effort? And it is an effort to eat less and eat different and exercise more. If I went back and tallied up all of the weight I have lost over the years, I probably have lost myself several times. Unfortunately, when I find myself I do it in a big way. It seems that "change of lifestyle" is the real culprit here along with body type and metabolism. The simplest change of lifestyle can make major changes in my weight. I have done some thinking on all my "gains" over the years, and I can see how and why I gained. I won’t bore you with the details, but I want to point out that most people don’t realize how much weight they have gained until they have gone overboard. That may be difficult to explain to someone who is thin, but it is a perception problem. One day you are doing fine and the next day, someone says, "Why did you let yourself go?" And you run to the mirror or the scales and you think, "My god! When did that happen?" It is depressing, which does not help. When you are depressed, it is difficult to find the umph to change your lifestyle.
Although I have not found the "umph," I have been walking (about two miles). But because of my leg cramps, I cannot speed up like I want. Since Toby bought himself a bike last fall, he has wanted me to ride with him. The thought of perching my large bottom on a narrow little bike seat has not been a pleasant thought. He found a wider seat on an old bike and replaced the seat on my bike (I bought myself an expensive mountain bike 20 years ago, which I used to ride quite often when we lived in the mountains- another change of lifestyle). I’m thinking that maybe he should get a tractor seat for me, but since he did get a new seat, I don’t have an excuse. Anyway, last weekend I rode with him – about six miles. The good news is that I did not get leg cramps and the seat was much better than my old one. The bad news is that I am not fond of this sort of exercise. I would rather play volleyball, softball, or tennis all day long than 30 minutes of bike riding. Maybe it will get better – ya think? As I rode home from my four mile trek toward our house today, all three horses stood at the fence and watched me struggle up the hill. Then I hit the rock driveway, which rattles my eyeballs. I’m sure the horses thought I was pretty silly – why would I put out so much effort on that "skinny horse" when I could be riding one of them. Maybe someone should just shoot me.