WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE UP?

FAT CAT

I still stand by my statement that nobody can have it all. Those neurotic, Type-A women who say they’re doing it all and they’ve never been happier? The ones who claim they’re able to run their own business, work out, be an awesome mother, a loving and fulfilling wife, AND plant an herb garden on the weekend are fooling themselves. Or pilfering their kid’s Adderall.

It’s just not physically possible, is it? I have the job, kid, and working out part going on, and most of the time I feel like I’m going to drop dead from sheer exhaustion. I want 2 things more than anything in this world: for my son not to grow up to become a part of the penal system, and to have a lucrative career as a writer. So what am I willing to give up? A relationship, which requires work, energy, and persistence.

What am I willing to give up for staying in shape? Ugh, what a bitch that is. My entire life I’ve been able to wish away the pounds… or snort them away, or starve them away. Until I hit my 40s. Then, not eating for 3 days suddenly didn’t work anymore. Which meant I had to exercise. I hate exercise. Always have. But I was forced to do it, because I saw my body changing in ways I had never seen before. Ways I didn’t like, and it wasn’t pretty. So I started exercising regularly and whipped my fat ass back into shape. A boyfriend commented, “You’re so tight. How are you so tight?” I told him he could thank my obstetrician for that. “No,” he said. “Not that. Your body.” How? “I work my ass off, that’s how,” I told him. Even when I’m tired. Or hungover. Or feeling lazy.

A few years later, I stopped working out. Went through a winter depression and just didn’t care. Body parts became soft again. How bad did I want to get back into shape? Meh. Wasn’t high on my priority list. Much more important was my coffee with heavy cream and dark chocolate Lindt balls. Even more important was writing my novel.

Now, with the novel finished and summer here, my priorities have shifted yet again. Keep my son’s head from exploding from too many video games, and get back into shape. I’ve started swimming and running every day, because I can’t get away with only exercising every other day anymore. Not with a sedentary job. I’m almost tempted to work at McDonalds just to up my metabolism. Now I weigh the choice between 4 potato chips verses 35 minutes on the treadmill. How bad do I want those potato chips? Not enough to add another half hour of running into my day.

Today, as I was getting my son’s daily allotment of 3 Oreos, I just had to stick my nose inside the bag and inhale deeply. “It’d be really, really easy to eat 16 of these,” I said to myself. How badly did I want Oreos? I sighed. Then I cursed, and sealed up the bag. Not enough to feel like crap tomorrow.

What are you willing to give up?

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Damien
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 00:41:46

    Oh yes, I have seen the sands of time shift. Down. I try to go with the 80-20 rule. That is, live your life 80% on the healthy side and be a 20% cheater who is happy. So, for the most part I eat salads, healthy snacks, stay away from fried foods, and don’t drink. Then for a day or so I do what I want, within reason. I drink beer, eat some pizza, sandwiches with mayo and ham, and Oreos (would sell your soul for 16 of those babies now!).

    But I think you have to enjoy your life! It’s the only one you have! I love to drink beer, and yeah, I have a bit of a belly, but oh well. I am not obese by any stretch, I run 15 miles a week, I walk everywhere (life in Europe), everything that needs to stand at attention still does so with pride! haha. And if you’re in your late 40s and men are still complimenting your…um…tightness, then you are winning this battle on every side.

    Live mostly healthy, but enjoy yourself, and splurge and be silly. You only go around once; might as well enjoy the f*ck out of it, right?

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jul 12, 2013 @ 13:21:00

      Let’s get one thing straight, Mr. D–I am NOT in my late 40s. I’m 45, which is mid-40s, so there’s a HUGE difference. HUGE.

      Don’t get me wrong. I splurge. My weakness is sugar and caffeine. I get more writing done on a pound of chocolate and 3 cups of strong coffee than by sheer will alone. My point was that I can’t splurge anymore without exercising. A lot. And that’s a real drag for me.

      You know as well as I do that if you didn’t run 15 miles a week, you’d be 400 lbs. So, you have to make sacrifices…although something tells me you actually like running at 7am, past rolling hills and castles. Gah.

      Reply

  2. Crazy. Kinda.
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 19:49:18

    What am I willing to give up? Great question. I just turned 35 and gave birth to my first child. All my life I’ve been skinny without effort. For the first time in my life I have a gut. It’s killing me. But with an almost 5 week old baby I don’t have time to even take him for a walk. My house is trashed. I no sooner manage to get it clean and I blink and it’s messy again. I go back to work in just over a week and wonder how the hell I’m going to manage to work full time and still do all that I manage to do. But I have my perfect relationship (except when I’m shooting laser beams at him when he’s snoring away at 3am and I’m feeding his son.) I have my (small) house. I have my miracle baby. I have my full time job. What am I giving up? A clean house (not that I’ve ever been super tidy). My dream of someday writing a novel – even before baby I didn’t have time to sit and let my imagination put itself on a computer screen on a regular basis. No time to excercise. We love to hike but now there’s no time and I’m paranoid about ticks finding their way onto my kid. Some day maybe my life won’t be so hectic but for right now I found myself swaying and burping my cat.

    As for those Oreos? My gut isn’t just from the baby I just spit out. My breakfast tends to be double stuf Oreos dipped in coffee. Yes. Coffee. Soo much better than milk.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 23:01:04

      Mmmm, Oreos dipped in coffee…you’re my kind of girl. Hey, I had my son at 35 also. Yeah, the messy house thing is a definite reality for a while–esp. when kids get to be toddlers. My house always looked like it had exploded, or we’d been robbed. Every single day. The only mothers I know with immaculate homes are either neurotic/anal-retentive/obsessive or have a housecleaner come in to help them.

      I sympathize with you having to go back to work. That’s really, really tough. I went back to work after 6 weeks, working a 2-10pm shift, and then I’d have to get up with the baby at night. I still can’t believe I’m alive to tell about it.

      My advice even though you didn’t ask for it? Give up the clean house, the writing, and the weight thing right now. Notice I didn’t say “forever.” You’re still recovering from the punch in the gut called labor and adjusting to the slap in the face called being a mother. Your priorities are your newborn and your job. Eventually, the other things will come. Right now pace yourself, focus on the good, and try not to neglect your man too much. I’ll have to write a post on post-pregnancy sex. Boy, was that fun.

      Reply

  3. Damien
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 08:55:34

    45 or 49, either way don’t worry, T. 1. You’re still a major hottie. 2. Writers get better with age, unlike soap opera stars. 3. You’re not a soap opera star.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 23:04:51

      I dunno, I think Susan Lucci’s still pretty hot. Hey, have you ever heard, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”? (Don’t ask me why I just thought of that.)

      Reply

      • Damien
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 00:30:15

        I have heard that and I like the sentiment. Write freely, wildly and unrestrained, and then edit pragmatically, and with a chisel. Do you follow this idea…or do you actually drink about 3 pitchers of sangria and then sit down at the computer?

      • Tiffany N. York
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 21:33:03

        I’m too uptight to write drunk (unless it’s a post about porn). I edit while I write, and that’s the WORST possible thing to do, I know. Which is why I can’t do NaNo. However, it has just occurred to me that if I do write while drinking, that will probably turn the dreaded internal editor switch off.

  4. kidfreeliving
    Jul 15, 2013 @ 05:45:26

    That 40 year old weight thing is a bitch isn’t it? I’ve been eating like 1000 calories a day for two months and have lost 7 lbs. TWO MONTHS! WTF? You’re telling me I have to exercise too?? AAARGH!

    Reply

  5. RisingSong
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 20:39:34

    I’m still trying to figure out how I could have spent a week trekking up and down dunes on the beach, swimming in a ferocious ocean with a 45-pound child attached to me, running on the soft wet sand, clocking a 5K (on the road) and instead of loosing the seven pounds that I thought for sure I had to have lost, I gained weight!! That’s right, this would not have happened in my previous decade!

    So what am I willing to give up? Waking up with normal people…waking up slowly and curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, while the children are blissfully asleep and I can think three thoughts without being interrupted.

    It turns out that giving up calories makes me feel like I’m going to faint…all day. Who can work like that? So for me, it has to be exercise, and if I’m going to get any type of regular, consistent exercise it has to be done before my duties as giver, provider and nurturer begin at 6:00 AM.

    So I am out at 5;00 AM, 3 days on, 1 day off running my 3.1 miles, not to turn my body back to the mannequin that it once was (apparently that would require starvation), but to prevent it from turning into an elephant.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jul 19, 2013 @ 22:37:49

      Is it possible you gained that 7 lbs in muscle? Because that’s a lot of exercise. The starvation thing definitely doesn’t work anymore after a certain age. I hate to say this, but I never had to work too, too hard to stay thin. Sure, I wouldn’t eat much, but that was no biggie since food isn’t a big thrill for me anyway. But now…now I have to work hard, and sacrifice, and I’m not liking it one bit.

      I admire you for getting up early to run. That is no small feat. It’s so very easy to come up with excuses not to do something. What I keep telling myself is that not only does exercise give me a bit more energy to face the day, but it also keeps me from yelling constantly at my son (most of the time).

      Reply

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