LOSING WEIGHT AT MIDLIFE IS HARD
March 23, 2008
Your Metabolism Changes as you Age
If you have the type of metabolism that allows you to eat whatever you want without any consequences then stop reading right now - and go have yourself a pizza and a Pepsi. I used to have that type of metabolism - and then things slowly changed in my mid-thirties. I'm forty-three right now - and for the last seven years or so, I've still been able to eat whatever I want - but I've had to balance days where I ate poorly with good days where I would eat healthy. Well even that changed this past Christmas. I gained ten pounds between mid-December and mid-January - JEEZ.
Now I am not generally considered to be a fat person - not slim either, but definitely not fat. My "normal" weight was usually around 180 ... and would fluctuate between 180 and 185. I considered my maximum weight to be 187 ... which is easy to remember because that is the California penal code reference for homicide ;o) Whenever I'd hit 187, I'd immediately go on a diet that consisted of salads or chicken or fish or turkey for dinner ... but I'd still eat whatever I wanted for lunch.
Emergency Plan to Lose the Holiday Weight
During the second week of January, I made the mistake of stepping on the bathroom scale - which I hadn't done for months ... and I weighed in at an alarming 194. Holy shit - no wonder the pleats in my pants were stretching. I immediately declared a self-imposed emergency, and directed myself to do three things:
My last Midlife Gym Phase was over a year ago - and it failed miserably because I didn't have the commitment necessary to succeed. You can read from the link (Midlife Gym Phase) that my intentions were good ... but the reality was that at that time, I never made it to the "personal trainer phase". This time, however, I'm all over it - and have been working with that trainer three times each week since the first week of February.
Being in the gym after a long gap is embarrassing. I'm stiff, and I shake like Elvis when I'm doing certain exercises like ball pushups. Side note - have you ever done ball exercises? This refers to a large gym ball - the trainer has me do all kinds of exercises which involve balance as well as strength ... and these exercises are REALLY HARD. And because I shake while doing them (from being out of shape), it provides a pretty good free show for the others in the gym who are "gym maniacs" or regulars. Fortunately, I always check my pride at the door when I go to the gym. Anyway, between doing cardio on the elliptical machine, and the three hours each week I spend with the trainer, I'm doing pretty well - making noticeably progress. I'm also making new friends at the gym - which is due to me being outgoing, and able to make fun of myself.
As far as the diet goes - that is what is really the hardest thing to do every day. For breakfast, I eat Egg Beaters with some extra hot jalapeno salsa on it. Sometimes I swap in garlic pepper for the jalapeno salsa - just to be different. This is a very low carb/low calorie breakfast. I chase the Egg Beaters with a single glass of orange juice, one cup of green tea, and some horsepill vitamins that my chiropractor talked me into buying from him. Before I started the diet, I would have had frozen waffles, or eggs with sausage or bacon, toast, etc. I was previously a "big breakfast eater". I think it is important whether you are dieting or not to take some form of nutritional supplement or multivitamin - to ensure you are getting all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy.
For lunch, if I'm home or working from home - I try to have either a salad with some baked chicken cut up in it ... or I'll have a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread. I usually have a piece of fruit - like an orange or an apple or a banana. If I go the sandwich route - the key is to keep the portion small ... not a great big sandwich ... which previously I used to go and get a big submarine-type sandwich from the local deli.
Dinner is the hardest. I love Mexican food - but there is nothing remotely healthy about Mexican food. Sometimes I'll go and have a taco salad, but it is too hard to go and sit in a Mexican restaurant without having chips and salsa - which are bad, bad, bad. So I do my best to either eat at home ... chicken, turkey, fish with just one vegetable. Or I go to a restaurant that serves seafood ... and then I try to only have brown rice, or vegetables with the fish ... but definitely no potatoes. Since I live with my girlfriend, I have to compromise at least once each week on the type of restaurant we go to for dinner ... so my evening diets have not been completely perfect. But I'm eating a lot better than I was before the first week of February - that is for sure.
Results after Seven Weeks
As of today - seven weeks into the diet and personal trainer gym phase, I have lost 11 pounds. This "11 pounds" has been steady for about a week and a half - which means I haven't lost any more weight in a week and a half. I think that is due to a couple of slip-ups I had - mainly the dreaded but delicious Girl Scout cookies. Have you tried the Caramel Delights? Those are so good! But I'm not buying any more of those - I don't care how cute the girl's moms are! Anyway - I still have eight pounds to go to get to 175 so we'll see if I can stick with the current diet/gym strategy. I'm pretty sure I can make it. And I'm also pretty sure that the same day I hit 175, I'm going to go out and get myself a pizza to celebrate!