This Is How You Burn Fat

Aug 13

This Is How You Burn Fat

For women of a certain age, it is not so easy to lose weight.  Time and our feminine genetic make-up begin to work against us – not to mention the laws of physics, specifically, the law which states that a chunky, middle-aged woman at rest on the couch, in front of the television, with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s AmeriCone Dream, tends to stay a chunky, middle-aged woman at rest ….

Last spring, after trying everything, I remembered something Oprah Winfrey once said about losing weight – I couldn’t find the exact quote, so I’m paraphrasing here:  Don’t say you’ve tried everything.  If you haven’t succeeded, then you haven’t tried everything.

So, I made use of the services of a personal trainer, worked out strenuously at the gym for an hour every morning before work, four mornings a week, for five weeks, and followed the starvation diet the trainer gave me religiously.  I lost a few pounds in the first week, then stayed stuck at the same weight.

It was disheartening and embarrassing.  I could tell the trainer thought I was cheating on the diet, but I absolutely wasn’t.  I’d hit a wall and I lost my motivation.

That summer, I learned there was a medical reason that was making it more difficult for me to lose weight.  With the help of a nutritionist, I also learned that the diet the trainer had given me probably wasn’t the best for me personally.

I started eating a balanced diet, higher in protein and vegetables, lower in carbs and fats, 3 meals a day and 2 healthy snacks in between, drinking a green drink every morning, de-stressing every evening, and walking – usually 15-30 minutes twice a day, in the morning, at lunch or in the evening.

I didn’t completely deprive myself.  If there was cake around for a special occasion, I followed the 3-bite rule, and even then, it wasn’t every day, maybe once a week.

I did light, muscle-building activities a couple of times a week, working with hand weights while I watched television, or doing lunges up and down the hallway, to increase my body’s ability to burn fat.

I only lost an average of one pound per week, but it added up, and by Thanksgiving, I had lost 37 lbs. and was within 11 lbs. of my goal weight.  Slow and steady was winning the race, without a gym membership or a fad diet.

Unfortunately, starting with Thanksgiving and carrying on through the holidays, I just as gradually put all of that weight back on.  It was a discouraging experience, watching my self-discipline go right out the window and seeing myself spiral right back out of control.

Food addictions are like any other, and I’m thinking now of the fact that relapse is a part of recovery.  Over the past year, I’ve learned that I can lose weight and get healthy, fairly easily, by changing my lifestyle consistently in relatively simple ways.  I’ve also learned how easy it is to slip back into old patterns, to let a cheat meal slide into a cheat day, then a cheat month and beyond, and to become discouraged and give up.

It has been hard to find that motivation within myself again, but I’m digging down deep and starting over this week.  

I’m a huge fan of Chris Powell and his carb cycling plan, which is especially good for folks like me, whose metabolisms have become a little bit stuck. But, I also owe part of my renewed sense of purpose to watching The Switch over this past weekend.  In my favorite scene, Jeff Goldblum reminded me that the key is to take it slow and steady and not to deprive myself. It’s funny, yes, but it’s also kinda true – the best humor always contains a grain of truth. ;)


Two of my very favorite comedic actors, amazing in terms of deadpan delivery:
Jason Bateman and Jeff Goldblum in my favorite scene from The Switch

If you’ve lost your motivation along the way, I hope this reminder can help you to find it again.  Every morning is a new chance to start fresh. Check in with me if you like, and remember that, whatever your goals, you are never alone in your journey.  We’ve got this.  And we’ve got each other.

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