- to avoid mirrors.
- to cut tags out of clothes so you don’t see the size.
- to wake up every morning and tell yourself, “This day is going to be different: I’m only going to eat good food.” But then by 3:00 you’ve already lost control and eaten those cookies or the candy bar, or maybe you overindulged at lunch with co-workers and need yet one more coffee or “diet” soda to perk you up for the rest of the day.
I was on that downward spiral of self-loathing.
The day I hit rock bottom was like any other day
At my lowest point, I was drinking far too much coffee and had uncontrollable, unhealthy food cravings. My stress was off the charts: on a scale of 1 to 10, it was 11! I wanted to take a nap every afternoon, but instead, drank more coffee and ate sugary or white foods (and felt guilty).
I was increasingly concerned about developing diabetes due to my dysfunctional relationship with sugar and my waistline being well into the danger zone. I did not look or feel good, and had crossed the line of justifying it with “everyone gains a little weight in their 40s” – because it was more than a little. At night I’d vow to do better the next day. But the next day, the cycle repeated.
I had a life-and-death ah ha moment while on vacation
My husband and I went to Aruba at the end of June 2015 for a short vacation. We couldn’t figure out how to take a whole week away (or many vacation pictures, since I was hiding from the camera) but we spent four great days on the beach. Every morning, we drank a smoothie and stared at the ocean.
When we returned home, I traded my coffee pot for a blender (replacing coffee with smoothies) and implemented some other lifestyle changes, such as exercise, mindfulness, and positive self-talk.I decided that life is too short not to enjoy it. I couldn’t keep taking my health for granted or put off self-care. I have a few friends who have diseases like cancer or ALS, over which they have no control; however, if I ended up with high blood pressure or diabetes, or needing a knee replacement it would be nobody’s fault but mine.
It's more difficult to lose weight after age 40 than when you're younger, but not impossible
I began to lose weight.
After approximately three months I lost 30 pounds, by 6 months it was 40 pounds, and I’m still going (though the rate of weight loss has slowed). I am never hungry, I do not count calories or points. I didn’t put on all that weight overnight and do not expect to take it off in three days, a week, or 21 days no matter what popular diet fads might indicate.
It is a wonderful feeling to put on clothes that are no longer binding or restrictive. I do not need to buy any more garments in the size I said I would never buy again, nor do I have to tug at my clothes constantly to cover a body I am ashamed of. I have far more wardrobe choices (I am not afraid to show my arms anymore). My socks don’t leave marks on my ankles and I do not feel like I’m going to overheat at any moment. I can walk, hike, and even run with my dogs.
Here's what I learned
[bctt tweet="You can't exercise away bad eating habits -- diet makes a difference when you're trying to lose weight after age 40." username="carolineposer"]
- To lose weight after age 40 is not as simple as “eat less and exercise more” — it matters what you eat. You really can't exercise off a regular diet of fast food
- Things that used to work for us no longer do (e.g., black coffee and cigarettes or other forms of food restriction and stimulants do not enable permanent weight loss)
- Our metabolisms change as we get older, especially if we have become more sedentary with desk jobs and are not carrying our kids around
- This is and likely will be a constant battle for me, because sometimes I regress when I put everyone else first and don’t get enough sleep
- I am a sugar addict and I really want to drink coffee again. Eating healthy is a lifestyle change that requires constant vigilance to maintain
- What has worked for you to lose weight after age 40?How do you keep from backsliding into bad habits?