There is a LOT of talk about what happens to your body as you age, and there are a thousand and one strategies to stay thin and maintain your younger body. I have a LOT to say about this, and this is the first installment.
First, let’s be crystal clear nearly every woman I know is gaining weight— rounding, losing muscle and fighting like a mother-f’er to keep the scales from tipping. If you let the regimen go for even one minute, it takes six months to lose just five pounds instead of the six days it took once upon a time. We’re all suffering over it. Half of my conversations with friends my age are about what a bitch it is to not gain weight and what we’re doing about it. We are detoxing, cutting out carbs, fasting intermittently, working out at Orange Theory, barring, spinning, yoga-ing— you name it we’re doing it. I thought the suffering over weight was bad when I was 35 with 15 percent body fat, but no one told me this was coming.
For most of my freaking life I have deprived myself. I have watched every single morsel that went into my mouth. As an athlete and competitive cyclist, I thought if I just lost that 10 pounds I would go faster up the hill. I counted calories. I drank vodka soda. WHY? Because “it had no sugar,” “it was the least of the calories,” “it didn’t raise your blood sugar,” “it didn’t slow down your metabolism.”
I’ve been part of Alison Cross’ Body, Beauty and Bravery movement since she created it along with Project Authentic Beauty. I have studied about and dealt with my own body dysmorphia and disordered eating. And, ya know what? As I approach 50, I am so sick of watching people’s Facebook posts about how proud they are for being so self-disciplined that they can eat kale and drink water all day, work out for an hour and maintain their size zero.
I absolutely 100 percent believe in taking care of your body. I believe in consistent exercise. My own routine (when travel, work, fatigue or life doesn’t interrupt it) includes barre class twice a week, swimming/paddling four or five times at 45 minutes each, weight training twice a week for an hour, pilates once a week, yoga once a week and I also try to get in a few hours of cardio. If I don’t do that each and every week, I end up an entire size and a half larger.
I also pretty healthy most of the time: A cup of bullet proof coffee (it works for me, and I’m not debating it), green juice from detox, a Shakeology shake every day, and 10 meals each week are from a service called Fit and Fresh Cuisine. These are low carb options, so I get a 380-calorie meal including a protein and a vegetable. I also have wine and the occasional gummy sour candy because I love it and that isn’t changing. When I go out to dinner, which is maybe twice a week, I eat whatever the F I want. If eating like this is keeping me a size above where I’d like to be, then so be it.
You know what is more important that fitting into the narrow confines of my ideal shape?
LIVING MY LIFE! ENJOYING THE MEALS CREATED BY CHEFS WHO HONOR THEIR SOUL THROUGH THEIR CRAFT, DRINKING WINE AND WHISKY THAT WAS CRAFTED WITH LOVE, BREAKING BREAD WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY I LOVE!
At this point in my life, I’m not buying into depriving myself of one more thing. Life is too damned short. Every day, someone is getting sick or dying, and I imagine this will happen more frequently from this point forward. Am I really going to be saying to myself on my deathbed I wish I was one size smaller? NO! I’m going to be thankful for that damned Mexican brownie I ate this weekend and that $1 slice of New York Pizza at 2am after I drank manhattans in Manhattan!
Yes, I have to offset the indulgences. Why? BECAUSE I NEED THIS BODY TO LAST ME THE NEXT 50 YEARS! I have to swim and stretch and weight train and maintain a level of cardiovascular fitness that allows me to have a physical life, so I can surf and hike and travel and be in pretty great shape. Sure, I don’t eat just any old thing I want whenever I want because I still need to be responsible and my body needs healthy food to function. Plus, it’s still reality that if I eat more than I burn I will gain weight.
I have seen PLENTY of women who won’t go out to eat, pass on birthday cake and champagne, won’t eat a slice of bread. This is no way to live. And for what?
I challenge each and every one of you to STOP talking about what diet you’re on and what you did or didn’t do to gain/lose those extra few pounds that no one noticed anyway. While we’re at it, how about we stop saying to our friends “you look skinny” like it’s a good thing.
How about we tell each other how beautiful we look? How about we acknowledge each other for being healthy?
We have to stop obsessing over the scale and a clothing size.
Especially at this age. LOVE YO SELF