Saturday, February 02, 2013
I can remember saying this to my Mom about 20 years ago. I always had a good appetite and would see my 5 ft., slim, 70 year old mother who didn't exercise eat such small amounts that I thought she would surely perish. I know I would have! I am 5'5" and at that time was very active with exercise, a full-time job, a family life, and hadn't gone through menopause.
I always was fairly muscular and seemed to have a good metabolism. I still had a pretty good "hourglass" figure and my trouble areas were my hips and thighs.
Fast forward 20 years to the present and things have changed. Seriously, it has all shifted.
My problem area is my middle.....love handles, belly fat, menopot, muffin top.....whatever you want to call it. And what I do now to try to lose weight just doesn't seem to touch it, takes forever, and any improvements seem very difficult to maintain. I understand patience, persistence, consistency, lifestyle, but WOW!
Well, at some point yesterday, I did "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee." Another blog I stumbled on expressed the same thought...........Gosh, I'm just eating too much!
This really had not occurred to me, since what I was eating would surely have brought results in the past and that was what I was comparing things to. The fact that the me I was comparing it to was 20-25 years ago had escaped my calculation and analysis. Perhaps it was a "Duh" moment, rather than an "Aha" moment. Anyway.....
I have a growing awareness that I need to accept the new normal and work within that framework. Increasing exercise as I have been is a good start and thankfully, I am noticing many positive changes because of that. Yes, I am very grateful that my whole body feels stronger; my joints move more freely; my posture is better; I have more energy; I can do cardio longer; my mood and demeanor has brightened. This is after about 2 weeks of drastic increase in time and intensity of exercise program and significant efforts to increase nutritional value of food.
But as far as weight and measurements......zip, nada. In fact I've gained 2 lbs. And no, I don't think it's that much muscle this soon. Fluid retention in muscles from soreness, maybe. Blood volume, maybe.
I will keep on with the exercise, of course, and include more strength training to try to build muscle mass. I will try to increase activity throughout the day so I am not sitting so much.
But also, I have to eat noticeably less. And it is ever so important that what I eat is life enhancing.....nutritious..... and appropriate (more protein, fiber, vegetables, fruit). I know that some people go by the 80%/20% rule, allowing for a 20% of food that can be not so healthy. But when one is older and caloric needs keep decreasing, nutritional needs increase, and nutrient absorption decreases......there is less and less total to play with. I did the math, and when 100% keeps getting smaller, the 80% that you are trying to meet your needs with gets VERY small. Plus, if I increase my exercise and want to maintain/gain muscle......then my nutritional demands increase! Yes, my energy expenditure during the intense cardio does increase also, but I am not so sure that is not offset in part by the need for R & R and more sleep.
So my conclusion is that I don't have much of a fudge factor....not many extra calories to play with, which is basically what my waist measurement is telling me. I need to make basically everything I eat count for the good.