We all strive to be healthier. So what is this mysterious weight gain of middle age actually all about? I often wonder if a magic shrinking spell lurks in my closet. Is it possible that I’m not growing, but that instead, my clothes are simply shrinking? I could pretend that’s the case, but that wouldn’t be a wise strategy going forward. Let’s discuss ways we can all be healthier.
Our struggle with weight gain may be another unpleasant aspect of getting older. Diet and exercise simply do not shift the pounds as easily as they used to. That’s an irritating reality for many. A few of us are lucky enough to have both the inclination and resources to win the battle and have slim, fit figures. However, most of us don’t. Perhaps piling on the pounds is simply a time-honored badge which reads: I’m now a middle-aged woman facing menopause and thus am combatting “the spread”.
Oh Why, Oh Why?
Some of us may also suffer additional weight gain pressures due to meds. I’m on high steroids and have the moon-face (and body) to prove it. I sometimes ponder wearing a T-shirt that says, “I’m fat due to steroids”. But I won’t. Maybe because that’s a partial lie. I’m heavy due to my love of food AND steroids. In that order. I also won’t wear this emblazoned shirt as I’m aware that any signage on my front will be hard to read due to the three protuberances combatting the lettering: two little mounds with mammary glands and a corpulent tummy.
What’s the trade-off we have? A face with fewer wrinkles but a larger bum. Well, my view is that I can’t see what’s behind me!
Why should we care?
Whilst the adage “a minute on the lips, an eternity on the hips” may be true, I ask should we really care? The answer is yes, we should. We need to care about our size not because that is what the outside world sees, but for our own health.
We need to shift our focus to being healthier. Let’s stop worrying about fitting into those too small-sized clothes which are never truly attainable again. They mock us hanging unused from our closet racks. Yes, these pieces from our past may come back into fashion. But we know subconsciously when these garments are pulled out and dusted off, they are never going to be wearable again. We all own that special dress that going forward will only ever fit around one leg. It’s definitely time to clear out the closet.
Helpful Tips To Being Healthier
Let’s shift the focus from castigation to acceptance. Let’s applaud our efforts to hurdle this seemingly unsurmountable obstacle and accept our less-than-ideal physiques, whilst we strive to stay fit for our future health and mobility. It is proven the more active we stay, the longer we can be active. The slogans I emblazon on my T-shirts will now read: Fatter but Fit, Larger but Limber. Hefty but Healthy. Join me.
As we don our preverbal T-shirts, let’s now focus on these Helpful Tips on Ways to be Healthier:
Maintaining a healthy physique is an ongoing personal quest to which we each must commit. Some feel this journey is made easier with a friend and/or trainer. Others prefer to traverse this quest on their own. Either way, we must remember that no one else can do for us. We owe it to ourselves to personally commit to being healthier.
Sweat. Every day
The key ingredient to weight management is to perspire every day. Without personal dedication and lots of hard-earned sweat, any expenditures on training are only guaranteed to result in lightening our wallets. The reality is that the act of investing in personal trainers, gym kits, gym memberships, and/or expensive machines does not automatically give the results we want. The joke on us is that we must also physically exert ourselves. Let’s get a sweat on!
The benefits of a warmup and cool-down routine every time we exercise cannot be overstated. This routine makes a vital difference in how our bodies accept the exertion and thus has a direct impact on our ability to continue exercising. Whilst we may intellectually know this, we sometimes choose to ignore this advice for a variety of reasons, usually based on perceived time savings. Let’s remind ourselves that 10 minutes of stretching may prevent an injury that could take weeks to heal. Now that’s clever time management!
As we find a way to raise our heart rate and produce a good sweat, let’s remember our knees and joints are neither as elastic nor cushioned as they used to be. We really must carefully pick an exercise that is gentle on our joints. I have great success with walking and recommend it. Let’s find a friend with equal strides and pace or listen to a podcast and commit to walking briskly every day!
We have all heard of the benefits as we get older of exercising with weights to protect our bone strength and to prevent muscle deterioration. Let’s add some appropriate light-weighted handheld weights to our routine. Perhaps walk holding bottles of water or find some appropriately weighted rocks to hold whilst doing curls. I have often used recycled, emptied large bottles of water. Note: Please remember to close the bottles well. I have had personal experience of a surprise soaking from open capped water bottles being lifted over my head!
Let’s remember the annoying but true saying “we can’t out-train the kitchen”. Fasting doesn’t work like it used to because our metabolisms seem to be on an extended holiday. Let’s focus on our overall nutrition and eat the variety of foods we want and need but keep the portion size controlled. Many 50+ find that calorie counting and macro tracking are helpful on the way to being healthier. There are many apps that can help with this. And yes, we must count all the snack bites we have throughout the day – even what we grab whilst in the car or walking around. It is also not true that the broken cookie bits lose their calories!
Please remember this: Each of us is amazing! Let’s gain strength, courage, and power from believing that. We must grant ourselves permission to be who we are currently. The outside package may not be our ideal or what it used to be, but it’s time we accept that. Let’s allow our focus to shift from our physical shortcomings to our vast accomplishments. We owe it to ourselves to accept that we are exceptional and to follow these helpful tips to be healthier for The Next Half.
It’s now time to dust off the pedometer and go for a power walk. We are on the way to being healthier.
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