I haven’t done any kind of scientific survey, of course. But I’m pretty sure that weight gain in midlife is something that makes women crazy. Seriously–do we seem to talk about anything else when we get together?
Obviously, menopause is a biggie when it comes to weight gain in midlife, but sorry–I’m not going to let us blame everything on our creaky ovaries.
There are simply too many other things at play.
After deciding to get especially serious about my health this year, I’ve already lost ten pounds. So I’m not just making things up–I’m talking with some authority here.
In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
I turned fifty.
I put on a lot of weight.
The weight, and the changes it made in my lifestyle, made me miserable.
For the last month, I’ve been working like crazy to get the weight off, again.
These are the things that have worked for me, and I hope they can help you, too.
Step One–I asked for help.
Honestly–I’ve been trying to lose weight on my own for quite some time.
It wasn’t working.
I had a pattern of losing around five pounds, and then putting it back on again. Then I’d lose that original five, but put on a few more on top of the five I’d lost, so I never really got ahead. This became a frustrating and upsetting pattern. I was always able to lose weight, but I never lost enough of it before it would start accumulating again.
I finally admitted I needed help to reach my goal, which is kind of unlike me. I’m exceptionally driven, but I realized I needed someone to look over my shoulder, and teach me what I was doing wrong.
So I started by talking to my personal physician. She wants me to be healthy, too–and she referred me to a fantastic program that is working for me. The kind people there have taught me lots.
I want to share with you
what I’m learning.
Step Two–I am drinking a ton of water.
This is not an exaggeration.
They recommend for me, as a minimum, 64 ounces of water per day. I’ve taken a picture of the water bottle that I use (I fill it with Crystal Light) which is just 50 ounces, so I fill it more than once per day.
I am going to the bathroom a lot.
Step Two–I am increasing how much I move.
‘Cuz here’s the thing.
It’s rare, in our world today, for people to consistently get enough exercise.
We have cars, elevators, escalators, electric appliances, remote controls–everything around us has become automated.
Plus, most of us spend the day sitting in front of a keyboard–myself included.
Friend? This is terrible for us.
But hear me well. please: increasing your movement does not mean you have to go to the gym.
If you want to go to the gym, that’s great.
They have machines, and trainers, and classes and every thing else you need to succeed.
I find though–many people don’t always make it there, as they intend.
If that sounds like you, think of things you can do closer to home.
I’ve had foot surgery recently, and can’t move around. So I’ve been doing chair aerobics through YouTube videos. (Yes–it’s a thing, and it’s lots of fun!)
So find something fun you like, that you don’t consider to be exercise, and you’ll be more likely to participate.
Keep a Frisbee or a Hula Hoop in the car’s back seat, and make a brief stop in that park you drive by every day. Giggle as you try a belly dancing video. Do something outside of the norm if you must, but get some movement in.
Step Three–cut down on portion sizes, and to do so–consider going with some kind of dummy-proof meal plan.
One of the big changes we’ve had in our American diet is the size of what we consider to be a normal portion. Compare a soda bottle from the 1950’s with the soda cups you can get at a gas station today, and you’ll immediately see what I mean.
This may take some retraining, to understand the quantity of food your body actually needs. It will be worth it though, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from a dietitian if necessary.
If it helps, go with a formal diet program that pre-rations your food out. This makes you less likely to overindulge, because the portioning has been taken care of for you.
It also helps you understand what a correct portion of something really looks like.
Step Four–Keep it Up.
This is where all of the hard work comes in. Anyone can tell you these three basics, but only you can follow through with them.
There is no magic wand, Friend. There is no miracle plan.
The food industry is a gigantic, nasty beast when it comes to our nation’s economic engine.
So we are constantly going to be surrounded by temptation.
There will always be food in front of us we know is terrible.
It’s always going to be easier for us to sit on the sofa than it make ourselves get up off of it.
It’s up to you to make the changes.
You have to decide for yourself that you’re ready.
Maybe it will take seeing a photo of your backside, because you haven’t realized how bad things have gotten.
Perhaps you’ll discover that for your daughter’s wedding, you’re going to have to shop in the plus-sized department, even though you never have before.
Each one of us will have a very personal, and probably painful defining moment.
But until you have that moment of ownership, you’ll be spinning your wheels.
We’re going to talk more about defining your primary motivation in an upcoming post, so don’t worry.
For now, please remember these truths.
There is no magic program, pill or weight loss system out there.
Weight loss in midlife is complex–both physically and emotionally.
You need to stick with healthy, sensible things like the things we’ve discussed. Avoid the gimmicks, the shady promises and the people who are just trying to reach into your wallet in your quest for good health.
Give yourself permission to realize, and accept, that losing weight is going to take some time.
No, weight loss during menopause is not easy.
But I firmly believe in you.
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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.
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