I live in fear of becoming my mother. Don’t get me wrong…there are wonderful things about my mom and those parts wouldn’t be so bad to imitate. What I really fear is the legacy she’s left in my body. The trifecta of poor health, bad eyesight, and serious obesity.
My mom, at 53, had to have a knee replacement. The doctor told her it was critical she lose weight, but she didn’t and now is just as crippled as she was before the surgery. At 57, she could not help take care of her newborn grandson. She couldn’t get down on the floor with him. She could barely hold him. In the last year, she’s added Type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure to her laundry list of ailments. I would never, ever leave my son with her for more than a couple of hours. She simply would not be able to keep up with him, let alone take care of him.
The eyesight I took care of in 2003 with LASIK surgery, but the health and weight…well, those are a bit trickier to tackle. Plagued during my childhood with health problems, a distinct lack of exercise led me to be a bit heavier than i should have been, but happily nothing alarming. I think I graduated around a size 8. Like so many others, the combination of college pressures and not fixing my own food caught up to me.
At 20, living in a sorority house with a greasy-spoon chef I hit 179 and then promptly decided to join the Air Force. According to them (and standard BMI charts) I couldn’t even sign up until I was under 150. Man, I ate a lot of baby carrots that summer! I joined Weight Watchers & a gym and by Dec I was officially an Air Force Officer Candidate. 6 months later I returned from Basic Training at 137lbs and a size 4-6.
Here’s where my twin specters of health and weight started tag-teaming me into the 8.5 year battle I’ve been fighting and losing. A torn ankle tendon plus marriage plus the stress of wartime military service created a desperate struggle to stay under my max weight. This desperation and lack of success, coupled with a truly horrific boss, obliterated my self- confidence.
I am still hoping to find it again.
Now, here I am, halfway through my second pregnancy weighing more than I ever thought possible. With my first I put on a whopping 57 lbs and never took 18 of it off. I’ve already gained 20 lbs and started to wonder…how far will I keep going down the wrong path? Do I really need to wait until after the baby comes before I start to take care of myself? Before I start to learn how to nourish and fuel my body? Before I honor my body, not necessarily just indulge it? Certainly being healthier in the last half of the pregnancy is better for me and the baby, right? And I HAVE to believe that less weight and more activity will ease my aching back and the lovely plantar fascitis that reared it’s ugly head last week.
So tonight I’m going to dust off the prenatal yoga DVD I bought and have never tried. I’m going to try to find a prenatal class to go to one evening a week. I’m taking my walking shoes to work on Tuesday and I’m going to talk to a friend of a friend who is a nutritionist. My goal is simple – stop going down this path. I want to fit into the clothes I wore on our 5th anniversary trip here in a year and a half when we celebrate our 10th anniversary. And we’ll see where we go from there.