Do we have to count our calories to make our life better? I sure as heck hope not but have learned after going to the doctor with some complaints that now that I am in my mid-40’s my calorie requirement is lower than it once was. I had been able to maintain a 145-150 lbs on my 5’6 frame for years- over a decade in fact and then all of a sudden- I turn 45 and go up to 171.8. Yes- the .8 is in there because it annoyed me. Round it up but NO the damn scale was 171.8 last week and I was ticked off.
My doctor recommended a lower fat diet (I don’t eat greasy stuff but I had some salmon with a cream sauce and it wrecked me). I am being sent for a gall bladder ultrasound tomorrow but meanwhile I had been steadily gaining and had gained 21 lbs since my last doc visit in June 2017. HOLY SMOKES. I knew it was bad but didn’t realize how bad.
My husband had major jaw surgery in July and I don’t think I ate more because of this but maybe I did. He was unable to eat a lot of the things we cooked but we managed to consume them as if he was eating them. Maybe I had 2 dinner portions a night instead of my normal one? I don’t know what I did but last week I did a calorie count of a normal day and egads it was 1800-2000 calories. I actually didn’t say EGADS til the doctor said “Um- you do know that are your age and level of exercise (I lift some free weights and use the exercise bike and walk on occassion) you should only consume about 1600 calories to maintain your weight. To lose you need to go down to 1200 or 1400 calories, depending on how fast you want to lose it.” Holy crap- really? So starting last Thursday I have been measuring and counting and tracking it on Live Strong’s My Plate app. I have not edited my meals so I could see how much each one was. I have been more thoughtful though and added a salad for lunch each day. I so far have done 1600-1700 calories and one day I was able to do 1450.
This week I am going to try for 1300 a day and see how I do. Even with this slight change I am down to 169.6 as of this morning. I realize one can fluctuate so I’m not really counting this weight loss as a real loss but if the scale keeps going down I’ll be pleased. I’m not into being skinny- 145-150 lbs on me still leaves plenty of squish and fat on my body. According to the chart I’m supposed to be 130 lbs, yeah that’s funny. I was 131 lbs in 2013 due to an illness for about 2 months and I looked anorexic and horrible and I had no boobs. So no- 130 lbs is NOT going to happen nor do I want it to. I had an eating disorder as a teen and although it was never officially diagnosed I know I chose to drink several glasses of skim milk at each meal to fill up and I ate very little. I will not go back to that.
So now I have to see what I eat every day and make good choices. I need to choose to walk daily despite the fact my doggie friend is no longer with us. Part of me wonders if that’s how I gained it all. I stopped walking a dog (she died this fall) and the pounds packed on. I didn’t realize that naturally I am not a walker but when a tail wags and you get the nudge – you’ll go out despite the weather. We are not in a position to get another dog just yet so for now I have to walk myself or walk with a friend. I need to get better at making it a daily habit vs whenever the mood hits me, as it never does.
Calories and life- we need water and food to live yet we eat too much and we become unhealthy. We have to manage things in regular life too- we need to manage our stress, our anxiety, our job requirements, our responsibilities, our family life. It’s all a balance. It’s like taking care of your car- you get oil changes and you make sure it gets the best fuel to run well. Our bodies are the same, we need good quality food and we need to exercise in order to run well. I know this- we all know this but it’s a struggle.
I’ve heard numerous friends say “Menopause and getting older sucks!” and I think that is part of it too. My doctor mentioned that as I am walking into Menopause that my metabolism takes a real hit and that activity needs to increase, calcium intake needs to increase along with Vitamin D, and our food intake needs to go down. Ugh- I don’t feel super old or anything and at 45 I’m not, but man I want my waist back. I want to fit into my bathing suit from last summer -it’s cute- but I had to buy another one just in case. So to all of you who are struggling- you are not alone. I
t’s ok- and I hope to share this journey with you. I am not planning on counting calories for long- that’ll take me back to old habits. I plan on eating the foods I like but in moderation. I know I can get back to my old self and regardless of what happens I know I need to choose to love myself NOW because NOW is who I am – 169.6 pounds, 5 foot 6 inches and salt and pepper hair. All of me isn’t my appearance or my weight. I am a writer, mother, friend, daughter, sister, and wife. I am more than calories and it’s going to be just fine. Sharing this helps. I hope that you accept yourself for who you are today too. We all have flaws and that’s ok- our goal is to improve ourselves to be a better self and that is my plan too!