One transformative year starts today

Turning forty: fat, fabulous, fatigued, fibromyalgic, and fine with it all (at first…)

I turned 40 about 6 weeks ago. It was a pretty pleasant experience, in spite of the fact that we were 6 months into a global pandemic and in the middle of major civil unrest in the U.S.

I was “comfortable” enough with my pleasantly plump frame, my creaky autoimmune joints, my achy fibromyalgia muscles, my fatigue, and the fact that I hadn’t exercised at all in nearly a decade.

And then I went in for my annual physical. High blood pressure, high sugar, high cholesterol. Last year, these levels were all fine and all I had to worry about was keeping my Ulcerative Colitis in check, and that was going pretty well.

Now my doctor wants me to lose 5 pounds, cut sugar, limit carbs, follow a low-sodium diet, and exercise EVERY DAY.

This is a LOT of changes to make, and she wants to see me back in one month to check my blood pressure, and then three months for the “pre-diabetic” glucose levels, so this is a LOT of changes to make IMMEDIATELY.

Luckily (I guess), I’ve been fussing around with the Clean Food Dirty Girl Meal Plan, as a pandemic-boredom project, for the past season. Though, full disclosure: the best I’ve done with that so far is occasionally buying, like, 30 pounds of produce, promptly getting too tired to batch cook everything, and then gnawing on piles of veggies at random for a week, between boiling up some frozen pierogis.

In terms of exercise, (a) I hate it, but (b) I had spent a huge section of July 2020 lying in bed binge watching early-90s nostalgia TV on YouTube, and stumbled upon the awesomeness that is RICHARD SIMMONS Sweatin’ to the Oldies. If this sounds too kitschy for words to you, you’re darn right, and just wait for my reviews of these vids, coming soon.

Polarizing question: Who doesn’t ❤️ Richard Simmons?

But then I was just innocently washing the dishes when some kind of switch flipped in me… a skinny switch?

I suddenly realized:

I have spent the past c. 25 years of my life imagining that I have no way to control whether I’m fat or thin. Do you know what I mean? Something in the back (or front) of my mind has always been telling me I’m destined to fail, and should instead vehemently pretend to embrace my curves, whether I truly love them or not. But, what if I have always been in complete control of what size my body is? And what if exercising that control is actually something I’m already good at, despite what I’ve always believed?

I know that statement sounds both stupidly obvious and frustratingly impossible, in terms of how most of us feel about actually losing weight. But, what I’m trying to describe is a shift in my mindset. I can all of a sudden imagine what I will look like and feel like at 125 pounds, even though I haven’t been that weight since I was in 10th Grade. I can imagine becoming completely comfortable with daily exercise and feeling like it’s totally natural to eat healthy plants in reasonable portions.

This is a new feeling, so it’s going to take me time to sit with it and understand it, and the purpose of this blog is to explore the various parts of this process in order to see it through.

So, I finally batched up some whole foods plant-based meals for this week, and I’m cuing up Sweatin’ to the Oldies 3, and there are 364 days to go until I’m transformed.