Getting Older, Gaining Weight
Yep. It Happens
If you’ve ever had to go through your clothes and throw out all the things that don’t fit you anymore, you know the true meaning of pain.
As I’ve gotten deeper into my 40s, I’ve struggled with weight gain just like most of us do and, from what everyone keeps telling, it only gets worse.
Yeah. Thanks for that nugget of wisdom.
It’s really, really hard to feel good about yourself when you’re gaining weight and nothing fits and you feel like you’re trying and nothing’s working and what’s wrong with you?
I’ll tell you what’s wrong: Nothing.
You’re a human being living in a time when losing weight is probably the hardest it’s ever been. You’re a good person with good intentions and none of us really understands this whole weight loss thing because, if we did, I wouldn’t be writing this and you would be lying on your bed bouncing quarters off your 12-pack abs.
Dealing With Getting Fatter
So, how do we deal with this weight gain issue?
You could do what I did and clean out your clothes and dump them in a pile in the middle of the floor, shouting, “THIS IS HOW FAT I AM!” Then you can pour a glass (or 3) of wine and have a good cry or, if you’re a man, you can turn on a video game and pretend it isn’t happening (hey, I’m just repeating what my husband said he does when he realizes he’s gaining weight).
After that, however, you have to do something. Something positive because we all have to remember one important thing: It’s okay.
Not it’s no fun gaining weight and going up a size or three. It doesn’t feel good in any way, but it’s still okay. We don’t need to become anorexic or eat lemon wedges and tree bark for the next 6 months.
We don’t need to try some ridiculous workout program that is only going to leave us hobbling around the house, feeling even older than we are.
We don’t have to hate ourselves.
How to Deal
So, is it possible to get over feeling bad about our aging bodies?
You know I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t think it’s 100% possible. I think we will all have days when we look in the mirror and think – “Who IS that and what did they do with my real body?”
That’s inevitable because no one can feel great about themselves all the time. And if you do? I want whatever drug you’re taking because it sounds marvelous.
What we can do is make the choice to work for something different. To think of ourselves in a different light and to start identifying what’s really important.
After dealing with this and thinking about it, I came up with my own list of things we can do to make life not suck just because we’ve gained some weight:
- Settle Into Your Body – As a trainer, it’s really, really, REALLY, hard to gain weight and not identify with that young, thinner, person I always was. And, even if you’re not a fitness pro, it’s always hard to deal with a body that isn’t the ways it used to be. But, unless we all go on some harebrained diet/exercise program (which I am totally not doing), we pretty much have the bodies we have. Sure, we can always lose weight, but our bodies are different now and they respond differently than they did at, say, 20. Embracing that instead of fighting it makes life just a little easier.
- Get Rid of Things That Make You Feel Bad – Opening my drawers and seeing the jeans I used to wear or the sports bra that doesn’t fit was an immediate downer. Starting your day with that kind of negative ickiness means you have to work to overcome the ickiness…precious energy you could spend on other things. Schedule a day to go through your closets, drawers, etc. and get rid of all the clothes that don’t fit. Think of it as a rejuvenating purge of ickiness.
- Get Clothes That Fit and Feel Good – I cannot stress this enough. Throwing out my smaller clothes hurt, but it felt good to get clothes that made me feel good about myself. Doing that does a couple of things. First, you’re comfortable and, if you’re comfortable, you’re not constantly thinking about how fat your stomach/butt/whatever feels. Second, trying on different clothes – or different sized clothes – allows you to get to know this new body. Whatever it looks like, your body does a lot for you and that’s worth more than any flat belly in the world. Most of the time.
- Get Strong – One thing that saves me from wallowing in self-pity is when I focus on how strong I am. And I got strong by exercising and lifting weights. Mastering something always makes you feel good and when you feel the strength growing in your body, you start to like it more. Remember, I’ve got tons of workouts to choose from. Well, not tons, but enough to get you started.
Getting older involves all kinds of things we don’t expect or, even if we do, don’t know what it will actually feel like. Sometimes, it feels crappy. But the good thing about getting older is that we’re also getting smarter and we know our value a lot more than when we were young.
Also? We don’t have to go to school and take exams and agonize over a bad hair day or a chipped nail or some boy or girl who doesn’t notice us. And that? Is awesome.