“Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with scary, spooky, haunted, or forbidden in the title” ~Shaggy Rogers | Scooby-Doo
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Last week, a girlfriend and I were sitting in the sauna. It's her birthday, and we've spent the past couple of weeks playing Schedule Tetris to pull off a few hours together. As the sweat begins in earnest, our conversation (naturally) turns to age and then weight loss
“So, dare I ask how old you are today?”
“Old enough to start lying,” my friend says with a wink
She tells me her theory that as women age, we need to weigh a few pounds more than we think if only to keep a little fat on our faces. “I swore I'd never join their ranks, but then I find myself lamenting sagging skin and the number eleven permanently indented between my brows. I just don't want to look like I'm mad at everybody all the time.”
“Don't worry; you don't look like your mad at everybody.”
“Neither do you,” she says, and we both sip our lemon water.”
(Old enough to start lying)
— — —
For the record, here’s where I stand on aging:
It's never been something I've feared. I've had some pretty incredible examples of doing it well.
I'm looking forward to the perks they shared – good health well into their 80's and 90s, and confidence with a few extra pounds. Not to mention, more life experience, more wisdom, more permission to fall asleep by 8 pm after a rousing night of Scrabble and glass of something bubbly
(Can. Not. Wait)
But yes, I can
I'll never forget a sixty-(something)-year-old woman I had the privilege of coaching once. She was still kickboxing at the gym, walked more miles every day than anyone I knew, and had the coolest philosophies about what a healthy weight should be
“Honey. You have to get quiet with yourself and figure out where you draw your value from. Some people ask their friends ‘Do you think I look good? Do you think I need to lose weight?' Or maybe they find somebody to identify with, say in their Instagram feed or want to wear the jeans they loved in college. Or maybe they want to make their doctor happy because of their place on the BMI chart
The question is: what's a healthy weight that you're able to maintain? We can all lose it. But it's all about finding the sweet spot between where you think you should be and the things you're willing to do every day to maintain it.”
— — —
In my small circle of friends, I’m often the guinea pig. Texts fly back and forth touting curiosities for so-called game-changers: Can you sit down the day after Cross-fit? Why is there a food sensitivity test hanging on your fridge? Which leggings were you talking about the other day?
It's not that I’m the resident expert; it’s that I’m the resident tester
I love a good experiment.
But I’ve always been skeptical of weight-loss products and programs. How do you know if it’s working outside of the number on the scale? How can you tell if it’s the program or good genes? Am I really showing signs of being a healthier me, or is this another quick-results program?
Still, the experiment always beckons
“Honey, you have to go inward and ask ‘Am I happy with myself?'
The answer might be no. Not because there's social pressure, not because your doctor says you should be a certain number on a BMI chart, but because you're not happy. Then you have to start looking at what you're doing daily that you're willing to change without resentment.
Maybe you're not interested in counting calories, but you're willing to use a smaller plate, keep an eye on portion sizes, go for a walk around the block, drink more water, or add a veggie to every meal.”
— — —
The test was simple: sign up for a 10-week fitness challenge at the gym. See what happens
— — —
A brief sampling of a conversation between my husband and me in the kitchen, circa week one:
“Quick question. Do I look a little thinner today?”
“That is not a quick question.”
“But do I?”
“Ummm .. thinner than who?”
“How can you look thinner than you?”
“Honey, we don't always have to be shooting for a weight-loss goal.
For years I was twenty pounds heavier than I am today, and I felt pretty good in my skin. It was a weight I could maintain doing the work I was able to put in. I'd made peace with it. I gave myself permission to say, “It's ok not to lose weight. I'm just going to stay here
As I went along, circumstances changed, as did my approach and weight goals. I switched jobs; my kids left home, my husband retired, I started volunteering. At each point along the way, I was able to decide if I wanted to go after it, and approach it differently.”
— — —
Here’s how you can feel good about yourself, despite the number on the scale: Decide to.
Stop by the gym on your way home from work, because you want to because it will help you unwind after a long, hard day because you'll sleep better tonight. Make a healthy dinner for yourself and share it with someone you love. Write a few sentences in your gratitude journal. Make a cup of tea. Whisper a sweet nothing to the person or furry creature on the pillow beside yours.
Let the day be finished
Watch a new one arrive tomorrow
“Honey, I have this thing about the scale. For the longest time, I worried that if I didn't weigh myself every morning, things would quickly spiral out of control. So I bought myself a really well-fitted outfit, one tailored to me, and I made it a goal to try it on every other week.
If it still fits, that's great. If it were a bit snug, then maybe I'd start to cut back on a snack or dessert. Nothing drastic, just a few small modifications to my habits.”
— — —
A brief sampling of a conversation in the kitchen, circa week three:
“How about now? Any thinner?”
“Absolutely. 100%. Without a doubt.”
(He’s old enough to start lying)
— — —
What's the best advice you've ever received about weight loss or loving yourself right where you are?
( Featured Image Photo Credit – Instagram – @groehrs )