All the women in my family are voluptuous. Zaftig. Generously padded with fleshy fleshliness. At least that’s what we would be in a Rubens painting. In modern parlance, one might say fat – if one were an insensitive boor.
Enter my sister Terry.
Last week, she issued a challenge: join her in her quest to lose weight and get healthy. She threw the gauntlet down - right into a bowl of cottage cheese. She’s putting her own money where her mouth is. Or where her mouth should not be. The prize? $250.
If she wins the challenge, she gets to keep her money. If not, she has to break open her piggy bank (sorry, poor choice of words). That’s her incentive to stick with it.
Terry is a teacher. As a group, I think they get an incredible burst of end-of-year, no-more-students-dirty-looks energy once the last grade report has been filed. They start making lists of things to accomplish over the summer. Apparently, “Get Healthy And Hot Before I Die” made it to the top of her list.
Looking at photos from a recent family wedding may have given her a clue that this was not a bad goal for the rest of us, either. Terry sent an email blast to our sisters, Mom and sisters-in-law. The last are all in varying degrees of much better shape than us, but the invitation was extended to all, nonetheless.
The response was under-whelming. You could hear crickets chirping over the interweb.
Some years ago, a much-loved uncle asked, “Why are all you girls overweight?” Much- loved, but pretty damn tactless. That comment has stuck with me. When I called Terry for details on the challenge, I was surprised when she mentioned the same, careless remark. Tactlessness aside, it’s a tough question to answer. Our brothers are in great shape. So why do all the girls overeat?
I don’t know.
My Mom and sisters were thin as kids and only gained weight as adults. Not me. I have struggled with this all of my life.
When I was 13, my Mom took me to Weight Watchers. She only needed to lose a few pounds, but she came along to help me. Getting on a scale in front of strangers, being the only kid in a room full of fat adults, the group leader’s cheerleader-on-crack zeal for stuff like faux bread pudding (diet tips straight from God’s mouth to Jean Neidich’s ear)…I know Mom meant well, but God Almighty, I think that experience scarred me for life.
But, and it’s a big butt (sorry), I know I need to lose weight. The older I get, it becomes as much about health as looking good. Diabetes runs heavily in my Dad’s family, and heart disease in my Mom’s. Talk about doing a lousy job picking your parents!
Our brother’s widow and our other two brothers (thin people all) generously offered additional cash and prizes to encourage us. Sweetening the pot, as it were, but with Equal.
I signed on the dotted line. Surprisingly, every one of my sisters and Mom did as well.
So it begins. I’ll keep you posted on our progress through the summer, carefully editing out any parts that are less than complimentary to me.
I’m really hoping for the best, for the sake of my family’s health. If only you could meet them, you would see that each of these women is strong, loving, and funny and deserves only the best in life. And if you did meet them, you could show your appreciation by treating them to a banana split.