If she ever got up to 400lbs she never told me, but then, she probably wouldn’t. I remember she had a chart during one of her diets. At the top was “ 03″, and before the 0 was a shiny bit of Wite-Out. It was clear that mom didn’t want anyone to know the first number. At the time I assumed it was a 3, but now I wonder. I wear about the same size clothing, now, as she did when she was in her mid-40s. I am 2 inches taller, but still…I don’t know.
I do know (because she told me many, many times) that the smallest size she wore as an adult was a 1960s size 16. This was brought about by a combination of:
- A job where she was on her feet all day throwing things;
- Weight Watchers;
Amphetamines were frequently prescribed for weight loss in the 60s. Mom quit the amphetamines and cigarettes both, cold turkey, when she found out she was pregnant. She combined “baby weight” with weight rebounding for a pretty sizable gain.
Mom was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was 52. I was 18. Mom had begun treatment for hypothyroid, high blood pressure, angina, asthma, and arthritis at least 10-15 years prior to her diabetes diagnosis. She was also fairly sedentary and rarely left the house. By the time I was in high school, I did all the Christmas shopping because mom didn’t want to deal with crowds. She was nervous around strangers and afraid of not being accepted. Eventually she did lose weight – around the time that she developed Parkinson’s disease and dementia. She died much smaller than she had lived, but I don’t think she noticed.
My mother’s family is full of type 2 diabetics. My father’s family has none. My father was considered thin but muscled for most of his life. He had a very active job, one where his muscles were part of his livelihood. By his 40s he also had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Unlike mom, he kept smoking until his retirement at 62. He’s in his 70s, walks 3 miles a day, and is frustrated that he’s gained 30lbs after he quit smoking.
I’m 42. Unlike my parents, I never smoked. I also exercise more than my mother did when she was 42, though less than my father. Is heredity destiny? My weight certainly mimics my mother’s. But unlike my parents, my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, and triglycerides are all very good. I have some health issues – but those aren’t it.