I never had a weight problem. Then I hit age 40 and everything went “SPROING!” My hair, my skin, all those little blue veins, but especially my weight. Tried everything … nothing worked.
I wish I would have known how to eat and exercise 20 years ago. Then maybe my battle of the bulge would be easier — maybe even nonexistent! So if you’re young and reading this, please don’t consider this an Old Lady Plan. You have my permission, however, to skip any menopause anecdotes and references to Frankie Valli. Bookmark them for when you’re 49, though. You’ll want to revisit those. Just sayin.
I’m not a medical professional or a fitness pro, nor do I have any scholarly degree that qualifies me to give diet advice. But I’ve figured out a healthy lifestyle that works for me and I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work for you too.
I’m simply a middle-aged woman, frustrated when I saw how far I was spreading across my desk chair. I’ve never really cared about the number on my bathroom scale, and granted, it was never scary high. But I HATE spending money buying clothes to replace the ones I outgrew. And I had some cute clothes! Even my kick-ass boots didn’t zip up my leg anymore.
I suspect you have a similar story of frustration.
In my quest for weight-loss enlightenment, I read a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff. All the diet books. I found something to love in all of them, although in a couple the only good thing was coming to the end. Some of it – not all of it – made sense to me so I started incorporating bits and pieces of everything I learned into my plan. But most of the diets and advice out there didn’t work for me.
Some were too difficult. “Dude. Really? A cheeseburger with no bun?!”
Some were unsustainable for more than twenty minutes. “Vegan? Uh, no thank you.” A wise bumper sticker once said, “If God didn’t want you to eat meat, why did he make it so delicious?” Or in the words of Homer Simpson, “You don’t win friends with salad.”
Some were just icky and dangerous. Watermelon three times a day? Blech. Cleanse with cayenne? Ouch.
Some require meetings. “What’s that now? You want me to pry myself out of my chair? To attend a public weigh-in? And pay you money every time? Hmm. Let me get back to you on that.”
I wanted the experts to hold my hand and tell me what to do. Most of them refused, but the ones who did made everything too difficult, let go of my hand and I failed.
I hate to fail.
I was overwhelmed by food choices and advice about what I should be doing – lowfat … no fat … full fat … low carb … no carb … complex carbs – ARGGHH!
I was overwhelmed by exercise advice – steady cardio … interval training …resistance training … low reps/high weight … high reps/low weight … Pilates … yoga … health clubs … personal trainers – ARGGHH!
I was overwhelmed with the other portions of my life – kids’ needs … husband’s needs … parents’ needs … alone time … family time … time with friends … money worries … business worries … personal fulfillment … shopping for a new kick-ass pair of boots – ARGGHH!
Taking the lazy way out, I lumped it all under the lazy moniker. On any given day I can’t handle all the stuff I just listed. People understand lazy. People forgive lazy. Why? Because everyone is lazy! It’s not bad. It’s not particularly good, either. It just is.
Embrace the lazy. Love the lazy.
Because all the books and advice and programs left me feeling like Gilligan — the Skipper’s right … no, the Professor is right! — I’ve incorporated everything that makes sense to me and that I feel isn’t too difficult to do. That’s really the key. (Have I mentioned my laziness?)
What works for me is eating 400-calorie meals … never going more than 3 hours without eating something … keeping my sugar intake below 15 grams per day … drinking lots of water … strength training and/or cardio most days.
But guess what? I also drink beer and wine … I eat chocolate almost every day … I eat fast food … I drink coffee … and I eat more bacon than normal people would consider healthy. Oh! And I LOST weight over the holidays.
Over the course of the years, I’ve tried all these things individually. At one point I was even working out like it was my job, but I just kept getting fatter. Nothing happened for me — healthfully speaking — until I incorporated bits of everything.
This is truly a liveable plan. It’s not fancy. It’s not expensive. It’s not a fad. And it’s not a diet. Rather, it’s a healthy lifestyle I can be happy with the rest of my days. Not too much of anything – not too little of anything.
And you can do it too. Why? Because I’m going to hold your hand and give you all the information and tools that I use.