Like most women, after entering my forties, I found I’d packed on a few pounds. And by a few, I mean twenty.
I didn’t go to sleep one night a size four and wake up a size ten. It was pretty gradual.
Then I hit my breaking point this past summer. Our family of four went on an extended vacation. We spent three weeks traveling in the Midwest . Nearly all of our meals were in restaurants. And what I chose to eat was far from healthy fare. By the time we returned home and I decided to weigh myself, I was 154 lbs. I was shocked!
I knew I was putting on weight. All of my clothes felt snug and my face was chipmunk chubby. So the day after we got home, I started a diet. I ate lots of salads, lean meats and vegetables. I also worked out on the elliptical machine in the garage everyday for 30 minutes. After three weeks of dieting and exercising, I weighed myself again. I had gained another pound! I knew then, I couldn’t lose weight on my own. I needed to do something different.
I didn’t look at very many weight loss options. I knew I didn’t want to do a shake diet or weight loss pills. Pretty quickly, I knew I wanted to do a pre-packaged meal diet. I looked at several. It was clear to me after a little research why some of them were called “celebrity diets”. You needed the income of an A-list star to afford the meal plans! After looking at my budget and a few more plans, I found one I liked and could afford.
After three months on the well-known pre-planned meal diet, I dropped 11 pounds. With 9 more to go, I began weaning myself from the pre-packaged meals.
I also began to pay more attention to my body and what it could and couldn’t sustain. I also learned more about weight loss for women in their forties.
It’s Harder to Lose Weight in Your 40’s
In my twenties, when I wanted to drop a few pounds, I’d do my cereal diet. Basically two of my daily meals would be cereal. Within a week, I could drop 5 pounds.
In my forties, the cereal diet was a bust. My metabolism had slowed considerably. All the low fat granola cereal in the world couldn’t change that. As we age our metabolism changes. For most women, that means our cells which store fat take longer to release or burn the fat stores in our pre or post menopausal bodies.
I also realized I had to combine diet and exercise to achieve any real weight loss.
Water is a Wonder
I was never a big water drinker. But my diet made me re-evaluate my intake. The more water I drank, I noticed my weight loss increased too. My pouty little belly also began to flatten.
When I scaled back on the water, once again my weight loss would become sluggish. I realized what experts said about water flushing out your system was really true. I looked and felt better when I drank 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
You Are What You Eat
When I began to really watch what I ate, I realized that more than two thirds of my plate was filled with meats and carbs.
And I wasn’t alone. Traveling from coast to coast, I got to see firsthand how fat America has become. During our vacation, my family had breakfast at one of those buffet places. At 10 am, they were already serving full lunch and dinner meals. I watched most of the patrons return for second, third, and even fourth servings!
I noticed that many of the females in the restaurant had bulging bellies and protruding bottoms. More than half of all the patrons were probably 30 or more pounds overweight. It was a pretty sad spectacle.
At 150 lbs and 5’6.5″, I was still a size eight (or ten on bad days). I’m sure most of the women I saw in the restaurant that day would love to be in my predicament. The problem was, I wasn’t.
Pass the Peas, Please
While I was on the pre-packaged meal plan, I also learned I needed to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables. Although our family dinner usually included a vegetable with every meal, the portion was pretty small. We also served lots of starches too, so any benefit from the vegetables was lost.
Part of the pre-packaged meal plan is to decrease your portions of fats and carbohydrates and increase your vegetable intake. I noticed that the closer I stuck to their meal plan where you fill up your plate with lots of green vegetables, the easier it was to sustain my weight loss.
Words of Wisdom
I know most of what I’m saying isn’t breaking news. You can’t turn on the television or your laptop without seeing a story about weight loss, weight gain, or the health risks of obesity. You’d have to be living in an underground biosphere to not know that obesity has become a national epidemic in the U.S.
As the new year approaches, many people (most of them female) will make resolutions to lose weight. Most of the will fail. But some will try and succeed.
If you’re serious about losing weight, find and stick to a plan that’s right for you. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Here’s to a Happy New Year and a healthier and happier you.