I’ve started writing this post about half a dozen times and I hereby vow to actually finish it. I’m struggling because we’re in the midst of buying a new home, I’m having emotional issues with a good friend and the Word grammar tool keeps providing unsolicited advice on ways to make my sentences more succinct.
Overall, let’s just say I’m not in the best of moods.
At times like this I ponder if I should a book a flight on the next Mars mission and start fresh with new (small, green) friends and a different environment. No Starbucks. Or Sephora’s.
Therein lies the problem.
Then I also remember it takes about eight months to travel to the red planet, and I can barely cope with a five-hour nonstop flight from California to New York.
My body would also pay the price since I’d likely experience several health problems once I landed. These include inadequate blood circulation, space sickness, weak immune system, backaches, muscle loss and psychosis.
Or, as I call it, Monday.
The weather is also less than ideal. Since I donated all my cold-weather clothing after moving to Southern California, the average planetary temperature of -67’F could be problematic.
So it’s time to figure out ways to cope and deciding what I can and cannot change.
It’s like aging: You can only change so much. The good news: You can control a LOT.
As someone who has battled body image my whole life, I’m here to tell you the key to contentment after 50:
HAPPINESS IS ABOUT CHANGING THE THINGS YOU CAN AND
MAKING PEACE WITH THE THINGS YOU CAN’T
So focus on what you CAN do and make the best of the rest.
Hormonal shifts: out of your hands
Sadly, the natural drop in estrogen as we age is responsible for the redistribution of body fat, regardless of how closely you watch your diet. I can personally vouch for this one, unfortunately. Even if you remain at the same weight, you will notice your waistline no longer resembles the corseted women in the Wild West.
The answer: Spanx and clothes that bring out your best traits. Read tips from an image consultant HERE for more details.
You can, however, limit the expansion…
Weight gain: under your control
Yes, you can control this one! It’s no surprise we tend to gain belly fat after menopause but research shows that menopause itself does not cause a woman to gain weight. We slow down and don’t require as many calories, so it’s easier to gain weight. But nothing physiologically prevents us from losing weight after 50. I lost close to 20 pounds and I know many other 50+, postmenopausal women who’ve done the same. It’s definitely doable with the right approach.
Actions to take:
Cut back on refined carbohydrates and calories
Ditch white flour, sugars, desserts, sweets and fluffy breads. Substitute healthier carbs like vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Plus, be sure you’re eating enough protein, which keeps you full longer than carbs and amps up your metabolism. Aim for 30 gms per meal (a 3 to 4 oz. serving of fish equals approximately 20 grams, for example).
Keep a food journal
A 2008 study shows keeping a food diary can double weight loss when compared to people who do not track their food.
Metabolism drops: under your control
Starting in our mid-30s, metabolism drops, mainly due to a loss of muscle. Fat burns very few calories at rest, while muscle requires calories to maintain it. So clearly, keeping more muscle preserves metabolism.
Actions to take:
Yup, it’s Mr. Dumbbell again. Lift weights, whether it’s your own body weight, tubing, dumbbells, or whatever pushes your muscles outside their comfort zone. Do this two to three times a week and you’ll keep your metabolism stoked as you firm up and tone all over. Being strong also prevents falls and possible broken bones in the future.
OVERALL: Be consistent. It’s the only way you’ll reap the most benefits, slow the aging process and keep you active for many moons.
WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU MOST that you can’t seem to control? Let me know in the comments section below…
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Got questions or ideas for a future blog post? Feel free to leave a comment below or end ’em my way at Linda@LindaMelone.com. I’d love to hear from you!
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.