My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
It’s been on my mind for a very long time now, especially since I’ve been battling my weight for all of my adult life, and my recent experiences are forcing it to come out in blog form. My husband and I have been successful in achieving weight loss and management goals if we eat salad for two meals a day every day, exercise like fiends every day, and basically eschew all the fun methods of calorie intake. It’s no way to live, but it’s what you do if you want to fit into those jeans from your final year of university, and attempt to pretend that you are still sexy and in your late 20s. Most days it doesn’t matter because most days there’s nothing super exciting to eat anyway (because that would involve making it).
This past weekend we had not one, but two, invites to gatherings of conviviality and consumption. I think I have lived here long enough to say with a moderate amount of authority that Mexican social life surrounds get-togethers and sitting around a table for hours enjoying the finer things: chisme, carne, guacamole, queso fundido, tequila, cerveza y postres. It’s truly wonderful, and I feel very fortunate to be included in these gatherings during which the food is not really the main event, but a wonderful side dish for connecting and reconnecting with family and friends. I know Canadians eat together, but they get it done fast, so it’s less about the social benefits and more about the food and doing the dishes afterwards; at least it always seemed that way when I was there.
The thing about eating many different varieties of delicious, calorie-dense food over the period of several hours for two nights in a row is that it eventually catches up with you, or at least me, because I stepped on the scale today and I was up 10 lbs from my goal weight; you know the goal weight that I’ve only been working towards since I was in my mid-20s. What has taken years to finally achieve is destroyed in two nights of carne asadas and it makes me wonder how our hosts and friends do it, because they socialize and consume in this way far more often than we do. We regularly use the kids’ bedtime (or even our own bedtime) as a reason to stay home, but the side benefit of that strategy is the avoidance of great food and the weight gain it inherently brings. Note: The kids woke up at 6 am today despite an 11 pm bedtime, so it’s not an excuse, but a real reason!
I’ve come a long way in my ability to control binge eating and overgrazing just because the food is there. Watching others and their eating (and drinking!) habits makes me wonder if I just happened to be behind the door when the basal metabolic rate (BMR) was passed out. How is it that I am running up to five or six times a week, sometimes for over an hour at a time, and I still gain 10 lbs in two nights of fun eating? Our median-weight hosts and fellow guests don’t exercise, or if they do they don’t exercise that much or that often, so what am I doing wrong? Why is eating lettuce and training for half marathons continuously the only way I can keep at a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 when everyone around me is eating heaps of meat and drinking more than I can handle several nights a week, all while looking svelte?
I have plugged a few recent pictures of myself into that new Microsoft Guess Your Age website and I can’t say I am overly happy with the results. This is the third picture I’ve tried (below), and it’s telling me I am a lot older than my biological age. So, in addition to becoming overweight overnight, I am apparently also as ancient as the fields where the buffalo roam. Thanks, Microsoft. Now I know why it has recently seemed that when I am out there running trying to burn off my rabbit food I have become virtually invisible to the other runners. I am *gasp* an older woman now, I should take up knitting and find an ice floe. I will attempt to stay positive in light of all of this, but being told that I am both old and incapable of avoiding being fat unless I starve myself is a one-two punch I just wasn’t ready for on a Sunday afternoon.