I am exhausted today. We have students staying with us for a few weeks from our church in Atlanta, and one of them is waiting for her lost luggage to be delivered to our house. Since I’m the French-speaking contact, I got a call last night around 9 PM saying that they would deliver the luggage between 10 and midnight. I kind of balked a bit, but they promised to be there closer to ten.

At midnight I called and they told me they’d contact the driver to see where he was and that I should call back in a bit. At 12:15 they told me he would arrive in “une petite heure” – an hour or so. So I said no. I don’t want luggage delivered in the middle of the night. They promised to call the driver and let him know, but it was still after 1 before I could fall asleep.

At 1:46 AM my phone rang. “I’ll be there in 15 minutes!”

Can you believe that? Doesn’t that just beggar belief? Of course I told him no you will not. I will not have luggage delivered to my house at 2 AM. On top of everything else, my husband is out of town – though that has nothing to do with the absurdity of their idea of customer service.

I was so looking forward to taking a nap today. It was all I could think about. I planned on napping after I brought my son to have lunch at McDonalds, just the two of us. (We’re trying to start spending individual time with each of our kids). While there, I got a call from the service, saying they would like to come this afternoon. I gave them an availability between 2 and 4, at which time I needed to pick up my kids from school. I was hoping they’d come closer to 2 so that I could nap.

It’s nearly 4:00 and they are still not here.

My irritation over this inane behaviour is one thing. But because I’m so exhausted I have really overdone it on eating today.  I had been avoiding sweets and coffee for weeks, but I had it ALL today. And I had McDonalds. Really, I don’t think I ate a single healthy thing all day.

I think it didn’t help that – despite the healthy changes I’ve been implementing for weeks now – I haven’t really lost all that much weight. I mean, very little weight. My metabolism sucks. And it didn’t get me motivated to keep going. Now, of course I will get a good night’s sleep, and pick back up again tomorrow because what choice do I have?

But this pulling up of my bootstraps to exercise or lose weight, only to fall down before I can see any kind of results has been my status quo for thirteen years. Nearly as long as I’ve been married. It doesn’t help that I’ve been on anti-depressants for twenty years, which both slow the metabolism and give strong cravings for sugary carbs. It doesn’t help that any muscle tone I once had from swimming and running is completely gone; and every time I try to change that – past injuries, fatigue, the busyness of being a WAHM mom, injuries from excess weight . . . the dog . . . make it easier to allow a few days to go by before trying again. Or before even beginning in the first place.

So year after year go by, and my habits remain unchanged.

I think the problem is that I haven’t surrendered to my reality. I haven’t surrendered to the fact that I am 44 years old, am overweight with little muscle tone, and have the metabolism of an eighty-year old. That last one is sort of an estimate.

I still think I should be able to eat whatever I want. And although I’ve always struggled a little bit with weight, it was always a ten – maybe 20 – pound difference, and the smallest effort on my part (stop eating entire boxes of cookies) would show results almost immediately. That is most decidedly no longer the case. And I don’t want to have to change my life . . . forever. It seems so black and white and sort of empty.

I hate making my weight-loss efforts public. For one thing, I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep doing it long-term and I’m afraid of looking foolish. For another thing, I love to cook, and eat, and host, and spoil people with food. I love to introduce new foods to people, and make the most mouth-watering dishes my guests have ever tasted.

That usually involves cream.

surrender1Probably the hardest part of it all is convincing myself that there is a better way to fill the emptiness inside . . . when the thing that is empty is not my stomach – but my heart. Yeah that. I haven’t surrendered to the fact that it could even be possible.

So what about you. Is there anything you haven’t surrendered to? Or if you did have something, and you faced it squarely, how did you go about it?

Also, any tips for improving metabolism after forty?


If you’re wondering about the luggage, I got a call at 4 PM on the dot.

“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes!”


I love to hear from you, friends. You can comment using the box below or your Facebook profile. But FB doesn't notify me of new comments, so if the post is more than a week old and you want to make sure I see your comment, it's better to use the comment box. Merci!

I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Family, The Lady, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
42 comments on “Surrender
  1. Shell says:

    What a pain about the luggage!

    I’m stuck at a plateau with my weight loss. I did well for a few months and now I can’t seem to lose even though I have more to go. It used to be that I could diet and exercise and lose and then I could go into more of a maintenance mode where as long as I exercised some and didn’t totally pig out, my weight would stay the same. Now, I need to exercise a lot just to maintain, no matter what I eat. Stupid slowing-down metabolism!
    Shell recently posted…Dads Aren’t Puppy Dogs: Pour Your Heart OutMy Profile

  2. Kir says:

    Oh Jennie. You’re beautiful, inside, outside, beautiful.

    I also know how important it is not to be tired, afraid to look in the mirror, disgusted with your body, your metabolism and the fact that donuts taste better than tricuits. I have been there and back the past few years and I am in the middle of another “I need to walk or something” place too.

    I’m here to offer encouragement and tell you that I want you to look and feel GOOD on your own terms. If all I can do is agree that being 44 (me too!!!) is a hard place for our scales and our mindset to accept.

    love you beautiful friend.
    Kir recently posted…It Took a VillageMy Profile

  3. Jennifer says:

    You know, know, know that I get this. All of it. Well, maybe not the luggage part, but all of the rest. It is so hard to look down a life of not eating the things you really want. But what kind of quality of life (health wise) and how long do we want to stick around… I think those are the things we need to think about ADDING to our lives than focusing on the things we are giving up. Maybe.
    Jennifer recently posted…Blackberry Cobbler with Fresh-Picked BerriesMy Profile

    • ladyjennie says:

      I think that’s a good focus – adding instead of taking away. That’s what my mom does. She fills herself up with so many healthy foods, she doesn’t have room for the less healthy. And she’s in great shape/

  4. JessinCO says:

    I so get you. I’m right there with you! Be kind to yourself and focus on one step each day :)

  5. Keely says:

    FEELING good is the most important thing- so get on that, lady. But otherwise? Cream makes everything better, the occasional McD’s binge is good for the soul, and I think you’re perfection, even with your geriatric metabolism.
    Keely recently posted…I Wrote A Book. It’s Called Expecting. And You Can Win It Here.My Profile

  6. Abby says:

    Hi Jenny, hope you’ve caught up on that sleep- students, lost luggage – no wonder you’re exhausted.

    I lost 20 kg by cutting out carb (mainly just flour really). And building muscle as fat burning exercise and as a metabolism boost.

    It’s cliché but I really do feel better and have loads of energy (but I don’t have to deal with students and airport customer services).

    Low carb has the reputation of being unhealthy but it really doesn’t have to be……. Lots of salad with healthy fat dressing, tomatoes, olives, fish, eggs, avocados etc
    This time of year is great because you can eat any berry – my diet is mainly strawberries and cream or raspberries and cream or blueberries and cream.
    Provided I don’t eat too late and take a brisk walk in the evening I have lost a bit the next morning which is really motivating.

    I’ve always struggled with weight even when I thought I was being healthy. Now I understand the relationship between carb, fat and insulin I’ve realised how unhealthy carb actually is.

    I remember you telling me your Dad did S.beach – why don’t you try that?

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hey Abby, thanks for the tips, but I have done S. Beach more than once and I don’t feel good on low carb diets – like I don’t digest it well. I don’t know why that is. Maybe because I’m naturally eating more meat to compensate, even if I’m also eating tons of vegetables. Each time I think I’m going to feel better and I feel worse.

  7. Katie says:

    Oh friend I FEEL this post. I have a hard time with my weight and I how I feel about myself right now. It’s just…ugg. I get this. hugs.
    Katie recently posted…front row supportMy Profile

  8. Sunny says:

    Yes to all. Couldnt have said it better. I keep thinking its temporary
    But the years add up.
    Ps: im in your country at the moment :-). Beautiful!

  9. Nina says:

    I feel this, Jeanne. Sugar is my go to. And even though I’ve had 30 really productive “clean” days of eating, I am not sort of floundering. I’ve been eating mostly well, but I can see that even with the “clean” food, I eat way too much fruit and too many nuts. I see that it’s that I just overeat junky stuff when given the change, it’s that I don’t like to stop when I’m full. Even too much fruit and too many nuts and too much meat, etc. is not good for us. And it’s a bad habit. The food has maybe changed, but not the habit per se. AND, I feel the black/white issue too. The idea of never having sugar??? Well, it seriously depresses me. YET, I’m not very good at moderating that habit. I’m better at abstaining. (even if i’ve been replacing.) Arg, not sure what to do for me or what advice to give you.
    Nina recently posted…Career Dead Ends and DetoursMy Profile

    • ladyjennie says:

      That is exactly me! If I’m doing any sort of clean eating plan, I always overindulge in whatever has the most taste (nuts, fruit, etc). So in the end it doesn’t work for me. I think the black and white view is what’s destroying the good intentions, and that’s a hard thing to change.

  10. Elaine A. says:

    I’ve been eating like a hog lately. But you know why… :( I love sugar and carbs and all that and ice cream is my weakness. That’s my favorite form of cream anyway…

    I feel you girl. I know everything you’re saying here.

    I keep telling myself my weight doesn’t matter as long as I’m healthy but right now I don’t even feel that.

    love you…
    Elaine A. recently posted…Dumb StuffMy Profile

    • ladyjennie says:

      Exactly. I don’t even feel healthy either. I wish I knew what my body could digest easily so I didn’t always feel so tired and sluggish.

  11. Jill says:

    I am 47 and I have noticed a real slowing of my metabolism the past 3 or so years. I’m sure its tied in to menopause. I exercise pretty consistently and try to avoid sugars. I limit my white flour, white rice and potatoes. I also don’t eat a lot of fruit. I don’t not eat anything but I have to consciously watch my portion control and meter out my splurges. To me, it does matter and I don’t feel good if I have extra weight on me.

    What a crock about the luggage. That is absolutely ridiculous.


    • ladyjennie says:

      It seems like you’re doing everything right! I need to get to the basics (cutting down on the sugar and white stuff) because without that it’s a no-brainer that I’m struggling. But it’s mentally very hard for me to get and stay in a good place where food is concerned.

  12. Kris says:

    Yep…ditto! My new favorite cookbook is Danielle Walker’s Against All Grains. Check out her blog, Facebook, Twitter…as she posts many recipes too. Wonderful and I lost a lot of the bloat when I cut out gluten. She does some with SCD and paleo too. I am working on cleaner, healthier eating. It is so hard to adjust to this change of life…as if the wacked out hormones aren’t crazy enough! We put a lot of expectation on ourselves to look like our 20 year old self…and then suffer when we look in he mirror and think “who IS that looking back at me?” Funny…I don’t feel like a grandma, but imbue ginning to look the part. Whatever…my husband looks like a grandpa and he sure doesn’t seem to care! Embrace your self TODAY, work at it, feel healthy/forget skinny,cheat some and find peace! Love you!❤️

    • ladyjennie says:

      You’re absolutely right. It’s hard to adjust to this phase of our lives. I have already cut out gluten since I have coeliac disease, but I don’t feel well when I cut out other grains. I think I still haven’t figured out exactly what my body needs.

  13. Kim says:

    I totally get this, Jennie. I have been sliding in my eating and exercise habits lately after doing so well for a long time. My pants are tighter and I feel all the work I did slipping away. It is discouraging. But, like you, I keep trying and embrace moderation. I am trying to focus on the exercise more too – since I can have a cookie (or two) without the guilt if I know I have exercised that day. Now, CI ust have to make that a habit. :)
    Kim recently posted…“The Wolverine” – Short Hair QuestionsMy Profile

  14. Alison says:

    Well, I just wrote a post about eating too much, and I’m using my twin pregnancy as an excuse. Truth be told, I am not good with dieting. I love my food too much. I love ice cream and baked goods. When I did the clean eating last year though, I lost weight and felt SO much better. It was just a matter of consistent eating of food good for me, throughout the day, drinking enough water, controlling portion size, and allowing myself a small treat of dark chocolate a day, to make it all easier.

    It’s really an 80% mind thing, which IS the hardest part of it all.

    Know that you’re well supported, we love you, and we’re with you every step of the way. xoxo
    Alison recently posted…The TruthMy Profile

  15. I recently wrote my own post about struggling with weight and food, so I can relate completely. (Even to the public admission part.) So I will tell you what I wish I could tell myself: Your weight doesn’t define you. Avoid processed food, enjoy real things in moderation, do some strength training, and if you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up about it, just move on.

    You’re not alone, and you are wonderful.
    Korinthia Klein recently posted…Aden’s NeighborhoodMy Profile

  16. You could never appear foolish.
    Honest? Yes. Struggling? Of course.

    But foolish? Definitely not.

    Just look at everyone above you who is facing a challenge.
    (Not the same challenge; everyone’s is different; but they all commiserate and not a single person is judging.)

    Anyway. I could offer plenty of anecdotes and encouragement and advice but that won’t change how you feel inside about yourself.

    So instead, I’ll just send love. Unconditionally.
    You are an extraordinary woman, Jennie.

    And NO LUGGAGE DELIVERY AT 2:00 in the morning!!!
    That is all.
    julie gardner recently posted…On Having to WriteMy Profile

  17. cynthiahardy says:

    I understand your struggles with weight loss, metabolism, muscle tone and antidepressants. I have had to take antidepressants for 12 years following the death of my first son. If you were my daughter, I would suggest you see an MD to see if you have any medical issues such as low thyroid, or hormonal imbalance that would cause weight gain. If you are not seeing a psychiatrist for your antidepressants, I would suggest seeing one. A psychiatrist deals with these issues regularly. You may need a change or a medication that eliminates carb. cravings. At your age you often lose testosterone which also causes a in muscle tone to diminish. And then commit to giving your self at least 45 min, a day of heavy duty exercise in which you are sweating profusely for at least 30 min. If you do nothing else but that at least it’s a start.

  18. anymommy says:

    Well, I want you to feel as beautiful as you are to me through these pages. Gorgeous. This is not my struggle (I am a stress non-eater prone to anxiety), but I still saw myself in your words. I’ve faced a lot of change lately and I struggle mightily to accept it with grace instead of kicking and screaming like a two year old.
    anymommy recently posted…Love lettersMy Profile

    • ladyjennie says:

      Thanks for being my friend Stacey. And I think you’re full of grace, even when you’re kicking and screaming like a two year old. 😉

  19. ladyjennie says:

    That’s a really good idea Ameena – something to get checked out. I need to send you a PM to see what kind of doctor you used, etc.

  20. Julie says:

    you’ve got a lot of comments on this post! wow! I will add my 2 cents….
    I have not known what I’ve weighed in over a decade. Yep, more than 10 do I know that? My OB/GYN doc who I also used as my GP, retired this month. 2 weeks ago, I had to pick up my medical chart to take to a new doctor…and that is 22 years of medical chart! I knew that I would probably look in and see what my weight has been. So, I did. And my heart did a ka-chug. Because what I saw was pretty depressing, but I knew it would not be pretty. I have weighed close to what I weighed at 9 months prego, for the past 10 years. I went thru peri-menopause from age 38 to age 47 when I had full menopause, and I’m not 4 years on the other side of that. What your metabolism does in those years is no joke. It not only slows down…but you also have all the other aging processes go on at the same time. My knee surgery 2 years ago was done when I weighed 200 lb. I did not lose any weight from then until now, and when I found out how much I’ve weighed in all those years (at my once a year checkup) I knew that my lingering knee pain will not go away unless I drop some weight.
    So, 2 days after my big weight revelation, I clicked on some link on my facebook feed to “” watched the video, bought the program, and I”m now on day 7….I”ve seen my clothes get looser. It’s all natural, real food, unprocessed for the most part. Meat, veg, some fruit. You are not hungry on any given day. See if it is up your alley! you will see results.

  21. Julie says:

    and it really is all about HOW MUCH you eat, vs. what you eat. I believe that with all my heart…only eat when hungry, stop before full!

  22. Kimberly says:

    Don’t you hate that. I love it when service people are all “We will be there between x and y” but don’t show up until “z” It wastes your entire day.
    Know that I love you. I hate looking in the mirror and seeing things that probably no one else notices.
    Have you tried biotin. I know it is for hair growth and nail growth but someone had mentioned that it does help metabolism with carbs something something…xoxo
    Kimberly recently posted…The Grey AreaMy Profile

  23. 2 am… Honestly!
    You are far from foolish. Brave, wonderful and unique, yes. Foolish … never!
    Don’t give up.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently posted…Crazy Cauliflower Lady SoupMy Profile

  24. Andrea says:

    Food issues are real, and frustrating, and constant. My sympathies are with you – it really is a huge struggle.

    My area of surrender is admitting that things won’t always go my way, that I’m not always right, that I am not a victim when I fail. It means continual self-correction, patience with my words, and always hard work. It’s exhausting.
    Andrea recently posted…Gone For NowMy Profile

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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