Is it a given at 40+ that weight gain and muffin tops are just the norm? What if you don’t want that as your norm; what can you do?
Some time ago, I went walking in Wild Cat canyon with a couple of ladies – one was of Hispanic descent, the other Filipina. After our walk, they started talking about food selections in their culture, something I simply hadn’t thought about. My Filipina friend said that rice was a staple in her culture, while our Hispanic friend said tortillas were a frequent delight in her family – even for breakfast.
As I reflect on that conversation, I note that last year, it seems as though I put on more pounds than ever. It was very frustrating . . . I actually went up a size! I’m like what the heck! Initially, I was discouraged; now my thought is . . . are you going to complain about it or do something about it?
Zero Body Fat Convo. In having a conversation at work, I learned one of my co-workers goes rowing at 5am every morning – she has zero body fat; I learned another one relies on genetics. Then you have the size 0 crowd, including my oldest daughter. For a long time, she asked how she could gain weight. It’s pretty much a given she can eat whatever and not gain a pound. (I believe this will be true for her even after 40.) I always laugh as I remember her saying: ‘I’m going to the gym as soon as I finish this Zachary’s pizza.’ At least she’s going, right?
Besides diet, other reasons we gain weight could be stress, water retention, lack of activity/movement, sedentary lifestyles, and slowing metabolisms. We all know that change and consistency can be a challenge. Let’s face it . . . there is no pre-packaged discipline.
Of course, leave it to the media, there’s always a plethora of celebrity-championed solutions– Weightwatchers (Oprah), Nutrisystem (Marie Osmond), Atkins (Alyssa Milano). Then you have the equipment — the Simply Fit Board, Peloton, Booty Max, etc. There’s even everything from fruits and vegetables to meals delivered to your door — Farm Fresh to You, Graze, Blue Apron . . .
By the way, I actually did run into a co-worker who has been doing Weightwatchers for some time and is very happy with her weight loss progress. She also loves the meetings.
Resolutions, programs, and regimens aside . . . if you really want to make a change and want different results, what can you do?
Well, I guess the first thing is to decide why it’s important. For me, not only am I dissatisfied with the weight gain and want to be the healthiest me, but I’m also pretty stubborn. I’m not willing to let pounds pile on without a fight . . .I believe it’s worth my attention. (We pay attention to everything else . . . without health what do we really have?)
Right now, I can commit to drinking water daily and getting to bed at a decent time – both replenish the body. However, I need to work on 1) being more active and 2) keeping or preparing appropriate between-meal snacks. My stumbling block is convenience. Sometimes, if I’m looking for something quick to eat, I’ll grab what’s convenient – it’s not always healthy. By the way, if you’re my friend, chocolate is no longer an appropriate gift for me. Seriously . . . sugar, chocolate . . . vice city for me.
Overall, for any change, I think it’s important to start small and take it slow — that way it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
A couple of warnings: I wouldn’t recommend letting media images be your driving force for change AND remember to love yourself where you are. (I initially had a few choice words for myself – I had to correct my self-talk!)
If you’re considering losing unwanted weight or exploring healthy habits, to get started, here are few ideas on Pinterest and Verywell.com you might consider.