I’ve been fat on and off for most of my adult life. When I had four babies in five years, I never bothered to lose the weight in between. I just got pregnant again so I could stay in my maternity clothes. I joined Weight Watchers on at least five different occasions. I’ve tried Noom, I’ve done South Beach, I’ve cut out alcohol (briefly), I’ve joined numerous gyms. But you know what I haven’t done until now?
I haven’t been fat and old.
This, friends, is an entirely different ball game.
There’s a lump under my neck that I’ve had checked, prodded, and scanned. So far, they haven’t found anything. I can’t bring myself to believe that it might just be fat. That this aberration might just be my 53-year-old neck. It doesn’t matter how I angle my laptop for Zoom calls. There’s no hiding it.
It’s the bane of my current existence.
When I turned forty, I ran a marathon. I’m not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination, so the daily training was long and grueling. At the end, I was running four hours a day, with some rest days thrown into the mix. I shed a few pounds during my six months of training, and I had to ice my knees from time to time.
But now when I play an hour of pickleball, I can’t walk for the next two days. Literally. I ice my back. I ice my knees. I ice my feet. I have more ice in the freezer than peas. And I love peas. I live in an RV full-time, so I have to maneuver five steps to get in or out. And once I’m in, there are three more steps to get to the bathroom and bedroom. It’s not a lot of steps. Especially if I don’t leave the RV for a day. But the only thing that enables me to get up those three stairs to the bathroom or bedroom is the strength of my arms and sheer will.
I’m guessing that the next thing I’ll do is injure a shoulder trying to get myself to bed. Hoisting 200 pounds of flesh up three stairs with my old lady arms isn’t an easy task. The RV handle that’s attached to the wall isn’t happy about it, either. It’s been screwed back in once already. If it comes out again, it’s probably a goner. I’ll be left with holes in the walls and no way to get to bed. Thank goodness I’m a couch sleeper.
Sidebar: I can, in fact, sleep anywhere at any time. That’s not an old age thing, though. That’s an all-my-life thing. I’m a Super Sleeper.
I’m also a Super Sweater. That’s not an old age thing, either. I used to leave puddles on the basketball court in high school. It’s more intense as I age, though. Being a Super Sweater during menopause is its own brand of fresh hell. When my face is purple and my hair is slicked to my head and all I’ve done is order a glass of wine at dinner while perusing the menu for chicken marsala, it can be more than a little embarrassing. If one more elderly person says, “Ma’am, you’re sweating a bit. Are you okay?” I’m going to trip them with their own cane. (Just kidding. I love old people. I am old people.)
And let’s talk for a moment about sleep. Every night, I wake up drenched in my own stale sweat. (I know, I know. You all want to have a sleepover with me now, don’t you?) But I’m so damn tired from being fat and old that I don’t have the gumption to get up and do anything about it. And have you ever tried to change the sheets on a king-sized RV bed? Don’t judge me unless you know. So, I just lay there, shivering in my own sweat and trying to glean some heat from Sissy, my pocket pittie mix who steals my pillow on the regular. She just grunts and rolls the other way and kicks my face in the process. Even she doesn’t want to deal with my sweaty sheets. In the morning, I spray everything down with Febreze Fabric Refresher and air it all out until bedtime. Then we begin the whole sweaty mess all over again.
It’s no way to live.
Except this is my life.
Maybe things would be different if I lost some weight. Maybe not. Here’s what I do know: I don’t want to give up my favorite foods. I love food. I live for food. Sometimes I even live for bad food like chili cheese dogs and White Castles. If there’s no guarantee that weight loss is going to change my life, it’s not worth the risk. Because me minus chicken marsala and Cuban pizza equals a crabby, mean, spiteful mess.
And who will play Pickleball with me then?