Women: Live your whole life!
Sunday, May 06, 2012
I've been talking with friends at work about "the change". Menopause! One of them said her doctor actually told her that once you hit menopause, you can't lose weight any more. Can you believe that? It was as if he was saying we will magically maintain our mass no matter how little we take in. The equation of 3500 calories per pound no longer applies and no amount of diet and exercise will help. I couldn't believe a physician would set someone up with that expectation. He could have just said it might be harder to lose weight than it used to be, instead of being so dramatically pessimistic.
I've been on this particular stretch with Sparkpeople since 1/1/2012 and am noticing that it is more difficult to lose weight and gain distance with my running than when I was in my 30's and 40's. My thoughts about it tend to focus more on the fact that I spend more time on my computer, less time planting, painting, redecorating, fixing and puttering around than I used to. I don't have to lift a toddler or carry my child around with me all day, lifting them in and out of a car. My movements in my home are more efficient and my activities are chosen more carefully. I've learned to say "no" to things that are too much for me to accomplish well, so my baseline caloric expenditure is less now that I'm at the ripe old age of 52 and going through menopausal symptoms. I've still lost weight though! And I've still gone from not being able to run a half mile straight to being able to run 6.2 miles. My muscles are stronger and my body is gradually getting back to the way I prefer to see myself. I'm going to run a 10K this month and a half marathon in the fall.
It has taken a bit longer than it used to, that is true. But I'm doing it!! I don't accept the idea that women who are going through the "change" are destined to be out of shape and miserable. We have a whole new chapter for which to prepare ourselves. Do we want to run and play, travel and dance when we're in our 80's? Or do we want to sit quietly in a recliner at home, wishing someone would come to visit? If we want to be able to move, we have to keep moving and not let anything stop us or discourage us from trying again and again. And again if necessary. We only have one life. We need to live it the whole way through. Don't listen to anyone who tells you to forget about your dreams of becoming fit and strong after menopause. Prove them wrong with me.