My Spam box this morning contained golden nuggets of information: exotic Russian women are waiting for me – as is an $800,000 donation from a very generous woman named Donna.
One thing that is always in my Spam box, the news, magazines and billboards is some variation of the theme, “Lose Weight Quickly”.
I’ve learned that this is a very bad idea and, as with most things, I learned this lesson the long and hard way.
When I was 7 years old, I ran around the neighborhood with my friends Renee and Cathy. We played tag, rode our bicycles and re-enacted “Charlie’s Angels.” I ate what I wanted and I ran around a ton.
At 12, my parents started telling me I better not eat too many Cheetos. I’d get fat. Why did we have Cheetos and Ding Dongs in the house? I started to look for the fat. I started to worry.
At 14, although I was below average weight for American girls my age, trying on jeans would reduce me to tears. I didn’t look like Brooke Shields in her Calvins. My sister and I started dieting and exercising. We were miserable, but felt like we were “taking control”.
The next five years were a roller coaster of diets. At this time, it was all about low fat and cardio. We were mildly successful.
When I landed my first job, I made a salary that was considered poverty-level. Paying back college loans and working in San Francisco, I could only afford pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I developed a wheat allergy, so I ate less. The radio salesladies commented on my tiny waist. I was physically a wreck, but damn, I looked good.
I got a bit wiser and healthier. When I was pregnant with my girls, I suddenly cared a lot more about being healthy and a lot less about looking thin. When they were toddlers, I got naturally strong, carrying an infant and the car seat made me strong. Carrying an infant, a car seat and chasing a toddler made me even stronger.
Now, my goal is to be as strong as I can be for as long as I live. Lifting heavy weights, rollerskating at the rink, practicing yoga and taking frequent walking breaks has made me stronger than ever. A surprising side effect to all this strength training? I think I look better than ever, too.