By all the measures available to me - online, at the gym, in books, at my doctor's office - I am not just fat. I am obese. Oh-fucking-bese. I can no longer use any sort of euphemism to describe my excess adipose tissue, and now the word "fat" no longer does the job. And I haven't even officially hit the 200-pound mark yet!
Last Christmas, we packed up the kids and went to stay with my parents in Tennessee for a week. The day we arrived, I happened to notice a pamphlet lying on top of a low bookcase, a pamphlet which appeared to be the instructions for a glucose monitor. After a day or two, it was hard not to notice that my mother was not partaking of the ridiculous feasts that my father insists upon preparing for each meal when we visit, and instead seemed to be eating very simple and measured meals. I waited in vain for her to mention something herself, until finally I couldn't take it anymore and I asked her, "So, are you diabetic now, or what?"
Her response was "Goddammit, John, you were supposed to get rid of everything!" Apparently, she intended to hide her recent diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes (my mom is definitely obese, and has been for many, many years now) from all her children at Christmastime because she didn't want us all "making a fuss." Not that we are, in general, a family of fuss-makers. We can raise a good stink, but we're not as talented with fuss.
But I think now that she wanted to hide it so that we wouldn't be able to scold her when she clearly fell of the wagon a matter of months later. My dad told me earlier in the summer that she claims to be testing her blood glucose levels regularly, but she hasn't asked him to pick up any supplies for her monitor in a long time. Then, when she had knee surgery in July, the doctor mentioned that her glucose levels were something ungodly.
And I totally understand, because even in the face of all the health problems that I know are associated with obesity, and knowing that I almost certainly have diabetes in my future if I don't lose weight, I have yet to maintain a diet for more than, oh, a few days at a time. Of course, I usually go at it the way I go at everything: all or nothing. I decide that I will never, ever, ever crack open another Dr. Pepper, and by day two I am sneaking them in on errands so that I can drink them in the car where they don't "count."
So, this time, I am going to take a different approach. Each week I am going to try to meet two goals. And they have to be reasonable goals, not anything grandiose (I WILL FLUSH ALL CHOCOLATE DOWN THE TOILET. I WILL NEVER EVEN THINK ABOUT SUGAR, MUCH LESS EAT IT.) And I will document those goals, and my success or failure in meeting them, here.
So, here we go. Are you excited? I can tell you are.
• Drink 3 glasses of water each day. (I realize the recommended amount is 8 glasses, but that, to me, is a "grandiose" goal. I will work my way up to that gradually).
• 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week. (I currently have a free gym membership, thanks to my magazine job, and I LOVE this gym. Mainly, I love the showers, where I can actually shave my legs without having to tell some small person to stop opening the shower door and PUT DOWN THAT TOILET PAPER. They have a very nice child care center, reasonably priced, AND for 30 minutes on the treadmill I can listen to This American Life on my iPod. Why I'm not there every goddamn day, I simply cannot explain.)
And if I meet my goal? DOUGHNUTS!