Today, I’m talking about midlife perspective on weight.
If you know anything about me, then you know I am passionate about fitness at midlife. I do believe that freedom from the “weight” of excess weight is possible and I encourage people to rethink their relationships with food.
I have written a lot about food choices, mindful eating and fitness. But I have also worked hard to put out the message of self acceptance and a healthy food perspective. Every now and then you read something that resonates so much with your own thinking that you’ve just got to share it!
I came across a post by Cathy Lawdanski at My Side Of 50. At 57, she finally came to that aha moment where life’s priorities fell in line and she could finally gain realistic perspective on her weight, her fitness and her life.
I decided to talk to this gal, because I think she’s got something to say that you just might need to hear.
When a realized that nothing IMPORTANT TO ME would change whether I was a size 14 or size 8. I would still be me – wife, mother, grandmother, friend. I would have the same gifts and talents. I would still be loved by God, my friends and family.
I was blessed with good health. My cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure all were great. No doctor had told me to lose weight. I was a 3 times a week Crossfitter and 2 times a week yoga girl.
I decided to celebrate all the things I COULD do and all that I had instead of being so bummed out constantly about what size I was.
Because being on a diet is just stressful. And being stressed about what we eat is the opposite of what we should be. We were designed to be hungry when our body needs fuel. And we were designed to feel full when we’ve had enough.
Diets had me on edge all the time – food lists, tracking, meetings, what time to eat, don’t eat in the evening, no carbs after 4 p.m., buy this, don’t buy that… and it goes on and on and on.
If we are stressed about what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat all the time, we cannot relax and enjoy the PLEASURE of eating. I find that when I slow down & enjoy food I really want, then I don’t seem to need as much.
When I diet, I am stressed about eating “approved” foods and I eat way too much of them, looking for the pleasure, which I never seem to get. So I usually end up binging on something “forbidden”.
Being kind to myself – which means not being hard on myself and beating myself up about things like – “You ate too much chocolate last night”. “You didn’t go very heavy on that workout”. “You sure didn’t get much done today”.
Rest – getting enough sleep at night and not scheduling every minute of every day in the quest to be productive.
Eating food that nourishes me – which about 85% of the time is whole, unprocessed food with little sugar.
Exercise – Because my body craves it. It feels good and I miss it when I don’t exercise. I do Crossfit and yoga the most, with a run here and there. And I don’t exercise EVERY day. My body needs about 2 days a week of total rest.
She told me to “Look at yourself naked in the mirror every day for a week.” Gross. But I did it. The first couple of days, I started at the top and it was ok until I got down to my stomach. Then I had to look away. I carry most of my excess weight in my stomach and hips. It grossed me out. Then on day 3 I said to myself “Ok, what are you looking at here that is so disgusting to you? It is fat. Fat. A substance that everyone has on their body somewhere if they are healthy. Yours just happens to pool in this particular place. It is not the end of the world.”
“It does not change who you are one bit. Not your character, personality, love for others, how your friends and family feel about you, your ability to serve others…not one darn thing.
When I realized that there was not one person in this world (that matters anyway) who was looking at my fat, evaluating my fat, hating my fat, spending precious time and money trying to get rid of my fat but ME. So I decided to let it go.
Then I calculated how many years I had spent being on a diet and focusing on my weight. I had been focusing on weight and fat in some form or fashion since my youngest child was born – 27 YEARS AGO. That’s a long time. And I weigh more than I ever have.
I am 57 years old. If I live as long as my Mom did and die at 82, I have 25 more years left. Do I want to spend the next 25 years obsessing over weight and fat like I have the last 27? Heck no.
Your size is your size. It is not who you are…just like your hair is not who you are, or your skin or the way you sing or walk or talk. It is just a part of you.
Don’t spend one more minute of your life focusing on size and weight as the standard by which you measure yourself and others.
And quit talking about it – to your mom, daughter, sister and friends. How much of our conversation focuses on diet, size and weight? Let’s focus our conversation on the things that matter – our love for each other, ways we can build each other up and ideas that are important; things that nourish us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The dissatisfaction we feel over our bodies doesn’t do any of those things. Let’s make the choice to stop the cycle now.
You can also catch Cathy’s original post – I’m NOT Losing Weight In 2016.
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