My dad. He was a big, jolly, guy...a lover of food, of growing food, of cooking food, and of drinking good wine. But he also didn't like being heavy; as a poor kid and former football player, he was most likely a binge eater, although I never saw it. At some point the exercise was left behind in pursuit of work and family responsibilities, but the eating stayed the same. I remember as a child drawing a picture of him...and he asked me to draw "skinny daddy." Looking back, it's heartbreaking.
In 2004, after he had tried every diet in the world (the shakes! the prepared meals! the not-eating!), he opted for gastric bypass. He told very few people, embarrassed that we hasn't able to control his weight, but determined to get healthier and have many more years to spend with my mom. He lost a huge amount of weight, and regained the energy he had lost from carrying around what was essentially another adult on his frame. My mom said "I got the man I married back!"
He passed away in 2008, from an aneurysm. Not from diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol..not from anything weight related. Crazy.
And I started eating. It's true, when you feel empty, it's easy to try to fill it with food. The tricky thing is, it doesn't work. But boy, I sure tried!
My hubby is an athlete, and is disciplined when it comes to working out...he's a great role model, but it took more than 6 months to get me to even set foot in the gym. Not. My. Thing. Plus, working out would take away from the cooking and eating...and I was getting pretty darn good at both of those. I didn't step on a scale, but I'd bet that at my heaviest I weighed close to 150. And, at 5' 5", short of hair and small of chest, that was a lot of extra. I didn't feel any different, but people were posting pictures of a chubby 30-something on Facebook and tagging me! And, while I really liked her taste in clothes, I was not so hot on the number of chins she opted to carry around.
Fast forward to spring 2010: I'm still cooking and eating. But I'm also working out 3-5 times a week. I ran two 5ks in April, and will run the Race for the Cure in June. I baked muffins this morning, then took a challenging class at the gym this morning, and then ran 3.6 miles. And then made a big vat of turkey soup and picked up a loaf of sourdough for dinner.
And here's the thing: I still would rather cook and eat. It's hard to get out of bed for a jog, or to a class at the gym. There are other things that I should prioritize...my job, my marriage, my grey roots. But here's the simple truth: my dad would not want me to struggle with my weight the way he did. He would want me to care for myself, to be strong, to find balance. I'll admit, I thought that, if I did it every day for a while, it would become a habit that I could never give up. It would become easy. Well, it's not true for me...every day I wish I had the metabolism of a rabbit and Gwyneth Paltrow's gams. But, since I don't? I'll save the ice cream for special occasions and try to up my weekly mileage.
It's what my dad would want.
- Great memories.
- Shared tastes...cabernet, bleu cheese, rare steak, bourbon. Sons of the Pioneers. PBS.
- My health.
- Advil. (Vitamin I)