Though I’ve been overweight for much of my adult life, I was never debilitated by it. Up until about 1999 or so, I could and did walk long distances, did Tai Chi and yoga, could walk up and down stairs without trouble, despite weighing at times the equivalent of two regular-sized women. I had some back problems, but that was intermittent and more related to my tendency to be accident prone (and to having an ample bosom) than to my weight or state of health, since it started long before I ever became significantly overweight.
Sometime during the year or so leading up to my pulmonary embolism at the beginning of 2000, and worsening significantly in the years following, my body started to break down. There isn’t a moment that I am awake or asleep that at least one part of my body doesn’t ache, a constant miasma of unwellness. From the top of my head, where the remnants of past fractures make my hair follicles hurt, to the constant ache in lymph nodes under my arm and jaw, to the aches and pains in every joint — arthritic fingers and toes; elbows and knees that bore the brunt of too many clumsy falls and broken bones; the almost permanently torn rotator cuffs from bra straps that struggle and fail to win against gravity.
That’s not even considering the other physical complaints and breathing that feels as though someone is sitting on your chest all the time. I feel permanently oxygen-starved. I can’t concentrate. I have the attention span of a squirrel. I feel like I’m constantly recovering from the achy, feverish, tired, slightly-drugged effects of the flu. I’ve put up with it all for so long, barely able to muster the interest to note the issues, let alone actually do something about them. A few half-hearted past efforts failed, unsurprisingly, because I just couldn’t sustain the attention long enough to break old habits and build up new ones, resulting a Catch-22 situation as neglect results in more and more damage to a body already under extreme duress, which in turn exacerbates the mental and emotional issues leading to more self-abuse and neglect, and the cycle continues.
It really needs to stop.
I turn 45 in a couple of months, and I have the body of a 90-year-old. A sick, frail 90-year-old. If I want to see 46, I need to smarten the hell up.
Not tomorrow. Not in a month. Now.
Little steps can lead to big results, but only if you actually take those first steps. I know what I need to do, I just need to figure out how best to sustain my wandering attention span until better habits are in place and can sustain themselves. Weird as it may sound, I may end up having to temporarily rely on 5-Hour Energy as a daily supplement instead of an occasional pick-me-up, since it is one of the few things that actually helps me to concentrate when my mind is all over the place. (It’s certainly the only reason that I was even capable of writing and publishing this post, which would otherwise have remained a half-formed thought in my Drafts folder for months.)