I live a good life. I work steady and diligently during the week and meet my boyfriend from 3 hours away almost every weekend for relaxation, travel, food sharing and adventure.
We have been seeing each other for almost 3 years. When I met him, I was single, very trim – ripped actually, and a full 10 LBS lighter. I was rocking a fit and firm 50 year old body. Within the first year of relaxing, feasting, and drinking, I put on 10 LBS – and I’ve been trying to lose it ever since – til now.
I’m very good at challenging myself and I have discipline. I set out to lose which I felt was an excess of 10 LBS of uncomfortable flesh. My first attempt was a NO added sugar challenge (less than 25 grams a day). I did really well but didn’t lose an once. Then I tried Intermittent fasting – “bullet proof Coffee” yum. I was able to stick with this challenge for over 2 months and NADA.
I decided to take a different tact; do what comes naturally, change my way of daily exercising. I swapped my 5 strength training workouts to 2 strength workouts a week and added in 3x 5 KM runs a week. I gained a LB!
Next I gave up alcohol for a month, and at the end gained 2 LBS. GEEZ…..
You can imagine how frustrating this might be coming from a personal trainer who’s job it is to support some of my clients to lose weight. I KNEW that losing the 10 LBS was possible because just short of 2 years earlier I had decided to do a body building competition where I substantially decreased my body size down to a mere 8.9 % body fat. For those of you who may not not know exactly what that means; I am about 18 % body fat at the present moment and most woman of my age of 50 Plus are at anywhere from 20-27 % body fat.
After a year and a half of “experimenting” with my body and different approaches to losing weight and body fat, I started to look at what was happening in my body.
Being 52, I had to admit that I was fully in the throws of menopause, and my body is thoroughly hormonally confused. My body asks – am I in child bearing mode, or am I into my “crone” and post child bearing time? As my body takes the space to decide, I understand that there is a very good possibility that my testosterone levels are low or are maybe even not existent. My energy level has changed (thank goodness). I used to be frenetically paced sun up to sun down. I would run in circles accomplishing more in a single day than my friends could do in a week! I feel a noticeable change in my energies, and I am more chill, which I’m happy about.
Trying to lose the “last 10 LBS” feels like I am fighting myself all the time, and fighting against nature. Do I really need to be the same weight that I was at 40? My 10 LB weight increase has remained consistent over the last 3 years, it hasn’t been steadily rising. My body seems to have found a new homeostasis.
But my mind questions this; is this just giving up? So I turn to friends and my beloved sister, and my clients and reflections in my journal writing. And here are the questions that I have been pondering:
- How do I SEE myself at 52?
- When is it OK to be OK with where I am at?
- When is it GOOD ENOUGH? Get real – do I feel FIT, SENSUAL, COMFORTABLE IN MY SKIN, SEXY, AT EASE IN THIS BODY?
- Is what I am telling myself (my thoughts about weight on the scale) TRUE? Are they really TRUE?
I answered the questions and felt pretty ok with where I am at. But the MIND is tricky; it forgets that I have asked and answered these questions and defaults back into doubt, self-criticism and the mean girl comes out; she forgets that the body is hormonally confused and her expectations are based on the past.
Luckily for me, my mindfulness practise steps in to save the moment. Like a superpower, MFN makes me remember to question the thoughts and ask – is it true? Is it really true? And at this moment my thoughts, and the criticizing mind are interrupted and the mind takes a PAUSE, just long enough ponder the questions. Of course the mind says, “NO, it is not true.” And I’m ok again until the judging mind appears again.
I’d say this is pretty much exactly where I am with the whole last 10 LBS thing, mostly ok, occasionally back sliding to the old habit of judging myself. I’m in process. Adding the swear to it gives it a little more umph and causes my mind to not take myself so seriously. My mind responds to the expletive well.
The best tool for the job of staying on track to support the acceptance of my 52 year body as it is is MINDFULNESS; being aware when the mean girls voice comes out, confronting it on the spot, asking the is it true questions, swearing a bit, and playing with the feeling of being ok. When I experience the brief feeling of loving my body, it feels damned good. It feels good to release the struggle.
I’m really hoping that I can be fully at peace with where I am. Not giving up, not becoming complacent. I like my strong body and I appreciate that I can put on muscle relatively easy, and I feel good being fit. My boyfriend has commented that he likes my muscle but he also enjoys a little bit of softness, and that’s nice.
Releasing the struggle one day and one question at a time,
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