Lose those kilos of the pandemic

This is really embarrassing. But I’m sure I’m not alone.

Somehow I had the guts to get on the scale last month and find out 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 should appear before my astonished eyes, but 20 extra pounds on the hips, thighs and butt.”

This fact is especially hard to share since I wrote a book called “10 Secrets to Losing Weight After 50”.

How did this happen to me?

Several years ago, after taking care of my mom who had Lewy body dementia, I gained a lot of pounds. She horrified me despite 172 after her death. The heaviest thing in my life so far. So, I did a lot of research and experimenting, I lost 15 pounds, although it is true that it sucks to lose weight as you age, then I shared how I did it in this book. I even managed to keep the weight off…until the pandemic.

I broke my shared 5 pound rule in my book: If I gain 5 pounds, it’s time to lose 5 pounds. Everyone else was stress eating, indulging and drinking wine. Why not me? We all had to console ourselves in some way, right? After the pandemic was over, 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 stuck around for a lot longer than I planned. Originally, I told myself that on January 1 he would start losing weight. Surely, 2021 will be a better year with less stress. Then one day, I was sitting in front of a full-length closet door mirror and my reflection startled me. I took a photo, gritted my teeth and decided to face the music on the scales.

I tipped the scales at 180 pounds. Unfortunately, I had broken my previous record. My BMI is 29 and 30 is considered obese. He was on top. At the rate he was going, he would easily accomplish that feat by the first of the year.

The severity of obesity during a pandemic

I 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 head into 2021. According to the CDC, obesity increases the risk of severe 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 here’s more bad news: Studies have shown that obesity may be linked to a lower response to the vaccine. Oh!

So yes, I hated my looks, but that’s not my main motivation for losing weight. I want to reduce my risks of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID. Also, I 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’s no time like the present

No more procrastination. Last month, I began my journey to a healthier me. I wanted to be held accountable, 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 others.

A few weeks later, my husband posted a picture of me on a hike. He had lost some weight by then, but he still looked a bit heavy on me. Normally, he would have scolded him for posting this photo. Since I’ve gained weight, out of embarrassment, I only allow headshots. But you know what? I got it! I released Facebook approvals.

I reread the chapter in my book on how to change my attitude (such as thinking losing weight is impossible when you’re older and lamenting that the methods that worked when you were younger no longer work). Check out my tips on how to overcome a slower metabolism and muscle loss, control 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 come off. I didn’t cut out all carbs, I didn’t eat grapefruit, I didn’t eat at certain times of the day, I didn’t use specific supplements, and I didn’t eat raw food. There were no dangerous surgeries, diet pills, expensive weight loss programs, expensive supplements, expensive gym membership fees, or personal trainers involved. And I don’t starve or go on 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 your friends are raving about that work temporarily but are unsustainable. As we age, it’s important to make health, not rapid weight loss, 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 fad high-protein diets can cause severe constipation. On top of that, you are more likely to gain the weight back. Who needs all that?

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

There is a lot of confusion about choosing the right diet. You’ll want to use a plan that’s nutritionally balanced, free of forbidden foods, 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 US News World Report’s “Overall Best Diets” List, including the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and Weight Watchers (by the way, the popular Keto, Paleo, Atkins and Raw Food diets ranked as some of the worst on their 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 in the best weight loss diets, worked the best for me during that time, so that’s the plan I’m currently using. However, everyone is different, so you’ll need to find what works best for you. If you want to try any of the other healthy diets listed, you can find inexpensive used copies of books describing the diets along with recipes on Amazon.

So here I am a month later and thank goodness my tips are still working 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 in this for the long haul!

I already feel much better physically, mentally and emotionally. During the pandemic, when so much is out of our control, it’s empowering to take back control of my diet.

Establishment of mini terms

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

Make sense. Setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in six weeks is less daunting than setting a goal to lose 100 pounds in a year. Short-term milestones keep you focused on your success and progress rather than how much weight you still need to lose. Meeting your mini-deadlines is uplifting and energizing.

In my case, I need to lose about 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 experience, I know that the weight comes off faster when you start dieting. It slows down after that with some plateaus that make progress difficult.

So I hope to lose a pound or two a week from here on out. Some weeks you may not lose anything, you may even gain a pound or two. Alright. 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 well worth the effort.

So from here on out, 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’s the start of a new year with all those resolutions. Is weight loss on your list? Are there brave souls out there who want to join me on my journey?

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

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

You can also like my author’s FB page for weight loss tips and track my progress. I post a picture of my scale weekly and have promised to share my successes and, yes, my struggles and failures too.

For example, I knew that the last week of the year would be a challenge since it was outside of my normal schedule. So, I made it a point to just maintain my weight that week. I think it’s okay to take regular short breaks, as long as you don’t go 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 gained a pound back. I’ll keep it real.

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

We can do it together!

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