My mother’s late onset diabetes haunts my life continually. Not to mention my parent’s high blood pressure and my father’s heart problems. My mother freely admitted that all their conditions could have been controlled and even cured if they had stayed a healthy weight and exercised frequently. She struggled daily with her weight but often lost enthusiasm for healthy food and walking the dog. When I visited she would conceal her eating – a nibble here, a morsel there, just a tiny piece of cake or a smidge of cheese – but it all added up and her daily calorie count would soar. By late afternoon she would be too tired to walk the dog and could barely summon the energy to put dinner on the table and clean up afterwards.
My mother was not always overweight. She was a skinny child, a slim teenager and young woman. Although she never spoke of it I guess she put weight on with pregnancy, just like millions of other women across the world. My mother’s aunt also acquired late onset diabetes, I believe also due to her weight increasing in middle age.
On the other hand my father has never seemed to care about his gradually growing girth. His excess weight settled mostly around his waist and belly and he often makes a grand show of pulling in his stomach and showing everyone how slim he still is. I wish it was so.
With all this family history of overweight and disease, it is any wonder I am constantly conscious of my own weight? I too was always a skinny child and teenager and, until my first pregnancy, it was never difficult to keep my figure. However, as a stay at home mother of one, two and then three boys, I found myself constantly snacking with the boys or neighbours or friends and my slim figure disappeared.
When I separated from my husband I lost 14 kilos (about 28 pounds) seemingly overnight. They fell off me. I stopped eating the leftover food from my boys’ plates, I started walking and I eventually got a gym membership. I felt fantastic. Until about five years later, the fat started creeping back on. And its not easy to keep those extra pounds at bay once you hit middle age.
Apparently I’m not the only one. I have read in the news that Australia is now the most obese country in the world. Our schools are making oversize chairs for our children to sit on. Hospitals are having to supply oversize beds for the sick and injured. Funeral parlours are building oversize coffins. Where is it going to end?
About three weeks ago, after my daily climb onto the bathroom scales, I discovered I had gained 5 kilos (about 10 pounds). I was horrified. The last thing I want to acquire is diabetes or any other unnecessary illness. I decided then and there to lose the weight and keep it off.
I know what has caused my weight gain. I’ve put more calories into my body than it is capable of burning off in my sedentary, computer based work. As we get older our body simply doesn’t need excess energy if we aren’t going to do any exercise to get rid of it.
Willpower is the key; willpower and a belief in eating healthy, moderate meals and exercising regularly. We have lost the ability to say “no” to that extra piece of cake, or the sugar laden soft drink. We have lost the ability to put together a delicious meal from healthy ingredients because it’s far too easy to buy ready made food full of fat, salt and sugar. I was determined to find that willpower again.
Since I climbed on the scales about three weeks ago I’ve lost 3 kilos (about 6 pounds). I would ideally like to lose another 4 kilos. I’ll let you know how I did it in my next post and I’ll let you know if I manage to reach my goal.