July 2020: I will be 71 years old next month. Seventy-one! I have to say that time has gone into overdrive since 50. Suddenly I’m undeniably a senior citizen, and yet, I don’t feel any different than I did 20, 30 or even 50 years ago. I’m still Carol. I still have that young student, wife, mother, and teacher in me. Now I’ve added mother-in-law, grandmother, artist, writer, and retiree to the list – and so much more. Each person has many facets and wears so many different hats throughout life. Despite changes, we never lose the people we were earlier.
This blog is about my 70s. I’m almost a year into them. I breezed through my 30th, 40th, 50th, and even 60th birthdays. However, 70 hit me hard. I could pretend that 60 was still fairly young. I can’t do that anymore. As I get older, I also get more real. There’s no longer time to appease and “fit in.” The “age of wisdom” is a time to be real because there is no reason to be anything other than myself.
As I type this post, I’m sitting in a recliner with an orthopedic boot on my elevated left foot. Last week my foot started hurting. I have NO idea why. I didn’t turn it, didn’t stumble, didn’t drop anything on it. It felt normal in the morning, and by evening I could hardly walk. Very painful. So my daughter let me borrow an orthopedic boot to see if that helps. I will give it a few days and see. Looking at my foot makes me feel my age: Unexplained aches and pains – a sign of aging.
One focus of this blog will be my health – especially my weight. Since my childhood, I’ve obsessed about my weight. I don’t make that statement lightly. Truly, my weight and wanting to lose weight has been almost constantly on my mind since I was 10 years old and someone remarked that I was chubby. Over the years, I’ve tried every diet imaginable – Weight Watchers, Keto, Whole 30, Atkins, Nutrisystem, Phen-Fen, Jenny Craig, Low Fat, Counting Calories, Counting Macros, Fasting, Daniel Fast . . . . That’s all I can think of offhand. What they all have in common is that I didn’t stick with them. It was always a “diet” – not a change in attitude. My thinking was that once I lost the extra weight, I could maintain it easily. However, the weight will always come back unless eating habits have changed.
The Phen-Fen diet was the easiest. I did it during the 90s. I lost the most weight and felt wonderful. It was illegal in Tennessee, and so once a month I’d drive to Huntsville, AL where a “doctor” had rented an office and dispensed Phen-Fen. It was such a farce! The office had a scale for weighing people, and there was one medical book sitting on an otherwise empty desk. That was it. However, the Phen-Fen worked. When I took it, I simply didn’t think about eating. It is fascinating to me that a couple of small pills can have such a big effect!
However, Phen-Fen is now illegal everywhere because of serious side effects. I learned that just the “Fen” part of it was illegal, and so I took the Phentermine part for several years (got it from questionable online sources), and it helped me maintain a lower weight for a those years, but then I started having heart palpitations and headaches and decided I didn’t want to cause irreparable harm to my body, and so I stopped taking it. It was definitely the easiest weight loss plan, though.
Weight Watchers is the diet that seems most healthy to me. If you look at the other diets I listed, you will see that each of the others are restrictive or unbalanced in some way. I DO truly believe in eating natural and whole foods. My mother is 97, and she has always believed in the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Although I’ve tried them, I can’t do Atkins or Keto or Macros because I’ve always felt that fruits and vegetables should be the cornerstone of a healthy diet. I remember when I was counting macros, and I couldn’t have a small apple because it was too many carbs, I knew that wasn’t the plan for me.
I have always done a lot of my own cooking, and since the pandemic, I’ve cooked 99% of my meals. It’s the end of July, and I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since mid-March. I sure miss that!
What motivated me to change my way of eating was our family vacation a couple weeks ago – July 11-18. We rented a beautiful beach house and had our children and grandchildren with us. We had a private pool and were right on the beach. I LOVE swimming, and yet I didn’t put my swimsuit on a single time because I was embarrassed by my out-of-shape body. I sat there, watched everyone else enjoying the water, sun, and sand, and I decided NEVER AGAIN. I got online and joined Weight Watchers while we were still at the beach. And I began tracking the morning after we returned – July 19th.
I chose Weight Watchers because it allows me to eats lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins – along with some special treats – which I feel is the healthiest diet – balanced, not restrictive. It helps to encourage and develop moderation. So I have a new resolve to make it a lifelong healthy eating change – not a diet. I’ve completed two weeks, and here are my results:
Week 1, July 24, 2020: -2 lbs.
Week 2, July 31, 2020: – 1.8 lbs.
Total loss: 3.8 lbs.
I want to lose about 65 pounds. So I’ve got a solid start. I’m perfectly happy to take a year or more to reach my goal because I’m concentrating on making this a new way of life – not a diet.
There will be other focuses as time passes, but that’s good enough for a beginning.