As I was driving back home from my temporary work site at one of our offshore military bases, I passed several cyclists and joggers. One of them in particular drew my attention. She was about my height and frame, but instead of a prominent belly that I am sporting, she had this humongous butt set on a pair of impressive thunder thighs. I am not talking about what someone may call a big bum. I am not talking Rubenesque. Nor am I saying that the woman was obese. None of those terms would do her justice. She just had this enormous derriere and a lot of what I suspect is muscle around each femur bone, the poor thing. Our military recently came up with a harsh set of rules on what a person should weigh and — as we are all painfully aware –no person wants to be laid off in this economy, hence all the jogging, the calorie counting, the diets, the reduction gimmicks, all that nonsense and the suffering that comes with it.
Many folk who have the misfortune of being endowed with greater-than-life body parts spend a good part of their life unhappily trying to fit the generally (though not universally) accepted and desired fashion model mold. Good many of them succeed, if only for a while. Following a restrictive diet and breaking a sweat 5 times a week on a treadmill certainly works and the unwanted pounds do come off. Then the body decides that we are up to something and before we starve it, it starts to stash away a bit here and there, then a bit more. Next thing you know, the 20 lbs you lost with such an effort are back with a “reserve” of another 5 lbs.
The way our body looks is passed onto us from our parents, as we get ½ of our genetic makeup from each of them. If our mother wears size F bra and has a big belly and our father has a waist of 54”, most likely than not we will have a so-called weight problem as well. We can cheat nature for a while and maybe even fit into our high school skinny jeans. Then we may starve ourselves to wear a size 2 wedding dress for the special day and for those pictures we will have to look at eventually, when everything fails and we tip the scale at 200 lbs. The pregnancies will leech the calcium and other minerals out of our body, the stressful job and the menopause will mess up our metabolism, the medication for this-or-that will have weight-gaining side effects that our doctor didn’t bother warning us about. Little by little our body will look just like what it was meant to look at a certain age, given our life style and our family history.
We can of course fight it for a while: count calories, lay off wine and chocolate, or waste an hour a day every day on a StairMaster. We can climb rocks, swim laps, and mountain bike on the weekends. Then on Mondays we can lie to your colleagues about the great time we had doing all those things. Did I say “lie”? Yes, I did. If you only could hide behind a big tree and see those weekend athletes on their bikes pedaling uphill, the pain and agony on their faces giving away what it’s really like, you too would grin hearing the Monday morning fish tales of a great time had.
This New Year’s Eve, only a couple of month before I turn 65, I decided to keep my extra 50 pounds and not make myself miserable over my weight ever again. I decided to eat when and what I please while taking a generally good care of my heart, my digestive system, and my skin. I decided to never again set foot in a gym and not subject myself to anything that hurts. Instead, I will get a massage or indulge in another Epicurean extravaganza. Life is already hard enough as it is and I will not make it any harder on myself.
This is my New Year resolution. I am doing it for myself and also to honor my dearest Grandmother who had a big butt for as long as I can remember and who also had an equally big heart with which she loved me to pieces. Peace!