Losing Weight After 50

 Losing Weight After 50 Reflective Tapestry of Life

No one warned me when I was a young teen that I would have to be concerned with extra weight issues, as I got older.  Even after the birth of our first two daughters, I was amazed that it took so long to lose the weight I had gained, taking three months to lose it with the clothes still not fitting the way they once had.

After the arrival of our third daughter, six years after our second, it was much harder.  Busy with a full-time job that required 50, sometimes 60 hours a week, balancing daycare, school events, volunteer, family time along with a balance for our marriage made it difficult to find the “me” time necessary to exercise and pay attention to what I was consuming.

I eventually succumbed to the overused excuse of “baby weight”, until ten years later I realized that the baby weight I had gained during pregnancy never left.  As a matter of fact it increased another 20 pounds over this time frame.  It was time to face the truth!

Sure, stress, an over active lifestyle and a work environment that was invasive of family time, led to Mountain Dew caffeine fixes, quick lunches, quick pasta meals, a mid-day chocolate bar and more.  What caused the weight gain was my reality check.

I became acclimated to this craziness.  I avoided the dressing rooms as much as possible; selecting dresses that I “thought” would hide the problem.  I started to address the issue, but was also dealing with an issue that soon required some surgery.  Right before the surgery, I asked the surgeon if while he was working in the vicinity of my excess, if he could possibly remove some of it.  The best answer I could have received was: “I do not do that type of surgery, but if you really want to lose the weight, you need to decide to loss it.”

Talk about the truth hitting you in the face.  I was not angry nor frustrated with his response.  In reality it was the best answer I could have received.  For years physicians were telling me I was “fine”, when I knew that just short of 200 pounds I was NOT fine!  For my body type, I was overweight and if I really wanted to know the truth, I was obese.  Yikes!!   No wonder I did not enjoy shopping for clothes, facing the scale that had become a haven for dust accumulation under the cupboard shelves, with the added need to hide from intimacy.

Returning home after surgery, as soon as I was able, I was out walking.  I also told my family that I would only eat portion-sized meals and leave the table when I was done.  All soda was omitted from my diet as well as snack foods.  My treat for a day of controlled calorie consumption was two Hershey kisses.  The results of watching, controlling my portions, counting calories resulted in a huge weight loss of 50 pounds within 6 months!!  I was under the BMI index and no longer obese or overweight!!

With clothes a tad bit loose, I was able to make new dresses that were fun to wear as well as shop for jeans and undergarments that made me feel fit and sexy again.  My daughters and husband were proud of me, with the bonus of how sexy I felt when my husband would wrap his arms around me.  It was the best feeling in the world.

Of course life happens.  A few years after the weight loss, I took on some stress of attending some classes that required hours of study time.  The worse part of the class was the temptation of sweets that were in the middle of our class table that eventually the scent of chocolate got the best of me.  One piece led to two.  Over the course of four years, I had put back on 20 pounds.  Okay, not obese, but my intelligence confirmed that I had re-entered the overweight category again.

Along comes the age of turning 50 and trying to lose weight.  Well, even though I was eating healthy, exercising most days, I soon realized that eating well and exercising could still result in weight gain.  It took my orthopedic physician to share with me that I could relieve some of the joint issues by losing 20 pounds.  He was kind but direct.  When I got back to my vehicle, I cried on the trip back home.  But, it also gave me the time to accept the truth and decide what I was going to do about it.

I have shared with him how much it hurt to be told the truth about my extra weight and the effects it was having on my joints, but I was grateful that he did not avoid the truth and brush it aside.  I am now down to within 5 pounds of where I was a few years back, and 8 pounds within reach of my first goal.  My second goal is to be back to my weight of where I was when I was in my early twenties.

When I was twenty I could eat a salad, run a few miles and lose a few pounds.  Today at the age of 53, it is not so easy, most especially since my knees no longer enjoy the hitting of the pavement along with a changed metabolism.  Yet, I am determined to reach my goal in hopes of relieving the aches and pains that come along with age and excess weight.

I seriously watch what I eat.  I selectively choose snacks at social gatherings; drink lots of water, while avoiding the carbs and sweets.  I maintain a gluten and milk free diet, being cautious to not over consume on the milk substitutes of soy, almond and coconut.  My carb consumption is limited to a few gluten/milk free crackers; a few slices of bread each week, and possibly a bowl of cereal.  The bulk of what I eat is fruit, veggies and healthy sources of protein.  The treats of my diet consist of a homemade item that is both gluten and milk free with no preservatives with the occasional indulgence of something I crave.

There is no guarantee that the aches and pains will disappear, but my weight loss goal is in sight.  It hurts to exercise, but I do not use that as an excuse to stop.  The stronger I make my muscles, the more strength I will have to continue on.

There is no guarantee I am going to avoid health issues, but for now my goal is to keep my blood pressure and blood work within normal limits while trying to get back in shape.  There is no guarantee I will never again encounter stress in my life, which is the catalyst to my gaining weight, as I tend to be a stress eater.   Additionally, there is no guarantee that the joints will eventually win, reducing my ability to exercise.

But for now it feels great to be back within the goal of where I am most healthy and feeling my best.  I am very thankful to the brave physicians who were willing to be honest with me without allowing me to conform to today’s society of accepting what is not healthy.  Truth can sometimes hurt, but truth can also set you free.

Our journey in life can have obstacles, but it is being willing to face them, that will allow us to overcome them. – Laura

Be healthy, be fit, be happy

~ Laura

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