It's finally happening. After nine weeks of sweating in my burka at the gym, it's happening.
I'm becoming noticeably thinner.
OK, "thinner" is maybe pushing it. But people are starting to notice something is different about me. And more importantly, I'm starting to notice it!
I'll be brutally honest with you here. Up until maybe a week and a half ago, I was pretty discouraged. I mean, I had seen some changes in myself since beginning this Quest to Wellness...the jeans were bigger, my energy level was way up, my bras were too big...but nothing like I had expected.
Back in the day, before I was in my mid-forties (holy CRAP, I am truly mid-forties now), if I wanted to lose weight I'd work out for a couple of weeks, eat some Progresso soup and boom I'd drop a quick 10 lbs. or so.
I remember reading articles and talking to some of my more "mature" friends about weight and age..."You get this thick waist, out of nowhere!" "You have to work twice as hard to see half the results". I didn't really think it would apply to me. I thought, "I may always have to watch it, but please. I can take a few walks and eat some Progresso Light for a couple of weeks and things will be just fine."
Uh huh. This endeavor has been a remarkable wake up call in so many ways. For starters, I am coming to grips with the fact that I'm aging. And I'm not saying that in a horrified voice, really. I mean, there are a lot of things in life that you can put off or prevent or deny, but aging isn't one of them. Every day, every minute, we are growing older.
I used to fear it. I used to think that getting older meant disappearing (and in some ways I think that's true...I am working on an essay about becoming invisible after 40...it's crazy). I used to think that the best years of my life had come and gone, and all that was left was watching shows on CBS, eating Activia yogurt and raving about how great Helen Mirren looks.
Now it's dawning on me: aging, like just about everything else that's inevitable in life, is just as good or bad as you make it. Just like watching your children grow up, it can be painful and fill you with melancholy. Or, it can be a chance to learn and grow and take roads in life that you've never taken before.
A couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that the person in the bathroom mirror still resembled a doughy Michelin Man. "All of this hard work and there's barely a dent!" I cried. I actually wept a little, feeling sorry for my pudgy self. "If I was 34 and was working this hard I'd be down two sizes already" I said to myself. And here I was, still in the big girl size 16 jeans, still sporting the hamhock arms, still wearing the bundt cake around my waist. Life is cruel.
And then I had an epiphany. Yes, ten years ago, I would have slimmed down much faster. I would have seen results twice as fast as I'm seeing them now. But...
Ten years ago, I was a different person. Ten years ago, I was still married to someone who treated me like shit. Ten years ago, I was just beginning to feel the first faint stabs of worry about my marriage. Ten years ago, I had four kids aged 7 on down who needed me literally every second of the day. My life was a blur of wiping butts, making noodles, picking up toys, reading books, doing laundry and trying to keep a happy face. The fact that I could lose weight faster, in hindsight, doesn't seem like such a prize when I look at it from that perspective.
So, it's taking longer than I'd like. Big deal. Like my metabolism, my need for instant gratification is waning with age. I'm growing more and more patient with each passing year. I'm finding out that good things really do come to those who wait. This is something that the 34 year old Jenny couldn't have even grasped.
This week also marked the second week of no booze. I'm trying to ignore the fact that in the two weeks of not drinking I've seen my biggest physical change. Because that means either one of two things: either I was drinking more than I care to admit, or it's a huge coincidence that weeks of effort finally paid off right when I went off the sauce. In hindsight, I'd say it's a combo of the two things.
The good news is, the transition from Chick Who Likes Her Wine to Chick Who Orders Ice Water has been 100% painless. Seriously. No cravings, no drooling as I pass the liquor stores, no wrestling with inner demons when a friend offers me a beer. I even played the role of designated driver when some of my hens and I went to see an old Minnesota classic bar band play last week. Not only did we have a total blast, but my God, it's so much cheaper when you stick to ice water!
I'm reminded again of how much I love those hens: some have been tiptoeing around the subject, trying to be respectful, trying to ignore the elephant in the room. And then there's some who just ask, 'So how's it going without the booze?'. I love 'em all. My BFF hasn't joined me on the Abstinence Express yet, and I'm not bugging her about it. I'm not judging her about it. I'm still able to hang out with her and have just as much fun as we did before. The only difference is now I clearly remember our conversations and I don't cry as much (I can be a weepy drunk, apparently). I'm here for her if she decides to stop for a while, I'm here for her if she doesn't. That's what friends are for.
Will I drink again? Probably. But not now. Not today. Today there's a kid to pick up from work, one at a church retreat, one in a hockey tournament and one who just wants to hang out with mom. I'm going to do all of that, plus go to the gym, play the role of dutiful daughter and get some laundry done. There's no room for a glass of wine today. There will be, some day.
But not today.
Stay well, my friends. It's worth it ♥