I’ve been told lately that I have a tendency to be harsh and blunt and should be kinder and more gentle. Apparently some people have been offended. I’m contemplating whether the appropriate response is “fuck ’em” or whether I should try to be more … well, more filtered. I’ve never had much of a filter, and of late my filter has gotten perhaps a little too porous.
Losing weight–slowly, painfully, one ounce at a time–seems to have triggered my inner curmudgeon. I hear certain phrases and they trigger an instant internal response. It’s like pressing a button. “I need to go on a diet” or “I should go on a diet” triggers “no, you need to change your life, because what you’re doing now is making you fat and a diet is temporary and you’ll just get fat again when you stop ‘dieting’.” “How did you lose all that weight?” triggers “Move more, eat less.” and if I actually say that, then people say “I want it to be easier than that” and I want to snap. Losing this weight has been hard, and I’ve accumulated opinions about what it takes, and really, I’m pretty sure what worked for me would work for anyone, if you stop making excuses and decide you actually will do it (because that decision is the most crucial step), not just make excuses.
I’m not sure why my weight loss seems to anger other people. My working theory is that I’m taking away a lot of their excuses. After all, I’m sixty. I’ve had cancer. I’m female. I was really overweight. All of that was fine, and no one ever criticized me for the weight–other than the orthopedist who told me I was heading for double knee replacements by sixty (four years ago). Even the doctor who referred me to the nutritionist–the one who told me I’d “be hungry sometimes and that’s just fine”–didn’t actually criticize me. She just wrote “obesity” in the list of medical problems I was facing. But now that I’ve lost almost all the weight I set out to lose (six pounds to go, as of this morning), apparently people are worried that I might have become anorexic (and my filterless brain says “would you like to see my food diaries? no? then please be quiet.“).
I want to snap when I hear excuses that people think are reasons. I want to record their excuses and play them back to them, over and over and over (and then one or two more times), until they realize they are excuses. I had a reason I couldn’t run well, why it hurt to walk, and I had that reason for maybe ten years, and now that I don’t have bone cancer (chondrosarcoma, left distal femur, now considered cured) any more, I’ve spent nine years (nine fucking years, folks) losing weight, getting faster, working on my health–and you want an easy answer and to make excuses? Yeah. You can make excuses all you want, but if you took the energy you put into your excuses and put it into changing your life… well, in a year, you’d be a little further down that path you say you want to follow.
“I wish I could run faster but my knees hurt” is an excuse when it comes out of the mouth of someone who is fifty pounds overweight. My snappish curmudgeonly brain wants to say “Lose weight, try Couch-to-Five-K, and maybe you’ll run faster and I’m pretty sure your knees will hurt less. It worked for me. Or you could try swimming. Something. More exercise than trotting around the ring with your dog.” I try hard to shut up but don’t push me, folks. Really. Following that excuse with other ones about how you don’t have the time or energy or whatever? You’re making excuses. Stop lying to yourself. It’s not just that you’re lying to me, it’s that you’re lying to yourself. Curmudgeon says: “You don’t really want to get more fit–if you really wanted to do it, you’d be doing it, not making excuses.”
I don’t know anyone whose dog is competing at the upper levels of agility who has a fat dog. We all know how to keep our dogs at a healthy weight. Many people I know have treadmills for their dogs, to keep the dog fit. We all know what it takes to have a fit, lean dog–and my first thought when someone with a fit, lean dog says “I wish I could lose weight” is that “you should manage your own diet and exercise as carefully as you manage your dog’s diet and exercise. That would work.”