Saturday, April 6, 2013

For My Midlife Crisis, I Got a Minivan and a Spare Tire

Most women in their mid-forties are sending their kids off to college, trading in their SUVs for sedans, and hitting their professional stride. Being the late bloomer that I am, however, I am potty-training my children, trading in my sedan for a minivan, and planning for my second career as a homeschool teacher. I am NOT a typical midlife crisis-er.

But what IS typical about me is that I am finding myself fighting the battle of the midlife bulge. I always assumed that women gained weight because they were no longer chasing small children, because their careers settled into more sedentary positions, because they were no longer as conscious of having healthy snacks on hand for the kids, and because they gave up going to the gym. Now I am realizing that when a woman turns 40, she puts on weight for no other reason than that her metabolism goes on strike.

I have not changed anything about my lifestyle. I'm not eating more or exercising less. In fact, if anything, I'm eating less and exercising more. I'm chasing two kids around instead of just one, and #1 can run faster than I can. I dropped my baby weight from both kids shortly after they were born (that's not bragging; I had 24/7 morning sickness for 9 months with both pregnancies, so there wasn't much spare weight to drop, and with two nearly 10-pound babies, I didn't have to do anything other than carry them around to drop the little weight I did have to lose). But during those intervening years, and particularly over the past year or so, those pesky little pounds have snuck up on me and left me with a jiggly mama-pooch - a "spare tire," if you will.

I don't have a lot of weight to lose. My reasonable goal weight is only about 12 pounds less than I weigh now. The point isn't so much the numbers on the scale as it is the jiggle factor. I used to be able to wear a clingy top without thinking twice. Now I have to do a "visible bellybutton and muffin top" check every time I put on a fitted shirt. I have to align the top of my pantyhose with the waistband of my skirt to avoid a visible bulge. I have to do a little dance to squeeze my thighs into my jeans. My butt rides a bit lower than it used to.

I own a pair of Spanx.

It's time for me to start fighting gravity. And my hormones. I'm not a gym person, so taking a spinning class or an aerobics class or even a Jazzercise class is probably not for me. I need something I can do at home. More importantly, I need something I WILL do at home. So when a friend challenged her Facebook friends to a "30 Day Squat Challenge," I accepted.

And regretted it almost immediately. Especially when I got to squat number 27 on Day 1 and thought I might pass out when I realized I still had 23 more to go. This challenge might just kill me. But if it doesn't, maybe my butt will have stopped sliding down the back of my thighs just a little. If it doesn't, maybe my thighs will have stopped sliding down the front of my thighs just a little. If it doesn't, maybe it will spur me on to spending more time on the treadmill and outside walking with the kids. If it doesn't, maybe I'll have dropped a pound or two of that 12.

And if it does kill me, at least my flabby butt won't be visible in the coffin.

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