“When I look at you,” my son said, “I don’t see you as fat – I see you as, well, fifty.”
My son’s honesty is, many times, painful.
For many of us, we spend our lives telling us such self-inspiring sayings such as “50 is the new 40” or “you’re only as old as you feel.” Well, unfortunately, ‘spin’ can take you only so far.
A funny thing happened after my odometer crossed the magical 50,000-mile line – my body suddenly decided to stop responding to diet and exercise like it once did. It is as if, as the odometer pushed the forties into history, the warranty on my entire body sees to be expiring as if on cue.
My son is at the stage of life – early twenties – where he is currently fighting to keep weight on his bones. Dragging his body into the gym nearly every day, I watch as he thrashes his body into doing exercises a body should’ve be able to do – particularly mine. He even keeps a mysterious oversized container in kitchen of some fancy powder to mix into drinks – calories and protein from what I understand.
On the other hand, I am counting calories from the other end of the spectrum. For me, one day off the calorie-watching wagon and I’m suddenly finding my clothes fitting oddly. Imagination or not, this is not fun.
I guess I am like most people my age, a generation to whom exercise was a simple way to moderate our health, only to one day find a strange interruption in the plan as our AARP cards arrive in the mailbox. For years we could cut back a bit here, skip a meal there, and after a few days of lacing on our running shoes, we were right back where we wanted to be. Well, for those of you with fewer miles on the odometer than me, let me warn you now – you’re going to need a new plan.
At our office, food is something we do well. Got a birthday? Food day. Anniversary? Food day. Even when launching a new product, we find it as a reason to bring in a giant cake.
Food, being such an important part of socialization, does not make my current predicament any easier. With everyone bringing in family specialties or a favorite pastry from a corner shop, you have to sometimes take one (or two donuts) for the team.
Which brings me back to my conversation with my son the other day.
I guess as some point in life you’ve got to learn to adjust your give and take formula. I just might need to accept that after 50,000 miles, I can’t keep up with a twenty-something in the gym. Maybe life going forward is not going to be all about a strict adherence to tightly measured calories or the notches on my belt. Maybe, at this point in life, the universe is trying to tell me that a happy and healthy life is not one measured exclusively by the currency of calories or digits on a bathroom scale.
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