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Gosh Mom, You Eat Like a Bird

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 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, 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.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You have helped me realize why I just shake my head in disbelief when I read that I should be able to eat anything I want in balance, or that 80-20 thing. I'd never get in all those nutrients from the produce or fruit. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I need more of them because of the years of eating whatever I wanted to eat. Don't know if I'll ever pay it back.
    1333 days ago
    I hadn't realized how alike we were. My mother was also a petite 5' tall. I always carried my weight in hips/thighs and never realized how much food I was eating until I started tracking. Nutrient values were a mystery to me too. Now I really work on it. Good luck to you & hang in there.
    1350 days ago
    I can so relate! It's hard to calculate how much and what to eat.
    Especially when the "rules" keep changing!
    Best wishes!
    emoticon Sadaparibhuta
    1355 days ago
    Here's to YOU finding your NEW normal!
    1355 days ago
    That is thought provoking, I'll keep it in mind.
    1356 days ago
    I had that "duh" moment about a year ago, I slowly moved to organic based
    food sources. The nutrients are greater, the food is "denser" , and it takes less to feel satisfied. From meats to veggies to dairy, I researched and did my home work, and found 3 farms that would be able to supply my needs, when buying from the farm directly, the cost is less, I buy only what I need so there is no waste, and I know, that when it comes to nutrients- I am getting the fullness of them, without the processed food or preservatives.

    Good luck with your changes, the smaller serving sizes take a while to get used to... especially when you are working out so much at the same time.
    1357 days ago
    Very good points. And I take them as a warning, too! :)
    I am thinking that maybe 'mindful eating' is a good thing to develop / focus on. Learning to chew and taste the food really really well so that you enjoy what you eat to the maximum. It's something I want to learn.
    1357 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/2/2013 3:43:35 PM
    Throw in hypothyroidism and I'm you!...Can so relate! emoticon
    1357 days ago
    I decided to first, get "fit for my weight'! I don't exercise to lose weight, just as well seeing as I don't, but to get as fit as I can, and because I rather enjoy offering my seat on the bus to someone I just outran for it! Who's 20 years younger than me,
    emoticon I have found that eating very slowly, allows me to feel full sooner and therefore to cut my calorific intake without noticing too much.
    1357 days ago
    I can completely empathize. Last year I came to this realization. I saw that what I was eating when in "weight release" mode, a calorie base that used to be fine when I was younger, just didn't work. I also saw that I needed to also up my activity level in order to see results.

    The Weight of the Nation, an HBO doc talks about this. For people who have lost weight over the years, you have to stay forever at the lower calorie levels and/or up your activity, in order to see/maintain results. For people who have never lost weight, they can maintain at a higher level. It was very interesting. If you have HBOgo, you can watch it.

    Best, Julie
    1357 days ago
  • LE7_1234
    I can't remember where you are with the IOWL podcasts. Have you listened to 112: Menopause and Weight Loss: Re-Synching with a Changing Body? The ideas are along the lines of what you expressed, so it might help "cement" the new behaviors you're going for.

    1357 days ago
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