• fighting the fat gene

    What I really want to say is “Plah!”


    A while back, maybe two weeks ago, I was getting a lot of headaches. I felt like crap. I was tired all the time, unmotivated, feeling fat, and maybe even a little depressed. In the wee hours of the morning I kept getting these panic attacks (mild ones, nothing really too alarming) wondering if I had sleep apnea because I would find myself waking up at odd times to my own snorting.

    I don’t even snore, I don’t think. At least that’s what Toby says. I’ve asked him a million times to check on me when I’m sleeping to make sure and he says when I’m asleep I’m as quiet as a mouse. Who knows. I’m not sure I believe him because he’s the freak who stays up until four in the morning working. He may or may not be paying attention to me sleeping in the next room. If I snore, I probably don’t snore that loud.

    But I’m paranoid because sleep apnea runs in my family and I am deathly afraid of getting it. Why? I guess because I don’t want to have a stroke and I don’t want to wear a mask forcing air into my lungs all night. I know lots of people use masks and they have changed their lives in wonderful ways but I really don’t want to use a mask if I can avoid it. I have a hard enough time feeling sexy as it is.

    One of my aunts (whom I think I most resemble in body type) said she got sleep apnea when she reached 140 pounds. Sleep apnea is primarily caused by being overweight. I’m very very very near 140 right now. I hover around it. I might have even been 140 two weeks ago when I was waking up snorting and suffering from headaches all day long. The only symptom that I didn’t have was overwhelming sleepiness during the day. Though I have to admit that I was feeling tired all the time. Is that just all the exhausting mothering I’m doing or is it that I’m NOT BREATHING WHILE I SLEEP!? Ack!

    On top of my sleep apnea fears, I also have to worry about diabetes. There are many women in my family who have diabetes and I bet if they could go back in time to their 37-year-old selves and make some changes to avoid the health problems that they have now, they would. So I made an appointment to see a doctor. I haven’t been to a doctor for three years. It was scary.

    So far I’ve only had a consultation. She seemed like a perfectly nice doctor. I have to schedule some blood tests (with ten hours of fasting) and a physical to really get to the bottom of things. The doctor doesn’t think I have sleep apnea but during that consultation she told me I need to lose “a little weight” by changing my diet and exercise.


    Man, those words hurt. I knew it was coming but it still didn’t stop me from freaking out. I’m not the waif I used to be. I know I have a lot to be thankful for with my body type and metabolism but man, this is the beginning of the end, isn’t it? No more pizza and cupcakes for breakfast for me any more? I have a very healthy appetite. I’m going to be hungry all the time! I can’t do this!!!

    Damn genetics.

    This is where I have to put in a lot of back-pedaling mumbo-jumbo about being healthy and not being vain. Mind you, I live in Plastic Barbie Land where boys get boob jobs and then parade around sticking their bony arms in my face so that I can feel like a fat slob. I know I am a curvy woman and I know curves can be beautiful. It’s just that I have to be careful.

    I need to lose ten pounds for my health and ten pounds for my vanity. I’ll start with the ten pounds for my health and probably never get around to the ten pounds for vanity but it’s there in the back of my mind. The doctor didn’t give me a number of pounds I should lose but I’m guessing if it was fewer than ten she wouldn’t really bother me about it. I’m sure she’ll be more clear after my full physical and the bloodwork has been analyzed. But I’m not going to wait until then. If this is the beginning of the end for me, I might as well start fighting it this very minute.

    I’m changing my lifestyle a bit here and there. I’ve changed my body before with diet and exercise, I can do it again. Back in 1999 (before I got married and squeezed into my teeny tiny wedding gown) I ran or walked every single day for probably a year.

    It was the perfect routine. I would get up at the crack of dawn and head out to the beach. One day I would run, the next I would walk. The walking on alternate days was just enough to keep the exercise a habit but at the same give me a nice break so I didn’t burn out. I didn’t slack off. I’ve found that I have to do something every day or else I tend to give up. One rest day turns into two and the next thing I know it’s a month later and I think eating Twinkies is perfectly acceptable again.

    So here I am again. I’m trying to find some way to sweat every day. The walking/running routine isn’t working anymore because now I have a three-year-old nemesis who demands pancakes in the morning. I can’t just throw her in the stroller like I used to and jog off into the morning fog. She has opinions now! Strong ones!

    She wants snacks and drinks and beach toys and most of all OUT OF THE STROLLER. She wants to dawdle and look at every little plant along the way. She wants to pop into Starbucks for madeleines and get ice cream at the drugstore. When we get home she wants to make cookie dough. It never ends.

    She’s like the devil on my shoulder asking for all those deliciously tempting things to eat and then when we’re done with that, she wants to watch hours of mindless television while I grow my butt wider on the chair in front of my laptop. She is my own personal challenge, programmed specifically to foil me.

    I know, I know. I can’t blame everything on my kid. After all, I made her like this. Sure, part of it is just her stubborn tenacity that she was born with, but it’s also me being a bad example. I could be running with her at the park, doing squats around the jungle gym, teaching her all about healthy snacks….I could very well write a book about all the ways to make mothering into a boot camp for the uber-healthy. Pfff. It’s probably already been written.

    So that’s my plan. I’m going take this colossal challenge by the love handles and show it who’s boss. I’m going to eat lighter, jump rope when I can’t get away to a yoga class or a run on the beach and I’m going to teach my daughter that a stubborn will can be channeled into good things instead of bad. Huzzah!

    We’ll see how well I’m doing next week.