Monday, September 27, 2010

The legacy

One look at my dad's photo in the previous post and you can easily see that part of my dad's legacy to his children is a weight problem. My mother left it to us, as well. My brother started gaining in his 50s, my sister has been chubby from childhood (and is now morbidly obese) and me … well, both of you know all too well my struggles with lard.

Both of my parents' health problems can be traced to obesity. My mother died four years after she learned she had colo-rectal cancer, which we now know can be a result of poor nutrition. She was a yo-yo dieter her entire life, I think, at least from my earliest memories. I was mortified in junior high when one of my friends asked if my mother was pregnant. The fat-lady fashion back then was the tent dress; who could blame my friend for wondering?

Dad's problems were a little more complicated, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have had knee replacements (which eventually became infected, putting him into septicemic shock, leading to a host of cardiac and respiratory problems) if he'd been able to maintain a normal weight. His 32-year career in the Ohio Air National Guard required him to do just that. But he retired when he was 50, and at that point all bets were off.

I'll be 60 next year. It's been a good 10 years since my weight has been in the "normal" category. I was "obese" when I ran those three half-marathons in 2007 and 2008.

I try to be realistic about my weight-loss progress, and have tried very hard this year to accept that losing a pound a month was okay (instead of a pound a week). I'm afraid to check the scale after the last couple weeks of eating for comfort. I am my father's daughter, after all.

Dad said he'd drive anywhere in Florida to see me cross a finish line in a race. He won't get to do that, but I'd still like to run one in Florida and I'd like it to be a full marathon and I'd like it to be next year. I have a lot of work to do before that happens.

Every journey begins with a single step. Time to start walking.

1 comment:

D said...

Ah Debbi...I was thinking the same about my own parents' legacy to my health this weekend. I spent the weekend with them up along Lake Superior, and I watched them monitor their blood sugar each night, eat doughnuts and pie even if the sugars/carbohydrates made my dad break out in a sweat, saw my mom struggle to walk two blocks. It's so hard.

Parents do the best they can. I guess we know better, but it is so hard to do better.