onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “aging”

It could be worse. I could *look* 40.

This coming Tuesday will be my 40th birthday. And I am pretty excited about it, quite frankly.

I am not afraid of aging. I have written about this before, I know. I think that part of the reason I am not afraid of aging is that with my food under control, I am aging particularly well. I may be in the best shape of my life right now. And I don’t show a lot of the visible signs of getting older, though I do have a lot of gray hair. No seriously, a lot for 40. But it’s more white and silver than gray gray, so even that isn’t too bad.

And I don’t want to imply that I’m not experiencing the normal wear and tear that a 40-year-old experiences. My knees crack, and sometimes one or the other of my ankles is sore or wobbly for the first few minutes of my morning jog, and that’s with knee and ankle braces. And when I sit up after doing my crunches, I can hear and feel my back crack.

But at 16 I was morbidly obese. I had difficulty walking, let alone running. I was easily exhausted. I feared stairs the way people fear public speaking, though I had to face stairs daily, while, unless it’s your job, most people don’t have to speak in front of crowds very often.

But it’s not all about being thin either. It’s not just physical ease vs. discomfort. I look great, I feel great, I am generally happy, and content, and I believe that has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t poison myself with sugar.

The average American eats about 94 grams, or 350 calories, of added sugar in a day. That’s over 75 pounds of sugar in a year. And that is the average, not the extreme. For reference, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends about 25 grams a day for an average adult. So average Americans are eating almost four times the recommended amount of sugar. Every single day.

Now, I am not the food police. I don’t care if you choose to eat sugar. But as time goes by, science and medicine show more and more evidence that sugar is a drug, and that it affects us, not just physically (as in our weight), but also hormonally, and neurologically. I know it’s poison to me because I am addicted to it. But even if you are not addicted to sugar, it is becoming clear that it is still dangerous. And like all drugs, it has side effects.

I think a lot of my general beauty and good health has to do with the fact that I am not putting that particular poison into my body. The result is that I have glowing skin, bright eyes, healthy hair, and a strong body. I also exercise, am well rested, and I drink lots of water every day, and that’s all possible for me because I don’t eat sugar, grains, or starches.

I don’t use sugar as fuel. I don’t crash mid-morning because my breakfast was carbs with a side of sugar, so I need another fix. I sleep 8 hours a night because I am not hopped up on sugar late into the evening. I am hydrated because I don’t need to drink sugar to get me through the day, one little fix at a time, and instead I can manage get my water in. (Don’t get me wrong, I still drink coffee and zero calorie diet drinks. I just drink my water too.) I am not anxious, irritable, or moody because I need a hit.

Yes, not being high on sugar helps me make better choices when it comes to taking care of myself. It always made me lethargic and lazy. It made me comfortable enough in the moment to not think far enough ahead to take care of my health and my life.

But seriously, I strongly believe that look as good as I do (and seriously, I look pretty damn good), not just because I exercise and drink water, but because I am not constantly pumping poison into my body. In general, drugs age a person. You can find a million before and after shots on the internet showing their effects. If you hear the word junkie, there is an image that pops into your mind, and it’s probably not one of shiny hair and a big smile with a full mouth of teeth.

So I am grateful to feel so beautiful on the eve of a big birthday. And I believe that, more than any other reason, I owe that feeling to keeping sugar out of my body.

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Age is just a number. And thank heaven it doesn’t start with a 1 or a 2 anymore!

Tomorrow happens to be my 39th birthday. It feels good. I am grateful that I am not afraid of my age. I like myself. I like being the person I am. I had to take time and do work to be this person. In my teens and early 20s, I wasn’t the woman I am now. I never understood people who lament the passing of youth. I never feel that youth is wasted on the young. Instead, I feel more like experience is wasted on those who think youth is wasted on the young.

But, I’ll admit that it may have something to do with the fact that my body story is different than most. When I was in my early 30s, I was dancing with a company and a fellow dancer sighed and said to me, “Remember when you were sixteen, and your body was perfect and the world was yours?”

I just laughed and said, “No. That’s not how my story went.”

At 39, my body is stronger, healthier, easier, and better looking than when I was 16. My life is easier too. And my food addiction is under control now. It was not when I was sixteen. Then, I couldn’t jog 2 miles a day. I couldn’t go into a regular clothing store and try on whatever I wanted. But even more, it’s not just about my weight and my body. It’s about my integrity. 

I was talking with some people yesterday about what I was like before I got my eating under control. I was always doing something I shouldn’t, and not doing something I should. And I was constantly anticipating when I would get in trouble for one or the other. I lived in constant fear. 

I’m not saying these were monumental things I was doing or not doing. Seventh grade homework is not life or death. But I was taking chunks out of my honor and my character. I never realized how stressful it was to live like that until I got sober from sugar and got some integrity. And that didn’t happen until I was 28. And even then, putting down sugar was just the beginning. It still took time to wade through the muck of having been so dishonorable for so long. It took years to clean myself up to the point where I felt good about myself. 

But I did and I do. So I am looking forward to tomorrow and my birthday. I’m looking forward to 39. And 40. And so on. I am looking forward to the whole grand future. And I am loving every day I get to enjoy, because my eating is taken care of. 

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