I am told that I use the word too much. And for the first time this week my son started using the word. “Mama, why are you …?”
“Well, you and I can talk about it, but I don’t want you to ask anyone else that question because it might hurt their feelings.” The conversations proceeded, linked back to previous discussions about other physical differences, and ended with the dramatic conclusion that it’s a lot worse to be boring.
But this is where I get into trouble with my use of the word.
A medical doctor called me the other day with a wake up call.
“You really exaggerate your weight in your book.”
It is the job of medical professionals to hound you about your weight, so I have never had such a discussion with a medical professional. After all, I’m the one who had to have my 20 week ultrasound at 22 weeks so that the baby would be more developed when those sound waves started on their very long journey from the ultrasound device on my skin through all of my “stored energy” to the baby inside my uterus. That was the last conversation I had with a medical professional about my weight. (Well, actually, I’ve had quite a few since, but none so memorable.)
“Your descriptions are funny, really, but for someone who doesn’t know you, they will get the wrong impression. You know, you really are not…”
She gave a slight pause.
Annell read the book back in the fall for the first time and mentioned something in passing about the topic. We were never able to engage in the subject, but I assumed she was going to ask when I’d lose all of the damned weight. She did not meet my expectation, apparently.
I felt very defensive. “Come on! Don’t yank my chain! I am too!
But I know what she meant.
I have what my grandpa would have called “a high class problem.”
It’s not a health risk really, though any doctor doing her due diligence would tell me to lose twenty or so. Some of those charts we all despise would want to cut me in half.
A high class problem
I spent the first couple of decades of my life not using the word at all. Perhaps avoiding the word and eating plastic cheese would also help avoid the problem.
Then the next couple of decades I focused on taking back the word, overusing it to blunt its impact. I didn’t even flinch when my son asked me about it, nor when his friend used it to describe my backside. “No truer words have ever been spoken,” was my response.
But it’s a new day with a new focus. If I make that word part of my identity it does bring more importance to it as a descriptor and it makes no distinction between my case and someone with a medical problem. And frankly, if we all didn’t pay so much damned attention to it, there would be fewer medical cases out there. Fellow yo-yo dieters understand what I mean.
There is actually an interesting memoir on this topic written by Richard Morris called A Life Unburdened. It makes the point that having beneficial fats and nutrients is critical to optimal health. Richard, who did have a medical problem weighing in at 400 pounds, makes the point that we try to avoid that word by avoiding food. But the irony is that our bodies hang on to its reserves if it is not getting the nutrients it needs. Richard’s before and after picture are inspirational.
As I rapidly approach a new decade of my life, my focus is on building. After eating non-fat bagels and plastic cheese in my 20s and then facing major depression, my focus for the last few years has been on eating actual food. What is amazing is that as I’ve started on my five acres of “yard work” in rugged mountain woman mode, I have put on muscle with a speed I have never witnessed. That’s apparently why body builders eat all of those protein bars. The funny thing is that a steak works too.

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