So I opened my newspaper this morning and was greeted with this headline on page 10:
"Daily 1-hour workouts a must for older women to fight flab" and like the rest of the "older women" in the nation said to myself -
To hell with it! Why do I even bother??
When I took journalism 101 at Iowa State, I remember the prof telling us that the average reader seldom reads beyond the first couple of paragraphs of a newspaper article so make 'em good and make your point early. In this particular article, the first couple of paragraphs only compounded the depressing news, stating that "sobering new research spells out just how much exercise women need to keep the flab off as they age -- and it's a lot."
So I decided to go beyond the average reader and actually read the whole article which turned out to be much less depressing. It seems that middle-aged and older women who started at a healthy weight with a BMI of less than 25 who were NOT on calorie cutting diets but consistently got in an hour of moderate activity gained little or no weight, while those without the activity gained an average of 6 pounds.
It's not that I think 6 pounds is so little. I fought for every one of the 70 pounds I lost and I always tell people that out of those 70 pounds, the last ten seemed to be the hardest.
But what I'm afraid is that if I can read that headline and can feel hopeless and think why bother, then the average woman - especially an overweight woman - will REALLY feel discouraged.
They won't go on to read that we are talking 6 pounds and that moderate activity encompasses brisk walking, leisurely bicycling and even golfing. I've cleaned out a closet and felt like I expended more energy than I would have golfing!
It's true that few overweight women get that much exercise --with the notable exception of us Sparkers, right ladies?
The reasearchers said that it's uncertain whether the results would apply to men. With no disrespect to the many men on Spark people, I'd have to hazard a guess that the results most likely wouldn't apply.
My husband announced that he needed to lose a few pounds so he cut out the evening Twinkies and lost 5 pounds! Oh he assured me indignently that it wasn't JUST cutting out the Twinkies. It was adding the Kashi bars he said with a wink and a smile while pointing at the bathroom....
Oh and the study reiterated what we "older women" have known all along: that hormonal changes in menopause also can make women prone to weight gain, especially around the belly.
Well here's a newsflash: so can sex in the younger women who didn't use contraception!
AND we've discovered that even an hour a day of crunches isn't going to totally get rid of THAT belly - even after delivery. Maybe a date with a plastic surgeon or a wardrobe of spanx.
Sigh! No matter how you look at it - women get screwed (pun intended...)
So what's the answer? Give up? Lay down in our recliners in front of the television set munching on a bag of Cheetos. The only exercise we get is getting up to find a tissue to wipe the orange off our fingers?
If I sound like a woman who has been there and done that it's because I HAVE and I DID just that. For years.
The good news is that despite our hormones, our bellies of jelly left after birthing that last 8 pounder, AND -- despite those depressing headlines, with making consistent small changes like eating more vegetables and lean meat, drinking more water, tracking our calories, getting out of that recliner and into the tennis shoes to walk or garden or play bowling on Wi:
WE CAN LOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF!
Despite our ovaries running out of gas and joining the ranks of "older women".
How do I know this?
Because I've been there and done that...
Me on the left in red.
Me a year later!