It is my policy, generally, not to write in rage, so after composing and trashing several mental reams ranging from the furious to the maudlin, let me step back and tell you the very fine news that there is nothing wrong with me. I am in perfect health. My blood pressure, of a morning, is 120/80. Every lab a doctor runs at a checkup comes back just peachy. Even my teeth are good. My diet isn't a problem. I'm eating about as healthily as a modern American can without veering off into faddishness.
The reason I am tired and sluggish, the reason I'm not losing weight, seems to boil down to the fact that I'm too damn lazy.
The doctor didn't put it that way, of course. He asked about my level of daily activity, which ranges from "laundry" to "dying of heat on the couch". He looked at my chart and noted that four years ago I weighed forty pounds less than I do now. In those four years, I gained sixty pounds of pregnant, but that means that in 2.5 years since pregnancy I've only lost twenty, and almost ten of them were the baby himself. So now I'm to get 45 minutes of cardio a day -- "not Olympic level, just walking or something", because clearly I'm not even getting 45 minutes of walking around a day -- and take a multivitamin.
Is it the sixth baby? Four years ago I had a two year old as well. Is it getting older? Four years ago I was 33. Is it the move? But four years ago we were already in Ohio. Is the summer heat? Four years ago we didn't even have the a/c in the kitchen window.
So. I've had several days to stew this off. A week, in fact, in which I've discovered that I have a step counter on my phone, and in which I have boosted my daily count. A week in which Darwin and I have run 2.5 miles three times. A week in which I gave up sugar to support my sister giving up sugar. A week in which I did all these things and dropped not a single pound.
These things are not enough.
The fact that I can pick up running 2.5 miles after not running in ages, and that after a sedentary summer I could climb the toughest mountain in Virginia pretty handily, suggests that I am capable of a good deal more physical activity than I currently do, and that I need to do far more than I have any desire to do. My desire, to be honest, is to sit on my fat ass doing nothing, because I like to be comfortable, more than I like to be slim, or muscular, or be willing to have sex when I actually want it because my current weight makes the blood pressure risk of sixty extra pounds an okay prudential judgment...
I see that I'm violating my policy of not writing in rage.
Having to confront that a problem is My Fault is liberating, in a sense. I don't have to wait around any more hoping for a diagnosis that explains my weariness at some deeper level. I just have to get started on 45 minutes of cardio a day, or 10K steps, or improving my running distance. And these are concrete things. I can take one more step, as I tell myself when I'm running. I hate running, as it happens. I never feel light and easy. I feel every pound jouncing around on my frame. But I can do it, and without any more effort than getting up earlier than I want to and going out of the house when I don't feel like it. For the rest of my hopefully-not-goddamn life.
Looking back, I see I've been hating running for a good ten years.