The other day I was out to dinner with my Grandma D. We were at a lovely café, eating on the outdoor patio. Italian music was lightly playing in the background, all the while, we were sipping wine and enjoying the delicious food and pastries. Mid-pastry I asked my grandma if she had ever been on a diet. Her simple response was no.
I was taken aback by how easily it came out of her mouth. No thought, no care. Just a simple no. That has to be a refreshing feeling. To just simply state, that no, I have never been on a diet. My story would be very different. And I pondered that while I took another bite of the Chocolate Hazelnut bar we were splitting. But then she continued.
As a teen, she was an active girl on her families North Dakota farm. It wasn’t until she moved down to Minneapolis in her late teens that she began to gain weight. She worked at a bank, where she would eat lunch, and then her cousin and her would go home to a meal already prepared and set out by their aunt.
She remedied this weight gain by always having two plastic girdles on hand. She made sure I understood these were not the fancy, stretchy girdles that can be found on shelves today. The tight girdles essentially made her lose the weight she had gained as they were so tight, she had no desire to eat.
She remained a svelte 120-130 the remainder of her youth and middle age, gaining the most weight with her last daughter, born while Grandma D was in her early 40’s. This weight too, like the weight before, eventually came off, but this time it wasn’t a plastic girdle, but rather the effects of dealing with some tough times.
Things improved, and she found happiness again. Family dinners and going out to eat with friends have put her at the weight she is today, one she has maintained for years. While she is happy and content, she would like to lose some weight to fit into her nice suits, ones that will no longer be used for business meetings, but rather church and family outings. In her mindset though, this goal takes moderation and watching what she eats. No diet, just modifications.
So while I started out envying her journey, the confidence I assumed she had, I soon realized that we all have a different journey, and we all look at things in our own way. While Grandma D has never been on a diet, she has focused and been concerned about her weight. It’s interesting to get other’s perspectives, and especially the perspectives of our elders.
I wonder what my story will look like years down the road.