One of us wrote me the other day (now there’s an awkward start), to share her story and the way of eating that works for her. Her real name is terrific, but we won’t use it. Instead we’ll call her Malachite. Why? I don’t know, because I’m not getting enough oxygen, I guess.
Malachite, like a lot of my buddies, has made adjustments to her diet to accommodate the decades she’s achieved. She’s got a couple on me, so I’m especially grateful that she’s sharing what works for her, and giving any of us under 60 a heads’ up, fair warning:
“At 62 I am probably one of your older subscribers. Though I feel as if I’ve spent my life fighting obesity, I am realizing that it’s only in about the last 10 years that I began to have a serious weight problem. Before that (and even after 3 children) it was always just an unwanted 5 or 10 “vanity” pounds. Now, at 198 (down from a high of about 215 last fall), I’m taking this seriously.
“It must be true that our metabolisms change as we reach menopause. I know that I can’t eat the way I did when I was younger – even to stay the same. It also seems more difficult to lose weight now. The pounds are coming off VERY slowly, but coming off they are. I read the “blogs” of the mostly young women – many of whom are having great success – and I want to cheer them on, but many of the accounts make me sad. These women aren’t making the kind of lifetime changes they need to make. They’re eating oreos (or nothing) for breakfast, and then compensating by spending 2 hours at the gym. I’m here to tell you that at 62 you aren’t going to want to be spending that much time working out. And that if you haven’t learned something about nutrition by then you are going to be in big trouble.
“Here’s my approach:
1. Don’t diet. But eat a moderate healthy diet. For me this means eating low on the glycemic scale, avoiding empty calories. White, refined foods are the enemy. Fats can be OK, especially the “good” ones. The Zone pretty much defines my approach to food, though I’m not rigid about it. Five or six small meals, each with a balance of lean protein, good fats and nutritious carbs (whole grains, veggies, fruit), work well for me.
2. Reasonable exercise is a must. For me this is walking, using the Nordic Trak (in bad weather), and lifting weights at home. I love Miriam Nelson’s “Strong Women” books and website for strength training. And soon it will be time to garden! But, as with the diet – no extremes. I don’t flog myself if I miss a day. But I do keep track.”
That’s Malachite’s way. She gave us a lot of hints. Good people to explore and read. We both agree that Christiane Northrop’s The Wisdom of Menopause is an important read. (My mom gave it to me. Thanks Mom!) And of course Pamela Peeke’s Fight Fat after Forty. Younger women, the wisdom here for you is, try to work your way out of white food addiction. Middle-yeared women, we need to do the same and make exercise as regular a part of our day as brushing our teeth. Older women, don’t lose hope. The weight can come off, but patience is key. It happens much more slowly. But slow is good. Slow is good.
Thanks for the help, M.