An Open Letter of Apology to My Metabolism
Once upon a time, when I was in my early 20’s, I used to love grocery shopping. Maybe love is too strong a word, but I enjoyed shopping. As a new adult with a car and a paycheck, I thrilled to the freedom of buying whatever treats I wanted, no questions asked.
In my 20’s, “treats” equated to a cart full of chocolate, microwave popcorn, full-strength soda and alcohol. The cashier would look at my stuff, shake her head at me and say, “It’s nice to be young.” Not only am I amazed that I did not weigh 400 pounds, I’m also pretty impressed my teeth are still in my head, despite all the sugar.
I’d like to give a shout out to the metabolism of my 20’s (and most 20-year-old women’s metabolisms, in general): You do an amazing job, truly.
In my 30’s, grocery shopping lost some luster. Know why? ‘Cause the metabolism of my 30’s (and most 30-year-old women’s metabolisms, in general) was a raving effing b**** who turned on me one day without warning. One night she was all, “Hey! Let’s drink some cocktails and eat cheese fries!” and the next day she’s like, “Figure this s*** out on your own. Peace out.” And I was like, “Wait! Come back Metabolism! I’m sorry!”
Salad ingredients entered the shopping cart in an attempt to woo her back, but as soon as I’d eat one cupcake she’d get all mad and leave again, and I’d gain back whatever I lost plus two more pounds, ’cause she was German.
So “treats” in my 30’s were Lean Cuisine TV dinners, which were just proxies for the foods I really wanted: lasagna and fettuccine alfredo. But then came pregnancy, nursing, yo-yo dieting to lose the weight, then pregnancy, nursing, and yo-yo dieting again, and my poor 30-something metabolism was so overwhelmed she just curled in the fetal position and gave up on me.
As my pant size grew, my husband suggested I switch from pasta Lean Cuisines to chicken and broccoli ones. As I was already not eating the good stuff, just a watered-down, unsalted version of the food of my past, to then have to only digest boxed frozen vegetables and dry chicken was like smothering all the joy in my life, so I’d buy the chicken and veggies ones, but stop at the McDonald’s drive through on the way home.
It was my own personal revolt. “You can’t make me eat healthy, you evil 30 Something Metabolism! You’re not the boss of me!” I shouted!
She answered with size 14 pants. I hated her. But then I fell into bodybuilding and learned about clean eating, and we’ve repaired our relationship. Somewhat.
See, now I’m 40, and to be perfectly honest my metabolism is kind of lazy. I think she must be a union worker or something, because I have to do ALL the work for her to even show up. Seriously, I have to eat tilapia and asparagus twice a day if I want to see any tightening of my belt.
To gain weight though? Oh that’s a piece of cake! If I even look at a brownie at the grocery store, 40-year-old Metabolism will waive directional flags to the sugar and fat to attach to my stomach and thighs. 40-year-old Metabolism is sitting on her ass drinking a full-fat Starbucks caramel macchiato, chitchatting with a nearby 50-year-old Metabolism, who is telling her all sorts of fun tricks to play on me once menopause sets in.
I’d like to take a moment now, and sincerely apologize to my metabolism from my 20’s. You were so good to me. I didn’t deserve you. You did all the hard work and I took all the credit for my size 5 jeans, since I did a yoga video once a month, thinking that meant something. Lies. It was ALL YOU, 20 Something Metabolism.
Metabolism of my 30’s: I get why you left me. In my defense, the internet was only newly created, so I wasn’t really able to figure out on my own anything about nutrition. I thought I was doing the right thing by eating packaged food that said, “Low-cal, nonfat, gluten-free, tastes like paper.” Your leaving me was difficult, but a good wake up call.
Metabolism of today: I’m so thankful that you came back to me. I fully understand that you own my ass, and if I don’t feed you healthy whole foods six times a day plus a gallon of water and exercise consistently you will be mean to me.
And I’m also aware that sometimes, on very rare occasions, I can confuse and distract you, and eat a cupcake and miraculously lose weight the next day, because you don’t always make sense. Or maybe, just maybe, my 20 Something Metabolism visits briefly before you hunt her down and make her leave.
I’m off to the grocery store now to purchase some green beans and lament what was. *Sigh*
How about you? Do you notice changes with your metabolism as you age?
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