Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Credentials

FIRST ENTRY: I'm not a doctor or nutritionist or even a weight loss consultant. But I am someone who has battled with weight much of my life. At thirteen, I can remember going on a trendy rice diet for 10 days to lose as many pounds. That's eating nothing but rice, every day, for 10 days. Thankfully, it worked. That, along with a young metabolism, took me at a good weight well into my 20s. I found I could jettison any pounds that crept on by cutting calories for a few weeks. As the years added up however, keeping off the weight began to take more effort. I couldn't shed the pounds as quickly after overindulging.
When I got married in my late 30s, we ate out often and I, who had never really cooked for anyone but myself, and that often consisted mostly of eating over the sink, started preparing the only foods I knew. The ones I had grown up eating, delicious high fat meals. They were good and I was happy and I was eating heartily. As my portions got bigger, so did I. In the first 5 years of our marriage I put on 20 pounds. My husband never said I was anything but beautiful, but I knew better. I was disgusted with my body. I hated clothes shopping and I noticed my joints ached more. Getting out of bed actually hurt. At first, I attributed it all to age, but I suspected I might feel better if I lost weight. Finally after many failed attempts at one fad diet after another and taking off no more than a couple of pounds at a time, I remembered the only thing that ever really worked for me, calorie counting.
I knew I also had to be in the right frame of mind. I decided if I couldn't do this, if it didn't work, I would finally join one of those weight loss groups for help. But the idea of walking into a room full of strangers to say "I'm fat" like an AA meeting, scared me to death. That was my motivation. But would counting calories still work after all these years? Yes, it did. And I'm here to tell you I accomplished my goal of losing 20-pounds in less than 6 months. In fact, it worked so well, I lost an extra 5 pounds just for grins. I got into a pair of jeans that I hadn't put on in years. Shopping became not only fun, it became a thrill. I loved who and what I saw in the dressing room mirror! I had forgotten how much I missed that person and I could have kicked myself for not doing something about it sooner.
So because I know this works, I want to share my experience with you in case it can benefit others who struggle like I do. I say "do" because it's a never ending battle. Unless you have health problems or are taking medications that tend to put on weight in spite of everything you do, I think you can get some good out of this blog.
Let me say that I was never obese. If you are, (and you know if you are), you should consult a professional who can guide you through the choices and changes you need to accomplish your weight loss goal. This site is for those Baby Boomers who have hit that menopausal time of life. Perhaps you have a high school reunion on the horizon or a wedding coming up. Perhaps you have lost a spouse through death or divorce and are starting over. Perhaps you have finally taken a critical look in the mirror and can admit you are 20-30 pounds heavier than you know you should be. You don't know where the time went or how the pounds got there, but here you are. Mine came on by adding 3-5 pounds each year. It didn't look like much on the scale because it came on so slowly. But you should realize, as I did, that if you continue to ignore those little creeping numbers up the scale, you WILL find yourself obese and undoubtedly facing serious health problems on every level.
If you've been making excuses like, "Oh, it's just my age," or "I'm over 40, I can't expect to look like my teenage daughter," or "it's because my job is stressful," or "my husband says he likes me this way," then you need to keep reading. Yes, age makes a difference in our metabolism and they say stress contributes to our bodies' hanging on to fat and calories that we don't need, but there IS something you can do about it. I'm not suggesting we need to be Celebrity Skinny like those desperate women in Hollywood. No, I'm saying it's too soon for us to be giving up! And no one should expect to look like a teenager again. But you can look your best at the age you are. As for your partner liking you this way, it's important to know you should not do this for anyone but yourself, but men are visual beings. They want to like what they see. Nothing is nicer than seeing a positive body image reflected in your partner's eyes. Your husband may be a prince of a guy who is nothing but supportive, but I'll lay odds that if you lose 10-15 pounds, he's going to take notice. Try it. What have you got got lose?

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