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Don't Be Discouraged

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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:
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!

Keep Sparkin'!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Being females does put one at a disadvantage for the weight gain and now, at menopause, I am fighting it with as much determination as I can. Thanks for showing that it can be done!!
    Kudos to you for all your accomplishments in fitness!
    2961 days ago
  • TK2009NOW
    Great boost of encouragement, Joanne!
    2964 days ago
    Love this! The healthy industry is a major money maker, I'm sure the CEO's of weight loss centers, diet pills, etc. LOVE the mixed messages sent to women. If we all got thin and healthy, they wouldn't be making tons of money! I support the Spark sponsors because I appreciate this website so much.
    2964 days ago
    enjoyed this one. thank you
    2972 days ago
    great blog!
    2973 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    BR>thanks so much for sharing.........
    blessings and hugs...........lita
    2974 days ago
    Oh Thank You for essentially buffering what was expounded on by the so "kind" news columnist. Gee, sometimes I think some of the people in the world just want to make people struggling with weight to feel miserable - why try. I know it can be done. I did it when I learned to roller skate at age 56/57. I add to drop sufficient weight to put on a skin tight roller skating costume. And I DID it. So why did I gain weight again. I had to quit roller skating, became depressed, you know the rest of the story. So here I am again but doing it slowly and consistently. Always enjoy visiting your page. Rusty.
    2976 days ago
    emoticon Excellent blog! Very helpful especially since you lived it! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a great weekend!

    2976 days ago
    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you for sharing~!
    2977 days ago
    Hooray for another wise approach ... I hope some of the gals who are still trying to get themselves motivated will read your blog instead of the article YOU read!!! Keep encouraging us - and keep up your own good habits!
    2977 days ago
    I couldn't agree more...good for you to be a leader and set the example! WE have the power to do anything we want if we set our minds to it. And in the end..I love the healthy lifestyle. I don't miss eating like a pig and laying around (ok I never was a real couch potato:)!
    I can't wait to meet you Iowa girl!
    2977 days ago
    Thanks for the great blog and I agree with you. I will get discouraged if I think I must do and hour every day. Sometimes I don't have a whole hour to spare but I can get in a half hour. Thanks for the info.
    2978 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! I so agree w/you!
    2978 days ago
    I saw the same article, but I just thought: oh well, any exercise is better than no exercise, and we just need to eat less as we get older. When you think about it, throughout history most women got plenty of exercise all their short lives just trying to grow and can food, sew clothes, make candles, beat clothes on a rock to wash them, raise kids, etc. They would have laughed at the idea of "exercising" to maintain their weight. Great blog, as usual, really makes me think.
    2978 days ago
    I agree, it doesn't have to be a full hour a day, everyday to make a difference! It all adds up. emoticon
    2978 days ago
    Love your blog...and your attitude. Like you, I am struggling with the last few pounds. But I know that a 60 year old woman CAN lose weight, it's just a longer, harder process than for a 25 year old. Maybe the objective with the headline was to motivate women to at least exercise as much as possible, but it likely is having the opposite effect (Why try?).
    2979 days ago
    Great blog as usual, Love the dig at the males. LOL. Gotta go, getting a sudden urge for Cheetos or something.
    Skeeter emoticon
    2979 days ago
    Wow, Joanne, I am always in awe of 70 lbs lost! How did you handle plateaus? Another great blog. Thanks!
    2979 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    Ya...I read that and yes...I DID indeed get bummed out however I do get at least an hour 3 days a week. Its the pther 2-3 days that I need to work on. On a side note, I CANNOT believe that is you in both pics. Amazing!!
    2979 days ago
    Very good blog....your picture difference is great

    Yes, I also read the article and at first thought...oh no...never enough. However, after pausing and thinking about it, exercise justs needs to be done!
    2979 days ago
    Hmm. I get about that much exercise, and I'm training for a half-iron triathlon. Need to read the article, but have to get ready for work now...

    OK, I went to find the article on Google News. Didn't find the headline you mentioned but I did find another article about the same study from the LA Times. In there they say:

    "The 60-minute-a-day recommendation, released online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., is aimed at women of normal weight who don't want to diet but do want to avoid gaining weight over time. "


    I'll tellya what. Even if I DO exercise an hour a day I can't eat whatever I want. I have to "diet." (In the sense of logging what I eat and controlling the calories.) Otherwise the weight comes roaring back with a vengeance. And yes, I've done that experiment recently. :-\
    2979 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/25/2010 6:59:35 AM
    Although most reports of this did say, "hey SOME exercise is better than NONE" it all had a "half empty" rather than "half full" ring to it...I'm another example as I have HARDLY done an HOUR of working out every day yet have accomplished great things!

    2979 days ago
    I read an article somewhere, ( I think it was the dailyblog) that was recommending men and women increase their daily activity to 60 minutes a day. Seems like it just keeps going up and up. Personally I have come to beleive if you watch what you eat consistently and move whenever you can good things are gonna happen!

    P.S. Your hubby is right about those Kashi bars...made me lol
    2979 days ago
    Great blog! i totally agree. emoticon emoticon
    2979 days ago
    Good for you! I had the same reaction to that news piece. How discouraging! Yet, we KNOW that it is possible for middle-age women who are/have been obese to lose weight and to keep it off. We must be bearers of the good news.
    2979 days ago
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