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Losing Those Pandemic Pounds
This is really embarrassing. But I’m sure I’m not alone.
Somehow, I got the courage to get on the scales last month and discovered that I had gained 23 pounds during the pandemic.
Is this what they mean by spreading middle age? I felt like a slug. Big sigh. It was like that humorous poem, “Then to my surprise eyes should appear, but, 20 extra pounds on the hips, thighs, and behind.”
This fact is especially difficult to share since I wrote a book titled, “Ten Secrets to Lose Weight After 50.”
How did this happen to me?
Several years ago, after caring for my mother with Lewy body dementia, I loaded up on books. I was horrified to weigh 172 after his death. The most I have weighed in my life so far. So I did a lot of research and experience, lost 15 pounds – whether or not it is a booger to lose weight as you age, then share how I did it in this book. I even managed to keep the weight on … until the pandemic.
I broke the 5 pound rule I shared in my book – if I gain 5 pounds it’s when they lose 5 pounds. Everyone else was stress-eating, indulging, and drinking wine. Why not me? We’ve all had to console ourselves somehow, haven’t we? After the pandemic was over, I would lose weight again, I reasoned. After all, I knew how to do it.
Well, the problem with that kind of thinking is that COVID is sticking around for a lot longer than I planned. At first, I told myself that on January 1st I would start losing weight. Surely, 2021 will be a better and less stressful year. Then one day, I was sitting in front of a full-length closet door mirror and my reflection shocked me. I took a picture, gritted my teeth, and decided to face the music on the scales.
I tip the scales at 180 pounds. Unfortunately, I broke my previous record. My BMI is 29 and 30 is considered obese. I was on the edge. At the rate I was going, I would easily accomplish this feat by the first of the year.
Obesity severity during a pandemic
I couldn’t let that happen. After all, this is not the time to become obese. Southern California, where I live, is the current epicenter for COVID as we head into 2021. According to the CDC, obesity increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus and can triple the risk of hospitalization. Put simply, as BMI increases, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases.
Yes, a vaccine is around the corner, but here’s some more bad news: Studies have shown that obesity may be linked to lower vaccine response. Yes!
So, yes, I hated how I looked, but that wasn’t my main motivation to lose weight. I want to reduce my risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID. Besides, I just turned 60 a few months ago. I want to stay healthy and strong so that when this is over I can travel again, play with my grandchildren, and live longer.
There is no time like the present
No more procrastination. Last month, I started my journey to a healthy me. I wanted to find out, so I posted my weight on my author’s Facebook page and declared that I was going to start following my own advice in my book. It was very scary to make this announcement in case I failed, but it was time to be honest with myself and others.
A few weeks later, my husband posted a picture of me on a trip. I had lost some weight by then, but still looked a bit heavy. Normally, I would scold him for posting this picture. Since I gained weight, shame, I only allow head shots. But you know what? I own it! I leave Facebook approval.
I re-read the chapter in my book about changing my attitude (like thinking weight loss is impossible when you’re older and complaining that methods that worked when I was younger didn’t work anymore). I review my tips on how to overcome a slower metabolism and loss of muscle mass, manage stress eating, avoid hunger, and how to get over stubborn plateaus.
Very good stuff – now I only had to follow through on my own suggestion.
Choose the right diet
So I started my journey and the weight started coming. I didn’t cut out all carbs, consume grapefruit, eat at certain times of day, use specific supplements, or eat raw foods. There were no dangerous surgeries, diet pills, expensive weight loss programs, expensive supplements, expensive gym membership fees, or personal trainers involved. And no starving myself or following crazy fad diets that are not only unhealthy but don’t work in the long run.
You don’t have to do anything to lose weight. Avoid all those fad diets your friends are raving about that work for a while, but aren’t sustainable. As we get older, it’s important to make health — not rapid weight loss — a priority. Experts warn that rapid weight loss can cause malnutrition and loss of lean muscle mass. Fad diets can also cause digestive difficulties; for example, many of the diets tend to be high protein can cause severe constipation. Plus, you’re more likely to gain the weight back. Who needs all that?
Remember, you are older and wiser. Your goals are different now. You won’t lose weight to look good in a bikini this summer or fit into a pair of tight jeans at the weekend. You want to lose weight so you can live longer and stay healthy and strong.
There is a lot of confusion about choosing the right diet. You will want to use a plan that is nutritionally balanced with no forbidden foods and is easy to follow, allows occasional indulgence, and provides permanent changes to a healthy lifestyle.
While writing my book, I tried some of the top recommended diets on the US News World Report’s “Best Overall Diet” List, including the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet, and Weight Watchers (by the way , the popular Keto, Paleo, Atkins, and raw food diets rank as some of the worst on their list). I share the pros and cons of the above diets, requirements, and my personal thoughts based on my own experience.
Weight Watchers, ranked number one for the best weight loss diet, worked best for me during this time, so this is the plan I’m using now. Everyone is different, however, so you will need to find what works best for you. If you want to try any of the other healthy diets listed, you can find inexpensive copies of the diet books and recipes on Amazon.
So here I am a month later and, thank God, my tips are still working like magic! How much weight have I lost? I am 169 pounds, so I lost 11 pounds in four weeks. I’m off to a very good start and determined to stay in this for a long time!
I already feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. During the pandemic, when many are out of control, this will allow me to regain control of my food.
Experts tend to agree, if you need to lose a lot of weight, set smaller work goals better than aiming for an intimidating, seemingly-impossible number that seems so far in the future you can’t imagine it.
Make sense. Setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in six weeks is less overwhelming than setting a goal to lose 100 pounds in a year. Short-term milestones keep you focused on your success and progress instead of fixating on how much weight you still need to lose. Meeting your mini deadlines is encouraging and energizing.
In my case, I need to lose about 30 pounds to reach a healthy weight. My first goal was to lose 10 pounds in six weeks, which I happily accomplished. However, from past experience, I know that weight falls faster when you first start dieting. It slows down after that with some trays thrown in that hinder progress.
So I hope to lose one to two pounds a week here on out. Some weeks I may not lose anything – I may even gain a pound or two. That’s okay. Keep in mind, as you pass the age of 50, your metabolism slows down and you lose muscle mass. This means losing weight is more difficult and will likely take longer. But it is certainly not impossible! And well worth the effort.
So here on out, I’m going to make it my goal to lose five pounds a month – and focus just on those five pounds instead of all the weight I still need to lose.
Who wants to join me?
So it’s the start of a new year and all those resolutions. Is losing weight on your list? Are there any brave souls willing to join me on my journey?
Do you need help? Want to know what tried and true “tricks” I have up my sleeve to lose weight after 50? Do you need answers to questions like: How can you control stress eating? What can you do to not feel hungry? What type of exercise gives the best results? How can you get over these stubborn plateaus?
If so, subscribe to my blog, BabyBoomerBliss.net, and you’ll receive a free copy of my book, 10 Secrets to Losing Weight After 50. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a Kindle edition of my book on Amazon for only $2.99 (a paperback edition is available for $7.99). By the way, if you read and enjoyed the book, reviews are greatly appreciated!
You can also like my author FB page to get weight loss tips and follow my progress. I post a picture of my balance every week and promise to share my successes – and, yes, my struggles and failures too.
For example, I knew the last week of last year would be very difficult since I was on my normal schedule. So I made it a goal to simply maintain my weight this week. I believe it’s okay to take periodic breaks as long as you don’t go TOO crazy and have a set date to start eating healthy again. It probably helps in the long run. I let my followers know that I got a book back. I’ll keep it real.
If you decide to join me on my weight loss journey, here is another tip from my book. No matter how much weight you gain back during this process, keep your long-term goals in front of you and eventually return to healthy eating and exercise. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect perfection. One bad decision doesn’t have to ruin your entire diet unless you allow it to. Keep your vision of success alive and well. Remind yourself of all the reasons you want to lose weight. If you have a bad day, week, month, or even year, start each day anew and don’t beat yourself up for setbacks. Living a healthier lifestyle is a process.
We can do this together!
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