It Used to Be So Simple

Once upon a time, if anyone asked me how old I was, I could give them a reasonably accurate number. (I say 'reasonably accurate' because some years it seems harder to remember than other years.) There was a time this past year when I just told people that my BODY was 80 years old but my brain was still about fourteen so it sort of averaged out. But mostly, I told people who asked my real age: 43.

This week, I have been taking stock because (I'm serious this time) I am making my resolutions for the New Year and, um, the rest of my life. I am not normally an Oprah watcher but I've been watching her talk show this week because, y'all, Oprah is channeling my LIFE. She received a medical diagnosis two years ago (hypothyroidism) and it so threw her for a loop that she fell off of the fitness and nutrition wagon and she's all furious with herself now. But she's picking herself up, forty pounds heavier, and she's getting back on the wagon.

Doesn't that sound so familiar? I, too, received a medical diagnosis two years ago that totally turned my life upside down when it resulted in having my foot rebuilt. (Okay, so I've been dying to tell you all this but since this is a G-rated blog (mostly), I have refrained. When I first went to see my new podiatrist in Queens, after much examination of all that had been done during surgery and all the areas in which I still have pain, and an MRI, and multiple conversations with my doctor back in Austin, etc., etc., he gave me his Official Diagnosis. I have a FULF-- a "F**ked Up Left Foot. I dunno. Will insurance pay to treat that?) I, too, used my diagnosis as an excuse to get off the exercise/fitness wagon. I, too, am furious at myself and more than a little embarrassed.

Also, truly not that excited about the long road back.

So, I've been figuring out my plan for launching my recovery right along with Oprah, because we're likethis, don't ya know. The thing about Oprah is that she's very good at framing these things in a positive way. Where I have been sitting on the couch, mentally beating myself up over finding myself (at the ripe old age of 43) fatter and flabbier than ever before in my LIFE, Oprah's been ON it. First, she's THANKING her body for having given her the opportunity to see how she has been neglecting herself. Then she's putting herself on her To-Do list again. She says that once she stopped budgeting some time to take care of herself, all of the other demands on her simply ate up all of her time.

Um, yeah. I get that. But I am not to the part of THANKING my body for this opportunity, exactly. I'm more in the punishing my body stage.

Let's see, now. Which approach is healthier?

So, ANYWAY, I've been doing some assessing. Santa brought my children a Wii this year and they've been adorable in doing the Wii Fit fitness tests. One thing the Wii Fit program makes you do is a fitness test at the beginning of every work out in order to determine your Wii Age. As far as I can tell, this consists of you telling it your height, standing on the balance board so it can weigh you and then doing a little exercise where you stand as still as possible. Mostly, this is done by gripping the balance board with your toes.

I have very strong toes.

My Wii Fit age is 37.

JANE, who is eight in real years, has a Wii Fit Age of 34. Because apparently the only parts of her body NOT made of muscle are her toes.

My husband, who is a very disciplined exerciser and who has more muscle in his pinkie finger than I have in my entire body, had an initial Wii Fit age of something like 57.

Clearly, the Wii Fit is not really the most credible judge of health.

Then I took the test that everyone on Oprah had taken. Click here to take it yourself. I was really honest taking the test, but there is no place in it to explain any extenuating circumstances. Like, I HAD cancer but I've been in remission for almost twenty years. And also? Telling me I can WALK my way to health is not really that helpful, being as how I can barely walk to the mailbox. But whatever, my RealAge age is 46.9. Not too far off but not great. And I have to admit here (because, you know, I have no pride) that both the Wii Fit and RealAge told me I was overweight. (Which already I knew, thank you.)

Maybe, in the end, the old platitude about being only as old as you feel is still the best measure and right now, I feel a lot older than I am. So, whatever my age, I'm on the exercise/fitness/health wagon once again. I'm also working on a new strategy where I don't just beat the crap out of myself for finding myself in this situation. I own it, I accept responsibility but I am not going to look back anymore. I wish things were different but they aren't so it is time to take action. Today, I got on the exercise bike for more than 30 minutes and then I did sit-ups.

It's a start and at my age, I don't have any time to lose.

(I'm kind of excited because I think I found the key to making myself get on, and stay on, the exercise bike. I'm watching movies. Today I watched part of "When Harry Met Sally," which I haven't seen in years. I was enjoying it so much I didn't want to stop pedaling and then I did a gazillion crunches just to watch some more. It's probably not the most FOCUSED exercise I've ever done but I think the point is that I, uh, DID SOMETHING. And I guess if I get really engrossed in something, maybe I'll do two-a-days!)


Karen said…
GOOD FOR YOU!!!! I was really good on Wii Fit over the summer, but somehow lost the will during the school year (and have no medical diagnosis to blame. Perhaps I have a FULB? [B = brain]

You are inspiring me to pull that Wii Fit board out from under the couch where it has been discarded.
Kathy Ireland said…
I am 45.6 (but don't forget, I am 8 months younger than you so no surprise, we're basically the exact same age.
Unknown said…
maybe you should hook the TV up so riding the bike generates the power for the tv...? just an idea form a complete couch potato. I am however, eating much less than I used to and losing weight (15 pounds so far) now I just have to add in the exercise...
LaDonna said…
Well, I got 42.3. Could be worse since I'm 38.4. Actually, I'm really excited because this weekend, we're going treadmill shopping. When we lived in apartment complexes, I used to frequent the fitness room treadmills quite often. My BIL says it will turn into a glorfied clothes hanger, but I'm determined not to let that happen!
Anonymous said…
I would wish you luck, but it sounds like you don't need it! I, too, enjoy watching movies and TV series while exercising. My latest obsession is Dexter...
Anonymous said…
I've been using the wii fit regularly. The exercises you do at the beginning vary. Sometimes it gives me a very nice wii fit age - often one even younger than I am. Other times it is dreadful. Basically I have good posture, but I can't stand on one foot for anything. And yes, I'm way overweight.

Note- if you gain weight from session to session it wants to know why. It has no box to check that says "today was not one of my diuretic days". Just saying.
MadMad said…
Can I just say, please, that I TOLD you about the movie thing last year?! Also, TV series - you can catch up on all the shows you didn't get a chance to watch when they were on TV. Also the British version of Coupling, which actually caused me to FALL off the TREADMILL, I was laughing so hard.

As an aside, I watched Oprah Day 1 (Days 2,3, 5 not so much, though I've Ti-Voed todays, ahem.) and was just sad about it. Here she is, this amazing person who has done so much, and SHE'S feeling bad about her weight and embarrassed to get up on stage. Does it all always boil down to weight for us? If even she thinks we care what she looks like, after all she's done, and who she is, what hope is there for the rest of us?!
Kathy Ireland said…
I'm with Madmad on this too. It really should be about being healthy - not how you look. Seriously.

One of the words that I hate is SKINNY.

I almost yelled at my friend at lunch today as we spoke about another friend - who is gorgeous - but as my lunch partner said "her body type is not ideal"

Miri said…
BRILLIANT! Not only am I moving the treadmill to where I can see a tv, but I'm going right over to that website.
I used to knit on the exercise bike - the water bottle holder held my skein very nicely.
Anonymous said…
I have to admit that I can't even watch Day 1. Yet. I've started with Suzy Orman, then I backtracked to the happiness show. The other three are sitting dormant on my DVD. That aside, you look fabulous! AND, you are will always be at least two years younger than I am. This next birthday is going to send me over the edge, I tell ya! How old do I feel? Um, some days 35; some days 80!
Barb Matijevich said…
MadMad, I had the same reaction to Oprah. (And had the exact same viewing pattern as you!) But for me, it's not so much about the weight as it is enjoying my own body. When I am slim and strong, I feel so much more ALIVE. I have more endurance to keep up with my kids and I... just feel great in my own clothes. Hell, in my SKIN. I am old enough to not worry so much about what other people think of me (except my husband) but I hate how I feel about MYSELF.

And also, this is something I can work on, whereas there's not much I can do about my FULF and the chronic pain thing. Which, honestly, may be the most important part of my new regime--not feeling like I'm at the mercy of my traitor body.

OH, and thank you for the movie suggestion way back when. It just didn't click with me that they didn't have to be...Lance Armstrong videos. That I could actually watch Chick Flicks. Dude, time flew!!
Annabanana said…
I've got the bike trainer all set up, and the week of Oprah's on the if only I could get my fanny on the seat and DO IT! Barb, if you can do it then I should do it, eh? And thanks for the RL link, I feel a little better, my chrono age is 47, and RealAge says 39.4 - I'll take it!
Yup, I agree with you, Barb: It's all about feeling good in your skin, not just your clothes. Carry less weight and you feel better! One of the things that's helped me take off the pounds is the calorie counting apps you can get for the Iphone. I recommend Lose It!. The app from Live Strong is good, too, but it keeps updating the server which is annoying and takes time.
DK said…
I almost snorted wine out my nose (this is part of my new anxiety-inducing flight to health of late) at the FULF. A, that's such a New York diagnosis. And 2,'s well stated. Sadly, though, I don't think you can code for that on a billing sheet.

As for the rest.... well, you and I have had this conversation enough that you know my take on it. I totally support the desire to get strong and healthy. I think you need to STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, but I understand why you do it. And I'm so totally with MadMad's assessment of Oprah's situation.

And they haven't told me my real age yet (why does it take 1-2 hours??), but I guarantee you my real age is, in fact, 30.2 years. No more, no less. Youth is not the great utopia as which we all remember it.
Watson said…
Know the problem! I quit smoking and gained 40 pounds overnight! (But I breathe better!) I passed 70 years last July, and the weight is glued on for the duration. The problem is all those people _losing_ weight! Where are the pounds they lose going to go? They don't want to just circle the Universe. So they stick right on me, of course.

So please direct your lost poundage to somewhere harmless ... a deserted island maybe. And have fun with the Wii, with Oprah, with trying out new recipes that are healthy. I'm cheering for you!

Barbara Cooper in Canada