Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't Waste Your Waist

Disclaimer: there are people who have very real metabolic or disease issues that impact their health in every way. This post does not apply to you.

Have you ever heard someone say that when they had kids, they just couldn't lose the baby fat? Or that when they turned a certain age (usually 40) it was like they immediately gained 20 pounds? Or their metabolism just shut down at a certain point in time? Well, I have some thoughts on these comments (I have lots of thoughts -- good thing I have a weblog, or my husband would be overwhelmed with conversation 24/7!).

First of all, in my experience, people who have had bad experiences with anything are the most vocal. When I was pregnant with Austin, there was a woman in our office who warned me nearly every day about all the awful things (back pain, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, National Geographic boobs) that were going to happen to my body with pregnancy. I'd never been pregnant before, so I had to believe at least part of what she was telling me, and let me tell you, she scared me to death! Other people, even strangers, would offer up their horror stories (unsolicited), and that was frightening too. I started wondering, "How come the people who liked pregnancy don't ever speak up?" And while I don't know the answer to that, I've become convinced that those who have bad experiences are the ones you'll hear about. For the record, I had wonderful pregnancies, where I exercised through both of them, and turned cartwheels on a regular basis, even at the very end -- maybe that's why my kids are gymnasts???

Ok, so back to the age and fat thing that I started with. Nothing dramatic has happened as I have aged. There's not a certain age where I've gained weight or lost my metabolism. When I've gained weight, it's been because I decreased my activity for some reason, and/or increased my food intake. Probably the worst two weight gains for me were these. When Tim and I were first married (almost 17 years ago), we bought a house and moved into it a few months after the wedding. And it was SO MUCH FUN! It felt like the parents weren't home or something, and we celebrated in many ways, one of them being splitting a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream nearly every night. You know, Tim didn't get bigger. I, on the other hand, gained like 15 pounds in our first year of marriage. ("Happy anniversary honey -- pass the donuts!") It's just like that with men and women, isn't it?

The other big weight gain time was the year when I developed plantar fasciitis AND discovered Starbucks white mochas. The combination of no exercise, after years of shooting for 20 miles of running per week, and easy drinkable calories put 20 pounds on in the blink of an eye. And those were the 20 pounds that Darla helped me lose last year in preparation for the Women's Tri Fitness competition.

So why were those 20 pounds so hard to lose, and what is my point here? My point is this: the stakes DO get higher as time goes on. In my 20s I could lose weight easily. In my 30s it took a little more effort, but could still be done. And in my 40s, it is damn hard to have a curvy waist. (I do know that there are women who are more straight up and down their whole lives.) But if you are a 20something or 30somethingwho has a waist, appreciate it! And if you see one of us 40somethings who has a waist, know that most likely there's a lot of effort (clean eating plus exercise) that's gone into making it be there. I guess the question that applies at any age is "How bad do I want it?" If you want something bad enough, you'll do what it takes to get it.


None said...

Okay - I have to comment on this since I'm 42 and can relate.

I never had to worry about my weight. Ever. I never worked out and ate whatever I wanted. Not good because ever so slowly, the weight started to creep up. By the time I hit my early 30's, I had gained about 15 lbs from when I got married at 25.

Then, it was an uphill battle. I worked out, I *tried* to eat right but it really wasn't coming off. I realized I needed something drastic so I had liposuction surgery in 2001.

The doc only took out 3 lbs of fat but he totally reshaped my body. Then I lost another 12 lbs in six wks because the lipo does something to your metabolism. I didn't diet or exercise. 8 weeks after my surgery, I was a hot 118 lbs and looking FANTASTIC.

Now, five years later - I'm heavier than I ever was at 138 lbs. Altho my proportion is better, I'm pissed off at myself for not taking better care of my eating and exercise. I took it for granted.

Now I'm fighting it again, trying to take it off. And at 42 yrs old - it's HARDER. Much harder. And now I gain weight more in my stomach, chest and arms. Weird.

Just my 2 cents. Sorry to hog your blog, but you knew I'd have something to say!

oldLobo said...

Like you, I lost track of my fitness after getting married. I just got to a point in my life - mid 20's to mid 30's - where I took fitness for granted and didn't work out or eat like I should.

But running sub-5 minute miles is a tremendous gift, and NEVER something to take for granted. I've been working hard for the last year to regain some fitness. I'll likely never be as good as I was, but I feel terrific.

I would tell any one who is embarking on this journey that it is doable when you're over 40 and it is well worth the effort.

Good luch with your new blog address.

Thisisit! said...

lol, love the "national geographic boobs"! btw found your blog via Jen. :) Carol