I had a bit of a scare last week, and for once it had nothing to do with a discontinued lipstick shade.
In layman’s terms, my eyes went a bit wonky.
In real-life terms, I had symptoms of a torn retina.
For those of you with good eyes, I take my hat off to you. At least I would if I wore one.
I was born with horrible vision. I’ve worn glasses since I can remember.
My parents took me to the eye doctor at a very young age after I mistook cows for dogs or vise versa. I don’t recall exactly, but one animal was vastly different than the other and it was clear something was not right.
Without my contacts, I have 20/400 vision. Technically this makes me “legally blind,” according to my doctor, if my vision could not be corrected beyond that.
As a result of my eyeball situation and extreme nearsightedness, I’m much more at risk for a retinal detachment than someone with normal vision.
So last week after a home cardio workout session, I dismounted my stationary bike and suddenly saw what appeared to be a flock of birds in my field of vision.
As I continued blinking to try and clear up what I thought may be dirt in my eyes, they broke up into smaller pieces and floated around like space junk,
I did the most logical thing: I freaked out.
I knew this could mean my retina was either torn or becoming detached.
Here’s the thing about the retina. If this layer of nerve cells in the back of the eye detaches, you have 12 hours to get it repaired (according to my eye doc) before you could very possibly lose your sight.
I immediately called my eye doctor’s answering service at 7 a.m. They contacted him and he told me to come in at 8:45, before his first patient.
Once I arrived, he took pictures of my eye using a high tech camera with a flash so bright I thought if this retina thing doesn’t blind me this machine most certainly would.
The good news: No retinal detachment.
Bad news: A blood vessel in my eye was bleeding, which caused the “floaters” (a vitreous hemorrhage
Why did this occur? No one knows for sure, which makes it even more frightening.
The only cure is to give it time, my doctor said. I’m scheduled to go back in a month for a follow-up.
So as I write these words I still have all kinds of things floating in front of me, which makes it impossible for me to completely stop worrying about it.
But here’s the thing: I could not control this situation and nothing I could’ve done would have prevented this eyeball bleeding from occurring.
I say this because after 50 (I am now 60), the body does more weird things, like a nosebleed I had a couple of years ago out of the blue. Turns out, they’re more common after 50 as well.
Some things go awry even when you do all the right things.
The only thing you CAN do is control what you can and roll with the rest of it, which usually involves listening to a qualified professional or physician.
Which brings me to today’s post…
What can you really control after 50? Is weight gain going to happen no matter what? Will belly fat continue to be the bane of your existence? Is 4:00 pm too early for dinner if you’re younger than 150?
Let’s take a look at the most common complaints, shall we?
Can you control it? YES.
In fact, not only have I myself lost close to 20 lbs since crossing the 50-year yard line, but I know many other women who did the same. In fact, two women I know lost more than 100 lbs after 50 and have kept it off.
Science proves weight gain is NOT inevitable, although weight shifts due to hormones are a different story (see belly fat, below).
If weight gain was inevitable, wouldn’t EVERY woman over 50 gain weight?
Clearly, that’s not the case.
People do, however, tend to slow down after 50, which means fewer calories burned compared to an active, on-the-go person.
The happens because achy joints, for example, may make it harder to get around.
Plus, activity simply takes more energy than it did in the past. It’s why we need extra recovery time from workouts.
Keeping weight under control is a matter of tracking your food, reining in portion sizes and being consistent with your efforts.
Regardless of what you may hear otherwise, it’s not rocket science, mysterious or something to blame on global warming.
Can you control it? YES… AND NO.
I’ve addressed this topic so many times that I’m going to cheat and send you to a prior post on the subject, where I go into the belly fat issue in depth HERE.
Can you control it? YES.
Tone and shape have to do with one thing: muscle.
In other words: You can’t firm fat. Muscle gives your body shape and creates “tone.”
Problem is, we start losing muscle in our mid-30s. Sure, the process is slow — a couple of percentages per decade — but this loss (called sarcopenia) speeds up as we age.
Muscle loss also means a slower metabolism, since muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.
The key: You can reverse this change with weight training.
And no, it’s never too late regardless of your age (spoiler alert: start NOW!). Research shows people in their 90s can gain strength and benefits from resistance training.
Walking won’t do it, neither will stretching or other leisurely pastimes.
You must resistance train two to three times a week if you want to firm up, shape up and otherwise defy gravity.
This brings me to a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
Want to know more about ways to firm, lose weight and ditch belly fat for reals?
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Can’t wait to see you there.
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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.