Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bye, bye American Pie...and bread...and pasta. Hello 40something metabolism.

I'd heard the rumors. You get older. The natural metabolism of your 20s is replaced with unnatural energy created in part by chasing and driving children around in your 30s when suddenly -- POOF -- it just up and disappears one day in your mid-40s.

At 44, the thought of not being able to indulge in my pasta and breads at will made me strangely sad. Growing up, my family social life was based around food and meals. My parents had dinner parties and growing up in the Midwest with Oklahoma blood, meat and potatoes was a staple diet. Then my Dad got transferred and the family moved to New Orleans where jambalaya, daiquiris and red beans and rice are king and the heat slows everyone to slow down and drink iced tea on the deck and not really care about calorie intake or expenditures too much.  Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the Good Times roll)!

I tried going vegan -- or rather porkless -- for awhile. And despite my families memory I also went vegetarian for a spell. But tofu didn't replace a good steak. And cheese -- oh friend cheese -- was just too delicious to say good-bye too.

In college I easily put on a hefty freshman 25 with frat party beers, Dominos delivery and carb central cafeterias at the dorm. Thankfully, I was blessed with a pretty high natural metabolism so a few walks across campus and swimming seemed to suffice and I remained a plump but very happy freshman coed. Shortly after I met my beloved husband in 1989. I was happy with who I was and how I looked and apparently he was too. We got married in 1991 and will celebrate 22 years of mostly wedded bliss on Saturday.

He's been good for my health. Introducing me to nightly salads (again?) and regular exercise. I still wanted my bread and potatoes with my meal ("what do you mean we are only having salad and burgers?") but I discovered running and yoga and wanted to set a good example for my kiddos.

In a world today which is so image and weight conscious I don't want to care too much about the number on the scale. I grew up in a somewhat diet obsessed household and to this day will not touch cottage cheese or Slimfast type, chalk-tasting shakes. I want my kids and other young people to love who they are. That doesn't mean they can't have a healthy lifestyle but it doesn't mean they have to look like Victoria Secret models or The Bachelor contestants either.

Still, today's youthful society is about image and instant gratification. Kids are bombarded on their smartphones and Instagrams with images of celebrities and other youth that somehow lead them to  believe that those are the "norm" in body types.

So while I'm going to be a little more carb-conscious in my middle age, I have no plans to say good-bye to my good friends, spaghetti, cookies, French bread, biscuits or mashed potatoes entirely. Life IS too short. Just gotta find the balance and roll with it!

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