Thursday, July 22, 2010

Do It While You're Young!

Cub Lake Trail - Rocky Mountain National Park

I have struggled with weight issues most of my adult life and can remember being told countless times by wise mentors, to get the weight off and keep it off while I was young because as I grew older, it would become increasingly difficult to both lose weight and maintain it.  Like many other things I was told I'd understand as I got older, I didn't pay much attention.  Intellectually,  I reasoned that it was always going to be calories in vs. calories burned, so what difference did it make if you were 32 or 62?  I now know that it makes a huge difference and that difference just catches up with you all of a sudden.  So today's post is written primarily to warn and encourage those readers in their 20's, 30's and 40's.  I suspect (and hope) that many others my age and older will weigh in with their wisdom and personal experience. 

Let me emphatically state that the closer I get to that 55th birthday, the more unreal it seems.  Not in a bad sense of the word - I truly don't dread the birthday.  It's just so hard for me to believe that I am 55 and I pray I'm having these same thoughts as I approach 60, 65, etc.  My mother, who celebrated her 82nd birthday in June, still plays golf twice a week and does a water aerobics class the other three.  I can only hope I'm as healthy as she is when I'm 82.  

No, this really doesn't have anything to do with numerical age.  For me, it was all about "the CHANGE."  When I lost 60+ pounds in the period between October, 2006 and January, 2008, I had not yet experienced any signs or symptoms of menopause.  Losing weight is NEVER effortless, but for me, once I make up my mind  and carve out a healthy eating plan, I've never had trouble losing weight.  If I stick with the plan, the weight comes off quickly.  This pattern held true in 2006.  I had just turned 51 and using a 1,200 calorie eating plan, the weight came off consistently at a rate of 5-7 pounds per month.   I plateaued a couple of times, but neither lasted more than a few weeks.  

Fast forward to May, 2010.  Although I'm still experiencing some menopausal "symptoms" (I had to pause a long time here, because there were several words I wanted to insert instead of "symptoms" and some were not nice!!), for the most part, it is over for me.  Only when I began working on this 30 pounds I've gained, did I realize one of the tolls it has taken on my body.   

I am following the exact same eating plan to the letter and have increased my exercise, but the scale will hardly budge.  I'm being very lucky to lose 3 pounds a month.  The only difference between this time around and last is the menopause thing plus I am now taking a very low dose of thyroid medication daily.  A discussion with my gynecologist confirms what I suspected AND what I refused to believe prior to actually experiencing it. The hormonal changes brought on by menopause truly do make a difference in the way your body responds to losing weight.  

So to all my young friends out there, I haven't said a thing you've not already heard dozens of times, but if I said it any way that might have grabbed your attention, please understand that your body DOES change and it DOES become harder.  For those of us who know exactly what I'm saying, let's keep on encouraging each other to get these pounds off FOR THE LAST TIME no matter how long it takes.  

On to another subject.  Today, I made a mistake that was costly.  You can tell that my slow rate of weight loss has really been bothering me.  I've hung in there in spite of the discouragement, but my gosh, I can't get the scale to BUDGE.  I don't believe it would be healthy to eat any less than what I am eating, so all I know to do is keep on.  Thankfully, there hasn't been a week with a gain, but the losses are just plain piddly.  

I needed to have my tires rotated at Sam's.  This is long overdue and I'd been gently reminded by Mr. B that I needed to take care of it ASAP.  Our Sam's is not located near anything else, so unless you can bribe a friend to come get you, you are stuck in Sam's while they work on your car.  I carefully calculated what I thought would be the time of day when no food samples were available.  I arrived at 10:30 this morning and knew I was in trouble almost immediately.  I could SMELL trouble!!  Thank goodness, the tire department wasn't busy and I was told it would be about 45 minutes.   No need for details - you've all been either to Sam's or Costco.  You've done the same thing.   Let's just say there was no need for lunch.   It could've been a whole lot worse, so I'm not really angry with myself.  Just disappointed that at a time I'm struggling anyway, I certainly didn't do anything to help myself!  And I tried so hard to avoid being tempted.  Just one of those days when nothing worked out the way I planned.  

Dinner is almost ready and Mr. B has created a masterpiece in the form of yummy pork steaks along with fresh squash and zucchini all cooked on the grill.   Much better than anything Sam offered this morning!!


  1. I haven't experienced the joys of menopause yet:) But I think that even without the hormonal flux, the weight thing gets harder as we get older. (For most of us.) My goal weight at 47 is quite a bit more than I weighed decades ago, but realistic for my age. Sigh. I will say that I have begun experiencing the middle-age hormonal spread that my mom told me was coming. (Part of my blog name's origins, actually.)

  2. I have heard so many women say that. My next door neighbor is an in shape 60 year old and said that she packed on 60 lbs after menopause and had never been heavy her entire life. Ugh. That is just not fair!!

  3. OH, let me jump on your bandwagon on this one!! Get the weight off at the earliest age that you can, and learn how to keep it off!! You will save so much time NOT being bummed out over weight issues, you won't believe it! And, it won't be so difficult when everything starts slowing down in your body.

    It does get harder; it really does.

  4. Oh my, oh my, oh my.... Yep. sigh. groan. sniffle. Me, too. (age 58 here)

    Five years ago, sticking to a plan enabled me to lose 3 to 5 pounds a WEEK. Yep, a week. Now, I don't do that most months.

    And what happened today? I drowned my sorrows and stress in M&M cookies the grandchildren brought with them to my house. I honestly didn't know that they were 200 calories a piece :O but I surely knew they were GLUTEN and full of calories I didn't need. So annoyed with myself--and itching already. ack.

    Have at it now, young women, it will serve you well.


  5. I'm 46 and just began my journey to a healthy lifestyle and although I have lost and gained many times in my life, I am not surprised that this time it will take some additional determination to get back to where I was.

    At this point 3 pounds a month sounds good!


  6. If any young chickies are reading this and thinking these old bags are just making excuses... NO WAY!!! What they've all said is true.

    59 here, and in my younger days I could lose blubber with the best of them! BUT... I "dieted", and didn't change inside, so put it all back on and them some... several times.

    This time, it's ridiculously slow... but I'm also trying to make the mental changes, too, so once it's done, this is IT for good.

    So do yourselves a huge favor, and do like Sharon said... the younger the better. :-)


  7. Interesting. I definitely agree with the advice to lose it while you're young. If you've ever felt that the "real you" is hiding behind all the fat (like I've felt for so many years), it's wonderful to let the real you out and to be that person on the outside as well as the inside. As to the ease of losing weight, and at the risk of jinxing myself into a year-long plateau, I'd have to say that this time it's not that hard for me. I've seriously lost weight about 5 times in my adult life. I'm 59 now. In 2008 (about 2 yrs after my last period), I lost 50 pounds (in 8 months) to almost goal. I had a 40 pound setback on the sudden complete disability and subsequent total responsibility for my father. I finally put my shoulder to the wheel and started again at the beginning of May. I've lost 22 pounds in 2 1/2 months. Nothing drastic. I do WW, their CORE (Simply Filling) plan. I've tweaked some habits--exercise, water, portion control. Everything's working. My bottom line is, don't give up or fail to start just because you're older. I plan on being a skinny, fit granny (well, I've already got 5 grandkids, but I'll be skinny and fit!).

  8. I'm not quite to the big M yet, but I can already tell it is harder for me. I hear those same words from my past echoing in my head.

  9. Well, this was good for me to read. I did lose 100 pounds, but then it came to a screeching halt. Gained a little, lost it again, and now my weight is up a bit again (not using the scale right now.) But I am 55, and I am working more now on being 'content in whatever state I am in' and am about to give up on losing the last 25. Most frustrating of all, is that the weight all congregates around the middle, which makes a 5 pound gain seem like 25, I swear.

    Good blog.

  10. I'm in a race against the Mighty M - I want this weight off before it hits and at 52 I know I've got a small window of opportunity.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post and important reminder!

  11. Hi Sharon, Thanks for your comments on my blog! I would love to get to know you better. I am wondering if I'm going into early menopause - I know that many women think that but it's possible due to me being undiagnosed w/ celiac for so long (30+ years). They say the average age is 46. I'm almost 44 now. So any advice is appreciated! I'm looking forward to reading more on your blog.

  12. Great advice! I am soon to turn 53, am postmenopausal, and have lost half of my goal of 30 lbs. I gained this all since menopause. I was never overweight before. I have always been active.

    It is true that menopause changes a lot of things, not the least of which is your body shape and metabolism.

    Get your body in shape and to a decent weight while you're young. Weigh yourself at least weekly and if you have gained a pound, lose it immediately. Do everything you can to lose the pregnancy weight. Start eating less fast food. Watch your portions. Learn about nutrition.

    I do not intend to gain this weight back. I feel so much better already. And it is just too hard to get it gone.

    Great post, Sharon!

  13. I put on thirty pounds after menopause and am in the process of taking them off and then some. I just turned sixty and have a thyroid issue, too. My biggest issue last summer was an ankle injury that kept me from much exercise. I'm just getting back into exercise and with Weight Watchers and more walking I've lost 11 pounds. I honestly didn't think I could do it, so I am thrilled and inspired. There was a woman of 89 at one of our Weight Watcher meetings and she gave me some perspective on losing weight. I don't anticipate getting back down to 125 as in my high school days, but I'd be thrilled at staying at 150 and that's my goal.

  14. Great reminder or one more reason to get it under control sooner rather than later!

    Although I've NEVER had a fast or easy time of losing, even at my youngest... But I know it's not going to get any easier.

    Thanks for the reminder to everyone