We all know by now that as we age it gets easier to put on pounds and harder to lose them. This is why I sometimes stare in wonder at thin women in their 60's and above. I think, "How does she do it? If our metabolism drops to zero when we get older, how is it that everyone over the age of 50 isn't a roly poly ball with arms and legs?"
I think I might know part of the secret now: poor digestion. As we get older, our digestive system isn't as strong and we can't eat the way we used to without paying a higher price. And oh, it can be a VERY high price.
This was the first December of my 44-and-a-half-year-old life that I didn't dive into every cookie tray and chocolate assortment with abandon. This was the first Christmas season that I attended a festive, food-centered party without eating one thing the whole night. How was I able to do these incredible things? I did them with a stomach that caused me extreme pain every damn time I over did it. That night that I didn't eat anything, I arrived at the party with a stomach ache left over from the weekend. I spent entire days in December feeling miserable with digestive distress.
But as awful as it was to pass up all those goodies that I only see once a year, the one positive thing is that I did not put on the pounds. I came out of New Year's Day at the same weight that I went into Thanksgiving. Incredible.
I suppose I should say, "Thanks, weak miserable digestive system. You saved me a lot of heartache and having to lose the same pounds all over again." But it's hard to feel appreciative of a stomach that no longer accepts dairy products without pain, tends to complain about wheat products and processed food in general, and doesn't let me sleep easily if I've eaten past about 8:30 at night.
I sometimes stare down the dim corridor of the rest of my life and wonder if I really have to finish it without any more cheese sandwiches or double-crust pies. It's best if I don't think about it and just focus on how peacefully my stomach goes about its business if I only ask it to digest protein and vegetables.