I was getting ready to drive to the doctor’s office for an annual check up and I thought, “Well, I’ve been eating well, walking the dog every day and going to the Y three times a week. Basically, I’ve been doing the things I encourage readers to do in my books on health and weight loss.”
So imagine my surprise when the nurse weighed me and announced, “You’ve gained two pounds since last year Dr. Mintle.” ‘”What? How can that be? I’m making a concerted effort here to keep my weight down with exercise and eating.”
After that, I have no idea what was said. I was obsessing on the weight gain. Granted, it was a small amount of weight, not really noticeable in my clothing, but just the idea that all that effort ended in a weight gain was depressing.
I had to remind myself of the grim fact that as we age, weight gain is usually part of the picture. We simply lose muscle cells. So if you keep your calorie count the same as when you were younger, the calories don’t burn as efficiently and end up as fat. And in my work, I spend a lot of time sitting! But that is why I work-out- 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes of weight lifting and crunching. Apparently, this isn’t enough exercise to maintain my weight.
Then there is the eating. I watch my portion size, I indulge once in awhile but overall, I eat fairly healthy. So the bottom line here is that if I want to maintain my weight, I have to cut back even more and/or up my exercise. This is not brain science! Well, actually it is!
I’m asking myself, how much am I willing to do? I don’t want to live my life never eating gelato again. And I don’t want to spend every day at the gym. The bottom line here is that I either accept the few pounds and continue to embrace exercise and healthy eating at the level I can handle or I cut back and feel like I am depriving myself. I know what happens with deprivation. All the studies tell us that this strategy leads to overeating.
My conclusion is this: It’s only a few pounds. Be more intentional with eating and exercise. Like the title of one of my books, Press Pause Before You Eat. Don’t give up because the healthy benefits not reflected in weight gain are still helping my physical body. Weight is only one measure of health (make this my mantra!). And accept the fact that aging brings more challenge to maintaining weight. I’m not overweight and the doctor didn’t even blink at the two pound weight gain. I was the one going crazy momentarily.
So I took a deep breath, focused on the good report she gave me at the end of my visit and decided to keep on keeping on. I know what I can handle in my schedule. Thankfully, I have a dog who pulls me out the door every day. And three days a week at the Y is all I can handle and frankly, want to do.
When I arrived home and sat at my desk, I spied a copy of my book, Making Peace With Your Thighs, on the shelf by the computer. Hmmm, maybe it is time to take my own advice!
What are your strategies for maintaining weight as you get older?