Weight Loss

Losing those pandemic pounds

This is really embarrassing. But I am sure I am not alone.

Somehow I had the guts to step on the scale last month and found that I had gained 23 pounds during the pandemic.

Is this what they mean by middle-aged spread? I felt like a slug. Deep sigh. It was like that humorous poem, “When what to my astonished eyes should appear, but 20 extra pounds on the hips, thighs and butt.”

This fact is especially difficult to share since I wrote a book called “Ten Secrets to Losing Weight After 50”.

How did this happen to me?

Several years ago, after caring for my mom who had Lewy body dementia, I put on a lot of pounds. I was horrified to regret 172 after his death. The most that had weighed in my life so far. So, I did a lot of research and experiment, I lost 15 pounds, although it is true that it is a snot to lose weight as you get older, then I shared how I did it in this book. I even managed to keep the weight off … until the pandemic.

I broke the 5 pound rule that I shared in my book: If I gain 5 pounds, it’s time to lose 5 pounds. Everyone else ate stressed, indulged, and drank wine. Why not me? We all had to comfort each other in some way, right? After the pandemic ended, I would lose weight again, I reasoned. After all, he knew how to do it.

Well, the problem with that kind of thinking is that COVID stayed a lot longer than planned. At first, I told myself that on January 1 I would start to lose weight. Surely 2021 will be a better year with less stress. Then one day, I was sitting in front of a mirror in a full-length closet door and I was surprised by my reflection. I took a photo, gritted my teeth, and decided to face the music on the scale.

I tipped the scale at 180 pounds. Sadly, I had broken my previous record. My BMI is 29 and 30 is considered obese. I was on the cusp. At the rate he was going, he would easily accomplish that feat early in the year.

The severity of obesity during a pandemic

He couldn’t let that happen. After all, this is not the time to become obese. Southern California, where I live, is the current epicenter of COVID as we approach 2021. According to the CDC, obesity increases the risk of serious illness from the coronavirus and can triple the risk of hospitalization. Simply put, as BMI increases, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases.

Yes, a vaccine is just around the corner, but there is more bad news: Studies have shown that obesity may be linked to lower responses to vaccines. Oh!

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So yeah, I hated my looks, but that’s not my main motivation for losing weight. I want to reduce my risks of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID. Also, I just turned 60 a few months ago. I want to stay healthy and strong so I can travel again when this is all over, play with my grandchildren, and live longer.

There is no time like the present

No more procrastination. Last month, I began my journey to a healthier self. I wanted to be responsible, so I bravely posted my weight on my author’s Facebook page and declared that I was going to start following my own advice in my book. It was very scary to make this announcement in case it failed, but it was time to be honest with myself and with others.

A few weeks later, my husband posted a photo of me on a hike. By then I had lost some weight, but it still seemed a bit heavy. Normally, I would have scolded him for posting this photo. Since I gained weight, embarrassed, I only allowed headshots. But you know what? I own it! I let go of Facebook approvals.

I reread the chapter in my book on attitude change (like thinking that losing weight is impossible when you’re older and regretting that the methods that worked when I was younger no longer worked). I reviewed my tips on how to overcome slower metabolism and muscle loss, manage stress eating, avoid starvation, and ways to overcome stubborn plateaus.

Pretty good stuff, now I just had to follow my own suggestions.

Choosing the right diet

So, I started my journey and the weight started to lose. I didn’t cut out all carbs, ate grapefruit, ate at certain times of the day, used specific supplements, or ate raw foods. There were no dangerous surgeries, diet pills, expensive weight loss programs, expensive supplements, expensive gym membership fees, or personal trainers involved. And not starve or follow crazy fad diets that are not only unhealthy but don’t work in the long run.

You don’t have to do any of that to lose weight. Stay away from all those fad diets that your friends are excited about working temporarily but are unsustainable. As we age, it is important that health, not rapid weight loss, is a priority. Experts warn that rapid weight loss can lead to malnutrition and loss of lean muscle mass. Fad diets can also cause digestive difficulties; for example, many of the high-protein fad diets can cause severe constipation. On top of that, you are more likely to regain the weight. Who needs all that?

Remember, you are older and wiser. Your goals are different now. You’re not losing weight to look good in a bikini this summer or to slip into a pair of skinny jeans for the weekend. You want to lose weight so you can live longer and stay healthy and strong.

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There is a lot of confusion about choosing the right diet. You’ll want to use a plan that is nutritionally balanced with no banned foods and is easy to follow, allows for occasional indulgences, and provides permanent healthy lifestyle changes.

While writing my book, I tried some of the top recommended diets on the US News World Report’s “Best Diets Overall” List, including the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and Weight Watchers (by the way, the popular Keto, Paleo, Atkins and Raw Food diets ranked as some of the worst on his list). I shared the pros and cons of the best diets, their requirements, and my personal thoughts based on my own experience.

Weight Watchers, which is ranked number one on the best weight loss diets, worked best for me during that time, so that’s the plan I’m currently using. However, we are all different, so you will need to find what works best for you. If you want to try any of the other healthy diets listed, you can find cheap used copies of books outlining the diets along with recipes on Amazon.

So here I am a month later and thank goodness my advice still works like magic! How much weight have I lost? I weigh 169 pounds, so I lost 11 pounds in four weeks. I’m off to a good start and I’m determined to stay with it for the long haul!

I already feel much better physically, mentally and emotionally. During the pandemic, when so much is out of our control, regaining control of my eating strengthens me.

Establishment of mini-deadlines

Experts tend to agree, if you need to lose a lot of weight, setting smaller goals works better than targeting an intimidating and seemingly impossible number that seems so far into the future that you can’t imagine it.

Makes sense. Setting a goal of losing 10 pounds in six weeks is less overwhelming than setting a goal of losing 100 pounds in one year. Short-term milestones keep you focused on your success and progress rather than obsessing over how much weight you still need to lose. Meeting your mini-deadlines is encouraging and energizing.

In my case, I need to lose around 30 pounds to reach a healthy weight. My first goal was to lose 10 pounds in six weeks, which I happily accomplished. However, from past experiences, I know that the weight drops faster when you start dieting. It slows down after that with some plateaus hampering progress.

So, I hope to lose a pound or two a week from now on. Some weeks you may not lose anything, you may even gain a pound or two. It’s fine. Keep in mind that when you are over 50, your metabolism slows down and you lose muscle mass. That means losing weight is more challenging and will likely take longer. But it is certainly not impossible! And it is worth the effort.

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So from here on I’m going to make it my goal to lose five pounds a month and focus on just those five pounds instead of all the weight I still need to lose.

Who wants to join me?

So, it is the beginning of a new year with all those purposes. Is Weight Loss On Your List? Are there brave souls who want to accompany me on my journey?

Need help? Want to know what tried and true “tricks” I have up my sleeve to lose weight after 50? Do you need the answers to questions like: How can you manage stress eating? What can you do to avoid feeling hungry? What kinds of exercises produce the best results? How can you overcome those stubborn plateaus?

If so, subscribe to my blog, BabyBoomerBliss.net, and you will receive a free copy of my book, 10 Secrets to Losing Weight After 50. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a Kindle edition of my book on Amazon for just $ 2.99 (a pocket edition is available for $ 7.99). By the way, if you read and enjoy the book, the reviews are HIGHLY appreciated!

You can also like my author’s FB page to receive weight loss tips and track my progress. I post a photo of my scales weekly and have promised to share my successes and, yes, my struggles and failures as well.

For example, I knew that the last week of the year would be challenging as it was outside of my normal hours. So, I made it a point to just keep my weight off that week. I think it’s okay to take regular short breaks as long as you don’t get TOO crazy and have a set date to start eating healthy again. It probably helps in the long run. I let my followers know that I got a pound back. I’ll keep it real

If you decide to join me on my weight loss journey, here is one more tip from my book. No matter how much weight you regain during this process, keep your long-term goals ahead and eventually get back to eating healthier and exercising. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect perfection. One bad decision doesn’t have to ruin your entire diet unless you let it. Keep your vision of success alive. Remember all the reasons why you want to lose weight. If you’re having a bad day, week, month, or even year, start each day over and don’t beat yourself up for setbacks. Living a healthier lifestyle is a process.

We can do it together!