I can’t lose weight. How many times have you said that to yourself? Perhaps, instead, you’ve been the recipient and have offered a sympathetic response to a friends’ plea? But is it true? I am willing to bet in 95% of cases – if you’re honest with yourself – it’s not.
Now, I realize this isn’t going to win me a popularity contest. Or even a bunch of social media followers. But if you dig deep down, you know that I’m right. (please note: I recognize that there are situations where metabolic or other disorders really DO prevent people from losing weight, but that is more the exception than the rule)
Losing weight, for most of us, is simply a choice. Take me, for example. I’m 52, and have recently closed the chapter on the monthly occurrence. I’ve hit menopause. With it has come an 8 lb weight gain. But has it really?
If I look back over the past 6 months…..
- I’ve had a hamstring injury which has kept me from my usual exercise schedule
- I also decided to give bio-identical hormones a try. While these may be “the answer” for some, it was not for me. In fact, I added more pounds with estrogen which caused me to retain water, or bloat
- I changed my thyroid medication and recently found out that the change “didn’t work” after (bad thing: slowed my metabolism)
- I’ve had more “wine nights” than in the previous 6-month period
- I’ve been at home more and around food, making snacking easier
So……all combined, can I really say that menopause was the cause of the weight gain?
Now that I’m through with the hormones, back on the regular thyroid meds and exercising regularly again, I’m starting to “lean out” a bit. But not as fast as I’d like. It would be easy to blame age, menopause or a number of other factors, but the truth is that I have not adopted the lifestyle that I know it takes to get me to where I want to be. Is that possibly the truth for you too?
Think back to when you felt and looked your best. How was your life different? Were you moving more? Eating less, or differently?
The “goal weight” or preferred look is going to be different for each of us. When I was “at my best”, I was 8 lbs lighter, and was living a nomadic life overseas, traipsing through mountains with 40 lbs on my back, riding bikes for 6 hours at a time, lifting weights and swimming miles each day. My eating habits were vastly different, as there simply weren’t snacks available all the time, and I was moving anywhere from 6-10 hours per day. This is NOT the ideal for everyone. At that time in my life, I simply dropped weight without a plan. I weighed around 130 lbs at 5’6” and was around 17% body fat. I could run 10 miles with little thought and had a strength training plan that I religiously followed including doing 100 push ups every other day. This is pretty extreme.
As much as I loved being this fit, I recognize that this lifestyle is not sustainable – even for me, with no kids, spouse or house. If I re-evaluate, however, I do find that there are multiple “lessons” I could incorporate into my daily life today that will bring me closer to where I want to be, namely cutting out the snacking, and ensuring “movement “in my life wherever possible, including daily workouts.
In short, I KNOW why I’m less fit.
Consider your own lifestyle. Maybe you don’t want to run 10 miles but what DO you want to do? Put on that pair of worn out jeans from 1991? Not get winded walking hills with your neighbor? How do you want to feel? Confident, even sexy? What do you want to look like? A leaner form of your current self, or more “cut” and chiseled? Now what is standing in your way?
If you want to lose weight, or gain muscle tone, it will (most likely) require a change. You have several choices for HOW that will occur. You can join a “food tribe” like Paleo, Keto – which simply cut food groups out and provide you a structure within which to eat. These “diets” can definitely help you lose weight or lean up, but do note that its not necessarily the food groups that you’re cutting out as much as it is the fact that you’re following a strict plan, eliminating the refined “junk” foods, unnecessary snacking and overage of calories. You can also purchase a food plan, go on “a diet” or start a new fitness plan.
One of the best ways I’ve found to really truly get healthier (ie leaner) is to “lose yourself” in a goal or activity. Choose something you’ve thought about – like taking an adventure trip with your daughter where you’ll be biking in the countryside all day, or climbing a 14,000 foot mountain with your best girlfriends or even just going sledding with your kids or grandkids. Now, put a plan in place to get there. If needed, get help from a trainer and nutritionist to determine what’s needed to do what you want to do, including workouts and possibly dietary changes. I have found that, in the effort to achieve the goal, I’ve forgotten about the “negative overlay” of restricting myself and instead, have found excitement and thrill at the thought of accomplishing something I’ve set out to do.
See if this helps. Dont let yourself be restricted by what you think you can’t do today. Just let your brain dream up something that really inspires you. I think what you’ll find is, if you just start down the path by putting a plan in place to achieve that goal for some time in the future, you’ll catch yourself dropping numbers on the scale without feeling deprived.
Best of luck! You can do this! You CAN lose weight!