Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I went to my well woman visit thing last week, and the doctor strongly encouraged me to lose weight. Strongly. Or else bad things will happen at some point in the not so distant future.

I get really stressy about anything medical. Anything. So I make the appointment, and then I stress out for two months about it (It would be SO less stressful if you could get an appointment in less than two months!). I fret and worry and stress. And then it's not actually that bad, and I wonder why I get so stressy. (Weirdly, I don't stress at all about donating blood, or I simply wouldn't do it. I don't know why, but my blood pressure when I donate is about 20 points lower for the top number than when I go for the well woman check. They always have to check it twice, and it drops after a while to way less scary.)

I had to go have a blood lab thing yesterday, and the guy took one look at my arm and said he would use a really tiny needle. But I said that I give blood a lot (obvious from the line of scars) and that he should use whatever big honking needle they use for that, and it would be fine. And he looked doubtful, but he did, and indeed it was fine. Now I have to wait to see if bad things have already started to happen. And I'm a little stressy about that, too.

So, I need to lose weight. I just have to decide that I really want to enough to do without sugary stuff in a strict way, and I can. But boy, that's a hard decision for real. If I were all dramatic about it, I'd wave my arms and talk about quality of life. But it's just sugar, right? Mmmm, sugar.

So, on Sunday, I started being strict. And it's going okay. But I went out biking a bit yesterday, and my legs were sad. I biked the Cty C hill, out 8 miles and back(the hill part is about a mile long, and steep for me, but would barely count as a pimple in the landscape for the Tour men; after that it's a mildly rolly ride). And by the way back, my legs were sad. I've got to find a balance between being strict and eating food that works for biking.

About 10 years ago, I lost 25 pounds being very strict. And I've gained most of it back, mostly within the past year. :( So I know I can lose it, but I think I'm going to not be quite as strict (when I go out to dinner with friends, for example). I also exercise a whole lot more than I did 10 years ago, so hopefully I can balance things out.

I can't bring myself to think about how much I should aim to lose. :(

***I wrote that part earlier, and then went for my Wednesday group ride a bit ago. It's a slower ride and less hilly, but longer, and my legs were way better. I tried to make sure I had eaten a bit better and drank a lot of water. BUT, on a regular "work out" ride, my average heart rate is about 154 for the hour or hour and a half, and on this ride my average rate was 142. So I know I don't work nearly as hard on these rides. But they're fun rides and I like the group folks.***

I'm about to hit the big 50. A couple of my friends are throwing me a party. I'm feeling a little awkward about it, but also good. I just chatted with one of the really good cook folks, and she's going to bake me a cake. (That will blow the "strict" thing for the day, but that's okay.)

I have to decide about asking my sibling and his family. The thing is, I'm not out with my family, but at this party, they'd have to be incredibly obtuse to not notice that there are a lot of lesbians.

I think my brother would be okay. I know my sister in law will be fine.

But I grew up with a mother who lectured me a lot about how horrible "homos" are. In fact, the last big fight I had with her (probably 15 years ago now), she was insisting that gay marriage was an insult to her marriage, and I dared to say that it wasn't, and she said that basically I didn't have a right to an opinion because she is my mother and blah blah. So I told her that if I weren't allowed to express a differing opinion, then she couldn't talk politics at me. Period. And I've pretty much shut down every attempt she's made since to say anything political. (A few years after my father died, she said she'd decided that maybe gay marriage wasn't such a horrible idea after all.)

So, it's just been easier never to say anything to her. (I haven't told her anything meaningful about my personal life for years before that, because she thinks my business is everyone's business. Seriously, when I was in high school she'd meet some friend at a restaurant, and then I'd walk up from the restroom, and the stranger would tell me about how they'd been talking about my period or my failing a school quiz.)

And I'm a coward. Have I mentioned that before? Yes, I'm a coward. COWARD.

So I have to decide to tell my brother. And then my Mom will inevitably find out. So I should probably mention it to her before that. And then there will be fireworks simply because I'm an uncommunicative and horrible daughter who should have told her years ago. And that's true. I am uncommunicative.


  1. I'm sorry that there will be fireworks. Is there any chance that they may have figured it out already? I hope it goes as well as possible for you.

  2. Meh. I'm uncommunicative too; what's wrong with uncommunicative? I'd probably just try to keep it at the status quo, myself.

    Sorry that that whole thing sucks. And about the health stuff. But hey! You are biking a lot and that must be helping make you stronger!!!! And maybe you could eat oatmeal or some sort of lean protein for the rides???

  3. It sounds as though your mother has changed, maybe, if she's decided that gay marriage is all right? At any rate, good luck with the party.

  4. Anonymous10:19 PM're being told to lose weight just in case before there's any evidence that anything is wrong with you?

  5. I'm sorry about the fireworks as well..

    Also, are you sure that having your family at your party will lead to the fireworks? I found that, as a straight woman without kids, many of my friends are lesbians -- mostly because they tend not to be wrapped up in 'kid world', That was especially true in my 30s -- now, some of my friends who had kids early have independent kids, so we end up hanging out more.

    Point being -- the presence of more than an average number of lesbians at your party won't necessarily make her conclude that you are one as well.This is especially true if she has lots of negative attitudes toward homosexuality. She won't want to admit that HER daughter is one of THEM.

    Please don't take this to indicate that I think you should stay in the closet with them -- but, just that you don't necessarily have to tell them before your party.

  6. Thanks for the supportive comments, all.

    Terminal, Could be. I think my sister in law probably has, anyway.

    Sisyphus, Yes, the biking is WAY better than not :)

    Undine, I think she's less homophobic than she was, at any rate.

    Anastasia, I'm pre-diabetic, according to my blood test last year. So this year, maybe I'm actually diabetic. The idea in either case is that I need to lose weight to prevent the problems that come with diabetes.

    Inside the Philosophy Factory, There won't be fireworks at the party. My Mom won't be at the party; she's across country. It will be phone fireworks with her.

  7. Bet they already know that you are a lesbian. I wouldn't say a thing.

    You are 50, you are a big girl now. I'm sure you love your family but you have a bigger family of friends now, a calling as much as a career (I know because your blog is the most intelligent and perceptive I read0. You don't owe anyone an apology or an explanation.

    Why not two parties? Have a wonderful blowout with your true friend-family, then a quiet dinner with family.

  8. I also lost 20lbs about 10 years ago, and gained it ALL back, plus 10 more in the past year in a half. Ugh. It's been really demoralizing. So as of Monday, I'm back on a diet. No more than 1500 calories a day (and even that is probably a bit much--isn't it amazing how few calories are required even when you're active? You bike all the time! I work out 4-5 days a week, and still I need <1500 calories). Anyway, just writing to say that I'm there with you. Maybe if we both write about it from time to time we can be online support for each other.

  9. Sitting here nodding my head at the family dynamic in play....I'm out to all my family but the level of communication is still so low that family + friends events are somewhat strained some of the time (but then, sometimes not, in ways that are happy surprises). No advice to offer, but much sympathy.

    Bill Hart-Davidson (another English prof) has written about his weight loss, pre-diabetes work--you might be interested in his exercise blog at

  10. you know what? you're doing the "piling on of terribles" -- that thing that sinks so many students, and that still blindsides so many of us who have spent a few decades building our lives.

    one thing at at time. i'm in awe of you -- teaching, biking, having an interesting life! caring, trying to solve problems. on the exercise front alone, you are doing far more than i could.

    i think it is wonderful your friends will throw a party! and if your brother and his family come, i'm sure they will see how much your friends care for you. but if you decided not to invite them, that's OK too -- you're allowed to have some fun without inviting everyone.

  11. Kathy's correct -- don't let everything weigh down on you to the exclusion of joy.

    Go on those group bike rides even if they're not the most strenuous. If you enjoy the moderate exercise, you're more likely to be fit and cheerful enough to do the more strenuous workout on your own at another time.

    Seven years back, I peeled off a huge amount of weight and had gained almost 2/3 back through weakness and family enabling. I'm on the downward trend again but I can say that a joyless diet is a failing diet. It's the same principle as with the exercise, really!

    And as for the mother issue, I can't speak to that directly except to say that it's your decision if you're ready to bring your whole family in on matters. Maybe have a friends-only 50th and then do something else another weekend with family if you don't really feel up to dealing with them? Goodness knows that I wouldn't think that's an issue.

  12. What everyone else has said. My guess is that even if your family has not articulated it, they know that you're a lesbian. So the fireworks may be more limited than you think. And it's entirely up to you whether you invite your brother or not. This could be an "it's not a big deal" way to come out to the family, without a big announcement. (There are times when that's good.)

    On the diet front, I lost 15 pounds or so a few years ago, and kept it off for some time. The last year has been very stressful, and it's back on, but I'm slowly going after it. I'm trying to hold on to the idea that I need a way of living, not dieting... so I never give up everything, and work on portion sizes. Then I don't feel deprived. Also, I love muffins, so I make very healthy ones, so I have the pleasure of the snack, but don't eat the super sugary ones you buy in stores and coffee shops. Maybe you could make some quick breads or other sweet things where you could have a piece and feel as if you had celebrated something?

  13. Yes, one thing at a time. One manageable-size item to deal with is enough for anyone. Sounds like the health thing is worth concentrating on, and the family thing will take care of itself--or has already.

    As for the healthy-lifestyle makeover: Do the exercisey things that give you pleasure. If you love to bike, bike. And then bike a little extra now and then, but because you love it, not because you're under the gun. Like the XC skiing thing in the winter: you do it because it's fun, right? The health benefits are a bonus.

    And yes, you are a grown up, and people like you for who you are, not despite. Celebrate that, birthday girl!

  14. I love you.

    That is all.

  15. At first I wanted to say, holy hell, you're not out to your family? But then I thought, well, there's a lot of stuff I just plain don't ever tell my father (big, obvious stuff) for reasons that sound really similar to what you listed.

    On the other hand, I'm sorta reminded of my father - like, everyone KNEW but no one ever said anything. His mom was a total redneck, but it wasn't like she was oblivious, and while there's never been a real "discussion" (with me either, it's one of those things that is just not discussed), and it did lighten her up and she was totally nuts and judgmental. Even if you're not close and aren't in touch that much.

    I guess what I'm saying is that in the dark for them might be better than being out, but being out might be better than them KNOWING with no one able to ever admit anything and dancing around things.

    So that is my butting into your family relationship for no reason :)

  16. I love Kathy's phrase "piling on of terribles" -- something that many of us anxious-types give into.

    I've been losing weight on Weight Watchers this spring and finding it totally do-able and not stressful at all and I don't feel deprived, which is not what I expected. There's a totally online version that I highly recommend.

    As for your family -- maybe leave it up to them? Maybe your sister-in-law sidles up to you at the party and says, "um, I can't help but notice that there are a lot of lesbians at this party. Anything you want to tell me?," in which case, that's a great opportunity to come out to her. And if they don't feel comfortable asking you, then everyone goes on with the same don't-ask-don't-tell approach as before. Just a thought.

    Happy upcoming birthday!

  17. I was gonna say what What Now said.

    I'd just more or less act as if they already knew. "What? You didn't know that? What are you, Helen Keller?" (Joke stolen from my gay nephew, who has been out since he was six.)

  18. I've been going through the weight loss thing myself recently, so I know of what you speak. I think the key is to find a way of eating that is healthy but is not so depriving that you can't keep it up long term. And for health - especially Type II diabetes - regular exercise really makes a huge difference so you are already doing your body a big favour with the biking.

    Sorry about the family dramas. The situation with your mother must be tough.