Rae’s Magic Mirror: Some Self-Improvement Plans Require a Jump-Start

August 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

   In the winter of 1996 I tracked down Rae and Anita, two girlfriends I’d known since fourth grade but had been out of touch with for years. We decided to reunite at Rae’s home in Altmonte Springs, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. I was positively elated. After a thirty year lapse, I’d have a chance to see my two dearest childhood chums again. “We can have our own Homecoming,” I thought. “Shoot; we can have a slumber party!” 

But my mood threatened to plummet when I considered how my weight had soared since I’d last seen them both. The whole poundage issue had been an up and down struggle for me over the decades. Recently the yo-yo had rebounded and I’d let bad habits reclaim me – body and self-image. Yet at forty-something, weird things were happening inside my head. I mean, I was getting really comfortable with the notion that it is quite acceptable to have a mid-life cushion. Or two. 

In fact, before I got news of the reunion, I’d been inching toward becoming certifiably delusional. After all, didn’t that subtle slap, slap, slap of upper thigh flesh sound refreshingly like a gentle tide lapping at a sandy shore? And wasn’t it possible that my True Metabolism was simply waiting until menopause to spontaneously kick into gear and at last propel me toward a permanent weight-control plateau? 

Yes, bod-related self-deception was coming far too easily – even though my foot actually required a bootstrap tug before I could lasso it with my pantyhose, and no, I couldn’t really ignore the mother lode of cellulite cloaking any remnant of that muscle formerly known as the abdominal. I was simply getting craftier at justifying these extra handfuls of Me. I mean, one never knew. I might just need an emergency fuel supply someday if … we had another horrendous Minneapolis winter … and … I became … house-trapped by … giant snow drifts … and … um, gargantuan icicles. It could happen. 

So, after that brief flash of panic, I settled back into a cozy blanket of apathy, rationalized the dickens out of the fact that my hip and waist measurements were now interchangeable, and told myself that my old friends wouldn’t care a whit. They’d still see me as that lanky adolescent they’d known eons ago, and surely they’d accept me no matter what condition I was in,or out of. 

The day arrives. Hugs abound. Thirty years melt away like a Minnesota snowball on a Disney World sidewalk. Within minutes, we are reminiscing and filling in the gaps and laughing ourselves breathless – those long dormant relationships jolting back to life, fed by the adrenaline of contact and rich memories of a shared history. 

As Rae gives a tour of her Orlando home Anita asks, “Would you like to see Rae’s magic mirror?” There, in the corner of the master bedroom, a seemingly standard full-length mirror morphs me from stout to svelte in the time it takes to step in front of it. It was a mistake, Rae tells me. A mirror chosen for its frame has a “flaw”: It miraculously transforms the reflectee into a sliver of her real self. She’s been offered $500.00 for this $49.00 purchase, but there’s no way she’ll ever part with it. 

Then suddenly, standing in front of Rae’s magic mirror, reality smacks me right in the face, setting my second chin to quivering. Sure; I’m okay, and my old friends welcome me “as is.” But that slimmer image reminds me of what I am capable of being, and how it feels to like what I see in the looking glass. 

Buoyed by renewed connections and energized by healthier expectations for my physique, I return home, dust off my collection of low-fat recipes, and climb back onto the exercise bandwagon. Almost immediately, I begin to feel better about myself, and that flippant attitude of denial takes wing. 

I still smile today when I contemplate the inspiring revelation that emanated from that crazy piece of distorted glass in my good friend’s bedroom. Obviously, seeing the “results” beforehand became the defining moment in my change of outlook. Perhaps we each have our own highly personalized triggers to action. This was mine. 

In the wake of my new commitment, and to ward off any future lapses in sanity lurking on my dietary horizon, I decided to self-prescribe annual therapeutic trips to Orlando. Unfortunately, my accountant has advised me that these jaunts are not tax-deductible as health care expenses. Drat.

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

And what is the "something" we are aiming for here? Simply a life of robust good health in every important area - spiritual, physical, cognitive, and emotional.

To that end we offer inspirational real-life stories about PEOPLE OF FAITH AND COURAGE; menus and cooking directions meant to fuel your creative inclinations and your healthy body in the form of MUSINGS OF A MIDWESTERN FOODIE; and ADVICE FOR LIFE from the perspective of those who have lived it to maturity. (Click on the green category tabs at the top of this page to learn more about each section.)

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