One treat too much

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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The morning sun beat on my bare shoulders as I skipped down the steps toward the Hideaway Lake pool. The water glistened like thousands of diamonds competing to outshine the others, and I almost laughed with delight at the beautiful morning.

Several of my exercise buddies called out a warm greeting before returning to their respective conversations. Water aerobics class had barely begun when I noticed a new girl coming down the steps. I couldn’t help but be a little jealous of her beautiful Barbie figure, but I was totally surprised when she came closer.

She was just lovely, but as she entered the pool I realized she was much older than I had first imagined. Curiosity caused me to determine right away that I needed to have a chat with her and find out her secret. Of course, I didn’t want to ask her right away, but I filed that conversation away for later.

Jeannie and I hit it off from day one, and after a few days I felt comfortable enough to talk to her about her health and beauty regimen. My disappointment was huge when I discovered she had no magic potion. Plain old discipline was her secret. She exercised, ate healthy food, and drank plenty of water. Since I have always been a hearty eater when she mentioned the small portions that she ate I almost passed out.

“Jeannie, Are you kidding me? That’s really all you eat!”

“I hate to tell you, Jan, but as you get older your metabolism slows and you really have to exercise and watch those calories if you don’t want to gain weight.”

Although Jeannie and I lost touch over the years I still remember what a fun and friendly person she was and her sensible, but strict eating plan. On days like today when I hop on my bathroom scale to see the numbers inching up I think of her and her determination to remain healthy and at an appropriate weight.

At first I had a moment when I thought that it certainly would be nice to be able to eat whatever I wanted especially since I love good food. You mean to tell me that on these chilly days I can’t even enjoy a little pizza, I thought dejectedly. Then I remembered that it was pretty much an entire pizza over a couple of days!

After my little pity party the memory of Jeannie’s smiling face, sunny disposition, and words of wisdom made me pause and realize that I am not the first person to face the challenges of aging. What a blessing that I met someone like Jeannie, early on to immolate as the years passed.

I have never had a shape like my friend from years ago, but I’m determined to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. The leftover pizza went in the trash today, and I’ll be feasting on roasted chicken and veggies later. Jeannie would be proud.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at