Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I WON'T do for a great body

I was skinny once.

Actually, three times. The first time was puberty. Ages 7 to about 13, I was awkwardly lanky, with long legs and a physique more in line what you would consider a boy rather than a girl. In fact, with my curly hair cropped shorter than short by my mother's hand, I was often mistaken for one. I waited with bated breath for my womanhood to appear - it's only a matter of time, I told myself, before I'll be wearing those thin, silky bras like my sister and have a tiny, circular waist that guys will just love to put their arms around.

I'm still waiting.

The only other two times I've ever been "skinny" were event-induced. The second time was post-divorce. You know, that time in your life when you finally look the way you've wanted to look for years but are in absolutely no mood to do anything with it. The third time was also relationship-based. Couldn't eat, looked fabulous, didn't care. Not the best combination.

My BMI is somewhere between Maria Sharapova and Sylvester Stallone.
I've never been grossly overweight. According to my BMI, I'm "normal." But like many women, I have a very poor body image and pretty much always have. I joke that I don't even like to SHOWER naked. I wish my mirrors were only from the neck up, and sometimes even that's too much. I keep waiting for age and time to "make me love and accept my body" but it's just not happening. I seem to have an ample lower body (read BUTT.) Either that or my upper body is ridiculously disproportionate and makes my lower body SEEM ample. In fact, my mother recently told me (kid you not), "You're so lucky that behinds like Beyonce's and JLo's are in style now."

Really? And what happens when they go OUT of style? Am I screwed? Apparently.

Turning 40 was a wonderful thing in many ways. I looked forward to it; I was ready for it. What I wasn't prepared for was that my metabolism would come to a screeching halt, and what I considered before to be a meager diet of basic sustenance would now be considered gluttony. What before was an exercise regimen fit for an Olympian would now be categorized as "sedentary." The ratio of physical exercise to basic nutrition necessary to maintain my optimum weight is so skewed that I have come to hate even looking in the mirror.

My eating habits aren't stellar, but they're not bad, either. I often look a the restaurant commercials for Friday's or Applebee's or Hardees and think, "I would never eat that." And I don't. However, if I do go to a restaurant, I'm probably more inclined to order a burger and fries than the plank salmon and rice. I'm not a cook, nor do I play one on TV. But I also don't eat what my kids eat. Oftentimes, I fix their fried/microwaved/boiled whatever then sit down with a bowl of edamame or a baked potato with spray butter.

Snacks for me are usually an apple with peanut butter or carrots and hummus. I rarely go out to lunch during the week and bring in my Lean Cuisine/SmartOnes/Healthy Choice cardboard of the day or a can of soup. And breakfast? Coffee and oatmeal. Or a bagel thin with peanut butter. I pass on the Trefzger's danishes at work, I haven't eaten one Girl Scout cookie, and the snacks at my desk include dry pretzels and maybe some low-fat Cheez-its. On the weekends, I may imbibe in more than my share of beers, which I'm sure doesn't help. But it's not like it's a nightly thing.

I've tried keeping a food diary. I've tried counting calories. Watching my carbs. I'll admit I have a weakness for some of the junk food I allow in my house on occasion for my kids, like potato chips. I've also been known to eat an entire sleeve of saltines in one sitting. I'm definitely not one who can keep a full jar of chocolates at my desk. Occasionally I do. But not for long.

I exercise; sometimes in spurts, but I try for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I took up running in September, and have been doing it pretty regularly, running two 5K races and even doing a 10K on my own a couple of weeks ago. My knees hate me - actually, the rest of my body isn't real thrilled with me either. But my beef (which I also rarely eat) is that since I started running, I have not lost ONE POUND. And don't give me that "muscle weights more than fat" bullshit, because the mirror don't lie. Nor do my jeans that I have to squeeze into every day. Not to mention the ones that are at the bottom of the pile until I can "fit into them again".

I'll continue running, but not as regularly. It's just not giving me the results I want. Honestly, walking fast feels a lot more productive, at least in my lower body, and my knees don't scream at me when I'm done. I'm getting back into strength training, which I enjoy, and I may even try to supplement that with a little Pilates. My issue is motivation at home, since I don't belong to a gym, and time. The odds of me consistently getting up early to exercise are slim (I wish) to none, but I do have about a 45 minute window when I get home from work when the kids are off doing their things before dinner that I try to dedicate to getting my sweat on.

It's just frustrating that now, at age 46, I seem to have to work so hard for so little result. It doesn't help that many of my friends have awesome bods. True, some haven't birthed two ginormous babies. Some are fitness instructors and freakin' work out more in a day than I do all week. So not only do I have to try to keep up with the Joneses, I'm single and not getting any younger. The middle age spread isn't going to help my chances out there any, that's for sure. There's only so many guys who will love me for my brain and awesome personality.

I've exhausted all the possibilities except one. Weight Watchers. I never thought it would come to this, but it's come to this. And in researching the myriad of weight loss options out there, WW always comes out on top. So I'm going to try it. No, not going to meetings where I stand up and say, "Hi, I'm Amy and I have a weight problem" and they all say, "Hiiiii, Amy......." but the online version where hopefully they'll tell me how much to put in my piehole and I'll keep track of it, which will in turn motivate me to exercise more and see if I can turn back time and give this metabolism a kick start.

Can I get my 13 year old body back? Definitely not. Would I like my post-divorce/relationship body back? It'd be nice, now that I'd be in a place to enjoy it. But to do that would require me to eat NOTHING and also sleep very little and generally be miserable all the time. I'm over doing that. For now, I'll just keep trying to change things up until I find that magic nutrition and exercise regimen that works for me for the long haul.

Wish me luck, and feel free to share any tips of your own. Remember, we're all in this together (except for you skinny bitches - get out of here and go eat a sandwich.)


  1. I am a 43 yr old woman. Two years ago - Couldn't lose baby weight. Couldn't find metabolism. Ran by myself, lost 10 lbs, ran a 5k, barely finished.

    Heard about Guardian Fitness in Peoria, off of Allen Road. Took a few months but I lost 20 more pounds, dropped 3 pants sizes, took about 8 minutes off my 5k time. My mind changed -- I felt like I could do anything. I learned to like push ups.

    G Fit is on the web and Fbook. I 100% recommend it and I could give you the names of 10 others who would too.

    Weight Watchers works too.

  2. Well, it's obvious to me that you have reached what personal trainers refer to as a "plateau." You ned to shock your body out of starvation mode, by shoving as many greasy and carb-laden foods into your mouth as possible. Stat.


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