The ‘W’ Word

Friday, February 6, 2009

Okay – so our jeans get a little tight…no big deal. These things happen occasionally and then we go back to normal. Well, when the part about going back to normal stops happening you are on the road to 50! It happened to me at 44 – bad year that one.

I was baffled. I just knew there was something dreadfully wrong with me. I mean really, what horrible disease must I have to make my body turn on me this way?? When I started researching, I found out that when you have a disease, you’re probably going to lose weight not gain it (sigh). So much for that. Did that mean I was in an unhealthy state of healthy??

Seriously, it took me a couple of years to figure out how to deal with the chronic weigh issues. In the meantime, I went from 115 lbs to 150 at my highest. I know this is going to sound really melodramatic, but it was the worst time of my life. I felt like I was stuck in a foreign body and I couldn’t get out.

What did I do? I tried eating less. Then eating less than that. Then eating even less. The doctor just told me that I was older and I need to consume fewer calories. It was baffling. How could being older cause these problems!?

I got a lot of advice like: “This is it – get used to it” and “At your age, be happy you don’t have to worry about looking good anymore” and “Why are you worried – you’re married.” That didn’t help. Then there was the all time winner (this was said when I was 30 lbs heavier than I had ever been) “Oh, I don’t think you look any different than you looked at 25.” I nearly shot myself (laugh).

I read books on weight. I read books on perimenopause. I read books on exercise. I tried all sorts of things but nothing changed. Then I developed an alergic reaction and had to take steroids – eeeek! Do you know that those things make you swell up like a balloon??? I quit taking them.

Finally, out of desperation, I tried Nutrisystems. That worked. Why? Because I didn’t have to figure anything out. I didn’t have to know how much to eat. They just sent me the food and I ate it. I learned something from that. I realized that prior to the Year of Bad Tidings (when I was 44), I ate a lot. There were no consequences, so I didn’t think about it until I was presented with appropriate portion sizes. Looking back, I see that I probably ate five or ten times more than what is “appropriate.” It turned out that I had just been lucky for most of my life. As I ate better and worked out (we’ll talk about that in another blog) and I was able to tolerate myself.

I have learned that some foods are the enemy. They are: bread, sugar, refined flour, chips, and sodas. There are some friends in the food world, though they are rare. The freindly foods are: water (yes, I know that’s not technically a food – but it is my best friend), fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, humus and salmon. If I remember nothing else, I remember PORTION CONTROL. This was a life style that was really difficult. One tip: carrot chips and homemade humus are great staples to have in the fridge.

My first lesson on this road to fifty was that I can’t eat the way I used to. Of course, the lessons were only beginning. I’m glad I didn’t know that then!

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