Posts Tagged mid-life weight loss

Beyond the Diet

Being on a diet can be a terribly lonely experience. Involving others is important for successful outcomes. We must look to people who are available to provide us with positive feedback and encouragement. It’s also important that they know how to listen, respect our goals and avoid imposing their own beliefs.

You can heal your struggles with food and eating. Food is not the problem; it is the solution. Identifying the source of your hungers takes you out of the diet mentality and initiates your healing. Starting on a stringent diet is actually much easier than identifying underprivileged, underfed aspects of yourself.

Discard the old diet mentality and bring bold nourishment to every forgotten corner of your being – Body, Mind and Spirit. This is a singularly profound accomplishment. If you have difficulties getting started or need support during a rough time, ask for help. Involve those who know you well and care about you. It gives up none of your authority- It enhances it.

If circumstances allow, work with an experienced therapist, professional trainer, nutritional counselor, physician, or spiritual leader—someone who knows and values their own truth and is respectful about yours. Anyone who does not work with you in caring, safe and beneficial ways is not useful to your process.

Women can form special alliances. We often make an instant connection to a total stranger, someone we know casually or have yet to meet who was once where we are now.  We make deep and abiding bonds to other women who are also searching for their answers and their truth.  Our greatest ally is often another woman. Sometimes someone comes along or is already in our lives that we can confide in and trust to help us.

 

The Scale: Tyrant Or Tool?

imagesSCE3MP10Remember it is your behavior that determines your weight, not the scale. Think about how you use your scale. Or, does it use you? Does it tell you how to feel, what to wear or what to eat? Do you weigh yourself as frequently as you floss your teeth? Standing on a cold scale is the second thing many women do every morning. Others haven’t been near a scale for years. You are too savvy to compete with an appliance but you may have become dependent on one. Please, don’t give up any of your power to a number.

If the anxiety of not weighing yourself at your usual frequency is too high, reduce your dependency on the scale by skipping a weigh-in” whenever you can. Deciding not to weigh yourself this morning may be the first step you take in healing your relationship with food.  Healthy weight loss involves reconnecting to your body and yourself in different ways.

The process of discovering a healthier weight can be a time for continual growth. You can’t rely solely on what the scale “says” when it comes to gauging your knowledge, beliefs and attitudes about what being healthy means for you. That the scale does not register an expected weight loss at a particular time does not reflect the beneficial changes taking place on a physical, emotional and spiritual level as you are making changes in how you eat to be healthier woman. Your best weight may be very different from the number in your head, on a chart or how much your best friend weighs.

INVITATION TO HEAL

dreamstime_m_34879771Food, in its broadest sense heals. Our hunger is an invitation to healing. Our thoughts and feelings about our foods, our hungers and how we feed ourselves reflect a great deal about our identity as women. Our behavior around food says something about how well we love ourselves, how we relate to others and what we do with our lives. It’s that important.

For some of us, decisions about food and eating are so layered and complicated that they become a source of on-going tension that never lets up. We become so caught up in the daily struggle that we don’t fully grasp that our lives don’t have to be this way. Before we know it, tomorrow is already upon us and the struggle begins again. A different paradigm for thinking about food can free you from thoughts about being or becoming fat, and all the other related issues that have taken a stranglehold on your life. What Part of You Is Hungry?

Unhealthy attitudes about our bodies and how we feed them prevail. Some of us use food as a buffer between layers of pain and heartbreak, exhausting our will. Too many of us starve, no matter how much we eat. Every woman should take a close look at her relationship with food because it is perhaps the most intimate barometer of self-worth and how we live our lives. As we heal our relationship with food, we heal our relationship with ourselves and come as close to living “happily ever after” as we can get.

“Age Appropriate” Weight Loss

untitled.pngowMost women enter perimenopause, the period that signals the end of our reproductive years, somewhere in our forties and fifties. Perimenopausal and menopausal weight gain is common. Low estrogen levels can cause hormonal imbalance during this time in our lives. Because estrogen is stored in fat, when we approach menopause, our bodies hold on to fat cells in an effort to boost falling estrogen levels. This is an excellent time to recommit to making our optimum level of health a priority and seek out useful nutritional, medical and emotional support.

As this transition in our lives stabilizes, so may a new bodyweight. Having arrived at a middle or more mature age, trying to get back to our high school or college weight doesn’t always make sense. Our post-reproductive longevity affords us opportunity to make some challenging but gratifying upgrades, improvements and remodeling as we seek to mature gracefully. Even the physical changes our bodies undergo as we mature (which our culture works so hard to deny) are essential preconditions to reaching a productive and happy old age with less conflict, gracious surrender and welcome.

We can be healthy, active “seniors.” We can even move comfortably into a larger size. The fact that we once wore a size 6 or 8 and have added an extra digit to the number on our labels is not catastrophic. If we are decidedly overweight and losing a lot of weight all at once is too difficult to achieve or maintain, it is important to keep in mind that losing excess weight in stages is also beneficial.

No matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce health benefits such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars. You can also expect to see improvements in your energy level, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence. Starting off with a more modest weight loss goal makes it easier to maintain it and may motivate you to take more weight off later on, at your own pace.

Whether you’ve always had trouble with your weight or struggled anytime along the way, take heart. You can start wherever you are right now. It’s never too late. Your body wants to be healthy and will ultimately benefit from your efforts to feed it well, regardless of the extent to which its performance, functioning and form have been compromised. Your amazing body manages a legion of complex human functions and interactions to maintain its balance and health with loyalty and resilience. You can depend on your body to make courageous efforts to compensate for physical and psychological maladies as they occur as long as you make more healthy choices and decisions about its care.

getty_rf_photo_of_three_women_exercising We can successfully stabilize our weight and get our bodies fit in our 50’s, 60’s and beyond – perhaps with an advantage we did not have available to us when we were younger. An African proverb says: “The death of a very old person is like the loss of a library.” Our knowledge base builds intellectually and emotionally as we age. Experience gives us greater wisdom in seeking out more creative strategies and effective resources for dealing with the issues we face.

It makes sense that the care and preservation of our bodies would become even more important to us as we acquire a deeper understanding of our own mortality. Along with the realization of the utter preciousness of life, we gain insight into many of those youthful, naïve, intense interpretations of reality. “Some day” is “right now” and our “prince” is decidedly in the past.

We transition from having to have a fit and healthy body to really wanting one. We can stop pushing our bodies to more extreme physical limits and begin to respect those limits as they change. We can care more about our relationship with our bodies than what they look like. Most importantly, we understand how precious our health is to the quality of our lives. And so, we nourish our bodies responsibly, lovingly and with great enthusiasm because we want to fully enjoy every moment.