Patsy Porco

Toxic Fat

In Humor on August 11, 2009 at 5:11 pm

It was disheartening when I awoke one morning to find I had gained 15 pounds overnight, and most of it was residing around my middle. It was really upsetting to learn from my friend, Amelia, that this fat was “toxic fat.” Killer fat. Fat that had to go, or I would.

I grew up thinking that I had inherited my mother’s super-metabolism, because, most of my life, I was considered slim. There were periods, though, when I was downright plump. In my last year of high school, I decided to take up recreational eating. As a result, my then-boyfriend decided to take up recreational dating. I managed to lose the weight once I went to Ohio State. I adhered to a strict regimen of beer and cigarettes and the pounds melted away … along with my liver and lungs, no doubt. But after that, I managed to stay thinnish. Until I approached “the change,”  a time which is also called perimenopause.  Now the jig is up. I’m now one of those women I assumed I’d never be: the ones built like linebackers with skinny legs.

In an effort to shed the weight without dieting or giving up wine, I started attending yoga and Pilates classes, but not with any regularity. It’s too depressing. Last week, the yoga instructor had to spend the class holding me up, while everyone else stood on one leg while extending the other behind them and their arms in front of them. I tried this pose, fell over, and banged my head on the floor. The 85-year-old woman next to me thought this was hilarious.

Amelia, who is two years younger than I am, has also experienced hot flashes, weight gain, and everything else associated with perimenopause, but she refuses to admit that she’s even close to changing life. She would prefer to blame her symptoms on a life-threatening disease than acknowledge that she might be approaching menopause. She said that her doctor gave her a blood test that proved she was showing no signs of perimenopause. Maybe she and her doctor are right—although I hope she doesn’t have a life-threatening disease—or maybe Amelia is living in denial.

I would love to book a trip to Denial. Or perhaps I’ll just book a trip there for my toxic fat … and that 85-year-old woman in my yoga class.

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