When I was in Europe 15 years ago, no one could guess what country I was from. I was too dark to be English (plus I had no accent), not dark nor blonde enough to be Spanish (plus I had no accent), and I was really too chubby to be European of any nationality. I certainly couldn’t possibly be American because I was quiet, polite, inquisitive, respectful, and not arrogant. But American I was and American I am and 15 years later, I am still short, dark, and chubby.
My husband loves short and dark. He finds my brown eyes and black hair and olive complexion most attractive among a sea of blonde haired, blue eyed, pasty white skinned soccer moms, which I don’t understand but I’ll take it. However, the chubby is something we both struggle with. Don’t get me wrong! He still finds me attractive and I still feel sexy and we have a healthy sex life, but I would be so much more confident if I could look like I used to and he worries about my health, rightfully so. It doesn’t help that in the back of my mind, I keep hearing words he said back when I lost a ton of weight with Overeaters Anonymous. He loved my new, thin, body, and said it was such a relief after my being so chubby for so long. That was great until I gained the weight back. He never said anything mean or derogatory, but I knew he longed for the days when I was the perfect size to complement his size.
After coming back from my trip to New England in January/February, I weighed more than I’ve weighed in five years. It’s not my highest weight, but it’s getting there. I couldn’t even fit into my fat clothes. The only thing that fits are knit skirts with elastic waistbands and t-shirts. Fortunately, I have plenty of both, but I’m sick of wearing them. It was long past time to do something.
I love to swim. I can spend hours in the water, backstroking across the English Channel in my mind. I have waterproof music, so I can swim until my battery dies. I feel graceful and light and athletic when I am in the water. I decided I need a pool if I’m going to stick to any kind of exercise regimen. I looked at various pools around town and it was a nightmare! The JCC has a fabulous pool but it’s outdoors and in the summer, there will be 50 million kids splashing around, plus they have limited hours. UIW has my favorite pool, but the parking situation is ridiculous, plus their locker room is beyond disgusting. The public natatoriums are filthy, the locker rooms make me wretch (I once saw the same used tampon on a shelf for a month in spite of my complaining about it every other day), they have limited hours, and they are expensive. A few of the school districts have their own natatoriums, but again, limited hours and expensive.
No matter where I went, it was going to be expensive. I started looking at gyms, which around here is Gold’s Gym. I saw five that were decent, but the pools weren’t very clean and they were crowded. However, there is a gym about 30 minutes from my house that has a gorgeous, clean pool with clean lockers and is loaded with amenities, but it is pricey; about three times what a regular Gold’s membership costs. Ron very generously agreed that it was worth it if it meant I would swim regularly. So I joined last week and let me tell you, with that price tag hanging over my head, I’m swimming, dammit!
I’ve missed one day out of four, which isn’t bad. It takes me almost four hours from start to finish to swim one mile. A lot of that is travel time to the gym and back. Even without travel time, it’s three hours. I have to gather my stuff from where I put it all out to dry, change clothes, rinse off, swim (which takes about an hour and a half), then shower, change clothes, come home and hang everything out to dry again. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is.
On top of that, I sleep about twelve hours a day to compensate for the exercise. While yes, my body is less sore, the payoff is that I am more tired. When I’m awake, I’m more energetic than when I don’t swim, but I’m not awake for as long. What it comes down to is that 16 hours of my day is taken up by sleeping and swimming.
All of this puts my husband on the other side of the fence. Now he’s telling me to slow down, not to swim, not to go to the gym, to take it easy. This is what ALWAYS happens. He teases me that I need to exercise, but when I do, he insists that I’m overdoing it and need to rest.
This time, I am not listening to him. I’m not listening to anyone except myself. I will know when I’m overdoing it, but until that time, swimming is my focus. I will Nike this bitch one day at a time, one lap at a time. I don’t care what time of day I have to swim, I will “Just do it.” I can’t do anything about short, I can’t do anything about dark, but I can certainly change chubby.