In the mid-1990’s I had the privilege of working with a fabulous older woman who had lived a life, a life much different than I could imagine for myself. Viola had lived in Hollywood, through the early days of MGM, with ties to both. In her late 80’s when I met her, she was refined. Cultured. Dignified. Witty. Funny. And willing to share her life.
One day she strolled her Manhattan neighborhood when she spotted on the same sidewalk another woman. She thought, “What is that old woman doing in that red dress; inappropriate for her age”. As she noticed the look of disdain on her own face as she reflected in a storefront window, she realized she was the one in the red dress. Horrified, she turned on her heels and went home. She mulled it over. She wrote about it. And several years post she told me.
I put on my own red dress a couple of days ago. I did not run the streets of NYC in my dress, but I did make it all the way to the gym and found myself in a small room with a 20-something fitness trainer.
My red dress came in the form of belly fat. I was having my body composition measured.
Now, I look at my belly pretty regularly. I try not to roll my eyes and say “Good Gawd, Woman, How Do You Even Go Out In Public?!”, but I see it when I do yoga, notice it wanting to form it a muffin top, hide it under smock-like clothing. And admit that it’s getting bigger than I like it to be.
But when this…girl…came in with the ultra-sound to measure it, I looked at it with professional eyes, not the eyes of the woman who wanted a glass of wine with her cheese. I looked down, looked away, looked down again and couldn’t believe it belonged to me. Like Viola, I wondered just when I had gotten “old”. Where have the years gone? When did I become so un-savvy to the ways of the world and my health? And when young miss measured the adipose over my pelvis, the view and thought was much the same.
I came home and had that glass of wine. And a piece of cheese. Or five pieces. And got back on track.
Getting back in balance can be easy at times. At others it can take a commitment of serious proportions. This is about as serious as I’ve had to get in a long time. For the health of it.
My body fat level is too high; I’ve just moved into the “obese” category. Now let me also say that the average American woman has about the same body fat level as I, maybe a little more. But the average American is fat and out of shape and unhealthy and I don’t desire to be her. Anymore.
Interestingly enough, this is the first time in my life that I’ve been told to lose significant weight. (Total disclosure…a good fighting weight, my “game weight”, you know…is about 155 lbs. I weight 165 now.) According to the norms they use, I need to weigh no more than 149 pound. Interesting. Devastating. So much change.
So first I’m committing to losing 7 pounds and putting on 3-5 pounds of muscles. That makes a significant change in my body fat percentage.
And maybe I won’t but a new red dress, although Viola was wearing one at 80 years of age. Or maybe I will.