Your 40-Something Body – How long will it take till I look like Cindy Crawford?
Remember in your 20’s when you could just cut back a bit for a few days and BAM 5 lbs just fell off of you? When I was 19 I literally decided I needed to lose weight but all I ate was Oreos and Milk for maybe 3 days and I was down 3 lbs. If any of this worked for you in your 20s you have to know it will NOT work for you now.
Yup, your metabolism has slowed down and you’ve probably created some seriously slothful movement habits since you became a real adult. Between work and all your other obligations, you may consider the walk from the couch to your bed a near marathon experience at the end of the day.
I know. I’ve been there too.
You may not only feel utter exhaustion but you also may be dealing with teen-aged aliens or maybe you were a later starter and have small not-yet-aliens who literally suck the life force out of you.
In other words, YOU ARE TIRED.
You may also be depressed as this is also the age when your parents need your help and you are being pulled in many directions. To add to this, you’re realizing you need something to retire on and depending on the government to supply your needs isn’t looking too rosy, so the stress level can be pretty high.
Depression, stress, and anxiety raise your cortisol levels (the hormone that gives you that nice belly tire) and peri-menopause or menopause have slowed your metabolism even further. If you are a woman, your lower estrogen makes you feel drained. For men, it’s the decreasing testosterone.
In other words, life has brought you the perfect shit storm.
So, what do you do? How can you possibly overcome this? You’ve been trying to lose the same 10 lbs. for 10 years now – is it time to just give up?
As tempting as laying on the couch all night and every weekend can be, you MUST push yourself past this slump.
First, evaluate your emotional state.
Are you depressed? Do you have anxiety that is keeping you from sleeping or relaxing? Have you gained or lost a great deal of weight lately?
It’s truly time to get a medical physical, face the truth about your physical health, and catch anything brewing early on.
It’s also time to get that therapy you may have been avoiding. If you’re still blaming others for where you are at with your life, or you’ve had some serious trauma that you haven’t fearlessly dealt with, get thyself to a counselor.
Hey, this is your one life to live and you can be happy!
If you are depressed or anxious, get the help you need the same as if you were told you have lupus. Ignoring it will not make it go away.
Personally, going in for therapy and agreeing to some medication was the best decision I’ve made in years. As a yogi, I am all about the meditating, eating well, exercising, and being one with nature. But if you can’t get your ass off the couch, there’s a problem.
After some therapy and meds, I feel like – well, like I never did before. Clear minded, able to deal with issues without falling apart, confident, and calm. I also sleep better – much better.
I am not recommending that everyone go get happy pills; they very well may not work for you. Maybe you do need to get out and take some walks, eat better and meditate – but I was doing all that and still feeling awful. Meds and therapy worked for me. BUT, please notice that medication was my last option — I improved my diet, I ate better, I meditated and I worked out. When I still didn’t feel better, that’s when I went for professional help.
I suggest you see your doctor and find out if there’s a physical reason why you feel the way you do or if you need some counseling. Do this for you!
Once you’ve been to the doctor and gotten your head facing in the forward position, it’s time to commit to a workout regimen.
Further on in this book, I’ve listed the different classes you can take at your local health club or park district, so start taking one.
Most health clubs have a try-it-for-free program for a week or two. Get in there and try out as many classes as you can.
Here’s a memo for you: You don’t have to actually participate in the class if you’re exhausted from having taken 2 other classes that day already or you’re just curious about what a class is like. You can sit in the corner on your mat and observe. Really, you can.
Ask other people there who the best instructors are, the best trainers, and which equipment on the floor is the best (some do work better than others).
See how the staff treats you and use every stinking amenity the place has to offer. Whirlpools, saunas, swimming pools, rock walls. Be adventurous as if you were going on a vacation.
By the end of the free trial you should know if the place is a good fit for you.
If you don’t like the group thing and prefer to sweat more or less alone, you can get a personal trainer at the gym. Remember they have quotas to make so they will be selling you hard to buy long packages. Use your best judgment.
Again, ask for referrals from other members before you even go ask at the desk. Even better, as you work out on the equipment, watch the trainers interact with their clients. Whose style do you like? Whose clients seem the most engaged? Then tell the desk who you want to train with.
Some trainers (like me!) work out of their homes and have created workout spaces somewhere in the house. My basement is pretty awesome and everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) who comes over is impressed with my space. So if you like the idea of a very private environment, a home studio is a great choice.
Make an appointment with the trainer to view their space and see their equipment before you sign on for any training. The trainer should be happy to have you over and give you a tour.
Some home studios have weight machines and treadmills etc. while others have only smaller equipment. Make sure the place you are going to has what you want. I don’t have a big Smith machine, but I do have a weight bench with a big barbell if you want to do heavier lifting. There’s also a pull-up bar and a TRX system in my workout space. Your body weight can be an amazing piece of equipment in and of itself so don’t let fancy equipment be your only test of what a trainer can do.
If big equipment is not important to you, then ask what equipment the trainer likes to use the most. Typically the studio will have BOSUs, Bench Steps, Hand Weights, Tubes, Bands, Medicine Balls and other small pieces. These are very effective tools so don’t let their small size fool you. Some people never lift the barbell and get very strong and very toned regardless.
There are also trainers who will travel to your home. You may say “AH, this is fabulous. I just roll out of bed and the trainer is there waiting for me!” Well, yes. But so is your laundry, and maybe your sick kid, and perhaps the TV. Distractions like these can ruin your concentration and make your work out less effective.
Another challenge may be equipment. There is only so much a traveling trainer can carry. However, if you have your own home gym, this scenario may be a perfect for you.
If you want to keep reading, go to Ditch the Mom Jeans