As people my age – classmates, co-workers, and friends – start to develop knee or back issues, thyroid problems, get diagnosed with cancer, or have strokes, it's made me realize getting healthy isn't something I should put off. It's not something to add to my list of things to do and let get buried under "plan a birthday party" and "make limoncello".
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I know others who post pictures of their latest "fun" runs, marathons, half marathons, 10k's, and triathlons. Their accomplishments make me yearn for the body that effortlessly moves in the ballet of the athlete.
Still, as forty inches ever closer, I'm beginning to know myself in a way I didn't when I was in my twenties or early thirties. I know I can't give up bread and cheese or wine because life without those three lovely items dims. I know I enjoy a rich French onion soup topped with a smoked Gruyere cheese more than I do a grilled chicken breast and steamed vegetables. I know gelato is the food of the gods.
I don't want to give up the things I love and take on the things I don't. So what's a mommy to do? I'm trying, ever so subtly, to shift my thought process and how I view food and exercise. Instead of a diet, I'm working on being mindful of the food I eat, to only eat it if I love it and to savor each bite. I'm working on showing my children by example that exercise can be a hike or a bike ride. It doesn't have to be a trip to the gym and it doesn't have to hurt.
Will my approach work? I hope so. I want my cake and eat it too.