I’m not sure it’s set in stone, but it seems likely that every blog written by a woman will, at some point, explore issues regarding body image. If the writer is a woman older than forty or forty-five, it might devolve into a rant about the sheer impossibility of losing weight in any manner that seems sensible. I mean seriously people, how many f***ing miles do I have to run to take off one single, solitary, f***ing pound?!
There was a twelve-pound weight loss last year but that was solely due to discontinuing a certain medication that had made all of my clothing resemble sausage casing. Now, it’s time to bid farewell to these ten additional pounds that took up residence in my mid-forties, settled in when I wasn’t looking, and refused to leave. The eviction notice has been posted.
Unlike Geneen Roth, I’m not going to delve into my relationship with food, either here at Daily Cup or in my head, because I simply don’t have the time. And regardless, all the therapy in the world isn’t going to help me lose weight if I don’t understand how my metabolism works approaching fifty. In short, it doesn’t. There appears to be no efficiency in the way my body is processing that piece of lemon-meringue pie I shared with Tracey yesterday. Well, at least we shared it.
I’ve scoured the internet for articles about weight loss after 40 and every one of them worthy of reading past the first paragraph say the exact same thing: providing there’s nothing actually wrong with your thyroid (your genes don’t work against you naturally), there are three basic facts about what’s going on and what you need to do to lose weight:
First, we’re women, so we’re screwed. Men have more muscle mass and lose it at a glacial pace. We turn to Jell-O five minutes after “Happy Birthday, you’re forty!” Muscle burns calories at a much higher rate than fat, so… running long, slow miles is good for me but won’t help me lose weight. If I sprint every now and then, especially up a hill, much better. Those dumbbells under my bed? More useful in my hands.
Second, eat breakfast upon awakening. Maybe I want to run first, okay, but a piece of toast and a banana will only help, not hurt. Starving our bodies slows down our metabolism. Snacking in between meals – cheese sticks, almonds, fruit – helps keep our metabolic rate (our ability to turn calories into energy) more efficient throughout the day, and will likely allow us to eat less at mealtime. Protein is better than carbs.
Third, drink water – lots of it. And while I’ve always known this to be true for good health, I didn’t necessarily understand it completely in terms of weight loss or maintenance. ‘When you’re dehydrated, your body temperature drops slightly and causes your body to store fat as a way to raise or help maintain the temperature.’ I’m a coffee addict and I’ve no interest in changing that, but caffeine is dehydrating so I need to drink even more water than the next guy if I’m serious about those ten pounds.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m not entirely sure. I just had an overwhelming impulse, finally, to do whatever is necessary for personal, permanent weight loss because I’m happier when I feel like the athlete I was born to be. That’s not meant to be egotistical. It’s about what contributes to my sense of self – I’m a mother/daughter/sister, a wife, a writer, an athlete. I want to get back to that and I’m taking you all along on the journey because, well, I like a crowd. Maybe some of you would like to join me.
But let me say this: I have to lose the ten pounds in a way that makes sense for my life, in a manner that’s sustainable, while accepting that it won’t always be easy or comfortable. Tracey and I might go out for pie again next week and I’m going to enjoy every bite – but that means that I have to look at the big picture and tweak it wherever possible. Late-night ice cream might not figure into the weight-loss equation.
One last thing: I’m committing to breakfast, for my family and myself. There will be more protein and less cereal, more hot stuff than cold. This morning was homemade petite scones (recipe below – I would’ve used whole wheat flour but didn’t have any), scrambled eggs, and chicken sausage. I think the girls appreciated the gesture, though I’m not sure. They didn’t say anything.
Wish me luck.
2 cups flour (use whole wheat, more fiber)
1/3 cup sugar
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
¼ t. baking soda
1 stick of butter (8 T.)
½ currants (or dried blueberries, or chopped raisins)
3 T. heavy cream
½ cup low-fat sour cream
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter (I use a cheese grater) and combine to make coarse meal. Add in the currants. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and sour cream. Mix with the dry ingredients and turn out onto a floured surface. Shape into a large square about ½” thick. Cut diagonally from both bottom corners to create triangles, then cut those to make smaller triangles. (See photo.) Place on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper about an inch apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
No, they’re not low-calorie scones. There’s no such thing. But they’re petite. It’s what I mean by sustainable. If I’m someone who regularly eats two jelly donuts a day, I should first start by cutting down to one jelly donut, before going right for an egg-white and broccoli omelette, ya know?
(BTW, I’m not a two-jelly-donut-a-day person, but I’ve been known to eat three hot Krispy Kremes in the amount of time it takes for you to say “Hot Doughnuts Now”.)