Note: could be triggery, so if you have weight issues, you might not want to read this. This is more a musing on my weight gain-loss process, as I think it over and plan how to deal with it. I know what I have to do, and I’m working on it. So….
I’m having to watch my weight again. I’m up about seven pounds from where I should be and it’s showing because it’s starting to get in my way. Keep in mind that I’m a small woman, narrow-shouldered and short-waisted, about 5’3″. My seven pounds is a taller, bigger-framed woman’s fifteen-to-twenty. So when I took off sixty pounds, that was a third of my weight. Someone who is taller with broader shoulders and longer waist would to lose more weight to have that significant of a weight change for them. Doesn’t sound like much of a problem? Well, the dilemma I’m facing is that for me, it’s becoming clear that little shifts in weight can make a HUGE difference in health, comfort and ability to be active. That plus given that I was a fat baby, those little fat cells are just primed to take off and grow given the slightest option. My optimum calorie consumption is about 1300 per day…and it’s only going to get worse as I age. Sigh.
To give you a visual perspective–here I am near my heaviest, around 2006-7:
Contrast with this weight from last fall, which is about five pounds above my lightest weight and actually is just about optimum for me health and activity-wise:
The thing is, I know how my weight gain sneaks up on me. If I don’t watch what I’m eating during the last weeks of school, or if I don’t immediately get strict with myself at the beginning of summer and lose the dang weight already, it stays around. I tend to have wide weight swings across the span of 6-10 years, and if I don’t watch it–before I know it, I’m back up big again. Which is so not going to work as I’m getting older, because it interferes with what I want to do, and the wide swings in weight (sixty is just the biggest, I’ve been known to swing forty-to fifty pounds in a gain-loss cycle) are not good for my long-term health.
I’m usually pretty fit at any weight–aerobically fit, that is. But the weight does get in my way. And as I age, the weight becomes the enemy of the joints and ligaments. Not only that, but it’s putting itself on differently.
Menopause has definitely affected my weight/body shape. I dumped a lot of weight at the beginning of menopause because I went off of hormones and BAM! there went a lot of the weight. I was exercising well until about after the time of the picture from this fall because my hips really started tightening down on me, and then I strained one in early season skiing, and it’s taken until now to get that fixed. I didn’t get bothered at first because besides the weight scale, I use a measuring tape to track my changes, and things looked good.
Except…my waist started creeping upward. I didn’t think much of it at first, because my usual pattern is that I gain first in my bust and lose it last there, while my waist follows the lead of my hips, which usually are the first to lose and the last to gain. Not this time. Bust and hips have remained relatively stable, but the waist? Urm, guess what grew.
Post-menopausal gain pattern, clearly. Annoying as all get-out. Luckily, I think some of that flab is simply loss of muscle tone, and resuming regular workouts as I get more active again will change that. Nonetheless, it’s an bothersome sign of aging.
What’s even more concerning is that this last little gain is making it clear that these days, a five pound range can make a significant difference for me. Couple small frame with reduced calorie need even for an active person (albeit an active writer person) and I foresee some real challenges ahead. I have arthritic tendencies and I just can’t afford to get heavy.
The post-menopausal waist gain is also a huge problem. Before, the weight pretty much evenly distributed itself, with a tendency to concentrate in the bust. Now it all wants to go to the waist. That quickly impacts my flexibility and movement. Yuck.
So…I’m easing back into the process of monitoring food, because what’s happening is that I’m nibbling more and that’s where the calories come from. I’m also in fitness boot camp, which isn’t going to be too bad because I’m including Mocha in the process. But I have to watch out that I don’t overdo (which is why today is a relatively mild day). It looks like I’m going to need to figure out just what does and doesn’t affect that waist weight gain for me.
Arrgh. Just when I got it figured out, things change. The curse of way-too-efficient metabolisms, I guess. And bye-bye, sweet carbs. T’was nice while I could nibble on you.
At least I know I can do it. But it’s annoying to deal with. Sigh.