How to get results when you can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong

I’ve been in a reflective, philosophical mood lately. The kind where you want to curl up on a cozy chair with a mug of cocoa and stare out the window pondering life. Young woman sitting on the beach looking at the sea and sky

I’d like to blame the change of seasons, but it’s hard to justify a mind shift just because the temperature dipped from 80 to 75 degrees.

Yes, I know I’m spoiled living in Southern California. But keep in mind I spent most of my life in the frozen tundra known as Connecticut.

So I know of the things called “snow” and “wind chill.” After 14 years living here, though, my cold tolerance has dropped to zero.

(It’s 70 degrees outside and I am literally wearing a sweater as I write this.)

Back to philosophy.

I feel every town should have a local guru sitting high up on a mountaintop to help the townspeople out with all their problems.

The guru’s only responsibility is to dole out life advice for any and all situations.   

No charge, no appointment necessary and no waiting – just answers, the secret of life, and a piece of chocolate mousse cake to snack on while it’s all explained to you.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask, really.

Of course, the guru’s answers are always spot on.

  • Have a problem finding your best life mate? Guru’s got the perfect person.
  • Can’t decide if you look best in a cool or warm color palette? Fashion advice is the guru’s specialty.
  • Need to find out why your cat bites you for no reason whatsoever and when you least expect it? Guru’s got Band-Aids.

Whatever your question, the guru has the answer.

If only!

In reality, we are left to fend for ourselves, aimlessly wandering the earth with a headful of unanswered questions.

At least we have Google, right? Because that can’t go too wrong.

For example, I just typed in “Why is…” and observed Google’s automatic fill-ins for this question.

It churned out these top three, most frequently Googled questions:

Why is… the sky blue?
Why is… it so hot?
Why is… my poop green?

So apparently weather phenomena and bowel movement colors top the list of greatest questions posed by humankind in recent times.

And I thought I had problems.

Along these lines, I get a lot of similar questions. (Thankfully not a lot of poop questions, but I’m sure it’s a matter of time.)

Typically, the email states, “I do [this, this and this] and still can’t lose weight/get rid of this belly/firm up!”

So I thought I’d play guru for a few minutes here and answer some of your most burning, “Why can’t I get results/lose weight?” questions.

1. “How come I watch what I eat and the weight still won’t come off?!”

The operative phrase here is “watch what I eat.” This means different things to different people. Questions to ask yourself:

Are you being truthful with how much you’re really eating?

Now I’m not calling anyone a liar, so please don’t show up at my house with pitchforks. Again.

No, it’s a matter of writing down or otherwise recording every morsel of food or drink you take in throughout the day.

Because here’s the thing: After 50 there’s no such thing as wiggle room when it comes to calorie intake and, unfortunately, in our waistbands.

You need to find exactly where you can make changes that will get the scale moving in the right direction again.

HINT: Typically, it’s the little bites, sips and nibbles you take in throughout the day that you don’t count that make up those 100 or 200 calorie overloads.

Consider this: 100 extra calories a day adds up to a weight gain of 10 pounds in a year!

This means an extra pat of butter, tablespoon of oil (olive or not, calories are calories), or an extra glass of wine each night is all it takes.

Ponder that.

2. “I do cardio until the cows come home and the scale won’t move!”

A couple of things. First, if you’re ONLY doing cardio you’re neglecting the most important exercise modality: resistance training.

If you only do cardio (walking, biking, swimming, etc.) you lose muscle, a natural occurrence that starts around 35. When you lose muscle your metabolism drops, since it takes considerably more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat.

The only way to slow down this process is to lift weights, be it dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, tubing, gallons of milk or cans of pureed pumpkin.

In other words: You burn more calories at rest when you work out with weights.

Not sure how to get started? Then sign up for my brand new, FREE, 7-Day Ageless Body Challenge by filling out the box at the bottom of this page! You’ll learn all you need to know about resistance training and then some.

Plus, it may be time to change up your cardio program. After a few months of doing the same routine your body adjusts and becomes more efficient at burning calories.

Usually efficiency is a good thing, but not if you’re trying to lose weight.

Adjusting to a new routine and using muscles in different ways helps you burn more calories as your body tries to figure it all out.

Aside from adding weight training, here are a couple of suggestions:

Try a different route if you walk outdoors. Or add a day or two of interval training, where you increase the speed and/or intensity for 30 to 60 seconds, then resume your normal pace for the same amount of time. Repeat for 10 (beginner) or 20 to 30 minutes and cool down.

Intervals boost metabolism far more than a steady state workout, and it keeps burning additional calories (called EPOC, for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) hours after you’re finished exercising.

3. “I’ve never weighed this much before! I want to get back to my pre-menopause weight.”

As someone who starved herself for many years in an effort to achieve an unrealistic body weight, let me ask you a question:     

Are you striving for an “ideal” weight or your happy weight?

Your ideal weight is one that you think you should be, whether it’s what you weighed in your 30s or one that you’ve inflicted upon yourself.

Your happy weight, on the other hand, enables you to eat healthy 80% of the time and splurge a little here and there while maintaining or losing weight.

Problem is, your happy weight may be a little more than what you’d like to weigh, although it’s fairly easy to maintain it and still allows you to enjoy a night out at a restaurant without subjecting the chef to waterboarding when you taste a bite of butter on your fish.

It why we have Spanx.

My motto: Do everything to the honest-to-goodness, best of your ability and let the pounds fall where they may.

Plus, add these to your checklist of possibilities:

Are you getting enough sleep?
Less than 7 to 7-1/2 hours a night can disrupt hunger cues and lead to weight gain.

Are you on meds?
Anti-depressants can contribute to weight gain. Ask your doctor if you have other options if you think this may be your issue.

Have you had your thyroid checked?
Thyroid issues are more common after 50, especially among women. An underactive thyroid can make you extremely tired and slow your metabolism.

NOW YOU.

What is your biggest, most challenging issue you’re facing right now? Let me know in the comments below… and please forward this to your friends on Facebook, Twitter and otherwise. I’ll be forever grateful ♥.

  • Other posts you may enjoy:

5 Surprising habits that cause weight gain (and how to avoid them)

5 Carbs that speed weight loss (seriously!)

What REALLY makes you fat? (Hint: it’s not carbs, dessert or gluten)

And don’t forget to join my Ageless After 50 Facebook group! It’s private and open only to women (sorry, guys!) over 50 or close to it. We share trials, tribulations and triumphs of being Ageless After 50. Join us HERE.

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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9 Comments

  1. Patricia Scott on September 15, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    As usual another timely article. I was asking the same questions when I realized that I had been drinking chocolate milk with my great grandchildren! Duh! So dropped that out of my day and dropped 1 1/2 pounds. Gone are those days when I could eat anything I wanted. Miss the chocolate milk, but not as much as I like seeing progress again. Whew!

    • Linda Melone, CSCS on September 15, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      It’s great that you were able to figure out where those calories came from, Patricia! And I hear ya on missing the chocolate milk. It doesn’t mean you can’t EVER have it, just not everyday. And count those calories :).

  2. Linda A. on September 16, 2016 at 2:03 am

    I have hashimoto’s and am in perimenopausal state right now. I was dx in 2012 and it took 2 years to get my dose right and in that time I lost 45lbs. This year I gained back 20lbs and can’t get the scale to move back down. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve done/ I do everything you mentioned. I am not a newbie to health and fitness but I am at a loss here and really want to drop these 20lbs. Any other options is greatly appreciated.

    • Linda Melone, CSCS on September 16, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Linda, It’s so hard to know where the problem lies, since everyone’s situation is different and I don’t know your history. Have you talked to your doctor? Is there any medical reason why you can’t lose the weight? USUALLY — like 99% of the time — diet is the culprit. Do you track your food, measure portions and do it consistently? These are all factors. If you’re in the clear, medically, and you do all these things to the “T” the weight should come off. Don’t give up!

      • Linda A. on September 16, 2016 at 11:37 pm

        I do track and measure my foods and medically I thought I was doing good, I am stumped! So I made a doctors app. Probably need to do more dose adjusting. I will know on oct 13th!
        Thanks for the article and responding much appreciated!

  3. Angela C on September 17, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Linda, I have newly discovered you ???? I am 46 and in perimenopause stage. I have also recently gained 5kg in a short amount of time bringing me to 90kg. My biggest fear is not being able to loose at least 10kg to feel more healthy and in control.

    • Linda Melone, CSCS on September 18, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Angela, Welcome! Yes, things change during perimenopause. One key: When you stop getting your period you also stop burning the 200 to 300 calories a day the week prior to your period. This means if you keep eating the same way you’ll gain weight. Therein lies about 8 lbs. of weight from seemingly out of nowhere. But you’re smart to start paying attention now, before it gets out of hand! I have tons of advice on my site that address weight gain. Use the search box or click on one of the tiles on my blog posts for specific topics. You can do it! 🙂

  4. Teresa on September 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    My biggest challenge is staying motivated.

    • Linda Melone, CSCS on September 19, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Teresa, it’s not always easy! Try to find something in the process that you like, new tunes, work out with friends, try a new piece of equipment or take your indoor workout outdoors, etc. Get creative :).

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