Hung up on numbers, by Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer

health numbers
(photo: Lorie Sheffer)

Not one to skip on my wellness checkups, I headed out on Monday morning for The Verdict. For the past several years life has been chaotic, to say the least. Like many women, I tend to put my own wellbeing on the back burner while caring for others. At my last check-up, my numbers were starting to show that neglect. Still not in the red zone, they were nonetheless creeping into dangerous territory. Mid life is the time when we can no longer take things for granted; those fries and tuna boats hurriedly eaten at the end of a long, stressful day start to come back to haunt us.

It’s hard for women in middle age to exercise. We have issues. How can you manage to walk for an hour when you have to pee every five minutes? Working up a sweat is something that we regularly do while sleeping. Thankfully, I am blessed with a back yard pool. My friends and I can swim in peace, without having to deal with public swimsuit anxiety and the fear of spontaneously bursting into flames. We don’t even have to shave our legs if we don’t want to! I began to swim laps and to eat more healthily. My husband was feeling a bit insulted about my new habit of leaving the dinner table early to put my plate into the dishwasher, then heading off to another room. He’s fine now that I’ve explained it is my way of avoiding seconds. I was almost militant in my resolve to reclaim by health and well-being.

Monday was D-Day. Blood work done, I waited to hear the benefits of all that hard work. Blood Pressure? Down from “let’s keep an eye on this and if it stays this high you’re looking at meds” to “Great!”. Total Cholesterol? Not that bad before, but now? Excellent! LDL? lower. HDL? Up THIRTY points! I was beginning to feel giddy with excitement. And then the hammer fell. Hard. Weight? I GAINED ten pounds! I felt like someone had just punched me really hard in my increasingly doughy stomach. Both my doctor and one of my friends told me that in order to lose weight and keep it off, they have to commit to an hour of working out, at least five days a week. ARE. YOU. KIDDING?! Maybe I hadn’t heard them right, what with all that pool water still stuffing up my ears. I gave up tuna boats with melted provolone for 5 oz. grilled salmon portions and this is what I get? I’m not going to lie; I didn’t take this news well at all. In fact, I ran sobbing to my favorite spouse, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. Once my tantrum ended, I grudgingly went back to my healthier habits, thankful that I look healthier on paper than I do in the mirror.

Now that I’ve (somewhat) regained my composure, I have done some thinking. My grandmothers were chubby. Both lived to be well into their eighties. My aunt is a vivacious ninety years old and is most likely meeting her new seventy nine year old boyfriend for lunch as I write this post. She has always had to struggle with a few extra pounds. My great aunt, she of the dreaded apple shape, is one hundred and one years old, and still goes out to dinner at least weekly. Maybe I should be thankful for the longevity in my genes and not focus so much on the extra jiggle in my jeans.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.