Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The muffin-top menace of 41

My birthday is looming and for the first time I’m reflective and contemplating the reality of aging.

I reached the supposedly momentous FOUR O last year, and didn’t notice anything special. It was a birthday, I went out for dinner with friends, I moved along the next day into life as usual.

This year though, after having gorged myself through numerous holidays and business trips, I am starting to develop muffin tops! I decided that I needed to knock that off, start a diet and get back into shape.
Only it’s not happening. Not nearly as quickly as it should, or as it used to. Is this my age catching up with me?

Despite following a low calorie, low fat, no sugar, almost no carb diet for the past 10 days, my weight feels like lead, packed neatly inside my flesh, stubborn and solid - as if it’s telling me, in it’s stoic silence, that it’s not going anywhere.

I have also started exercising. At a fundraising event last weekend – where I avoided all the temptations of good wine and a cornucopia of fat and carbs at the buffet – I won a one month gym membership in a raffle. I figured it was a sign.

I headed to the gym Monday. After an hour (brisk walking – I don’t run!), on the treadmill I felt a bit dizzy and would have happily made my way home. But there is a cartel of personal trainers at the gym that pounce on all unsuspecting middle-aged out of shape newbies, and I was dragged off to an hour of torture (otherwise known as training). I left with an overwhelming sense of nausea and foreboding.

I hopped on the scale the next morning and had actually gained weight. After the initial loss on day one and two of this diet, I seem to lose .1 of a kilo only to gain .2 the next day. How is this fair? Not one cheat I tell you! Is this what happens when you’re past 40?

Headed back to the gym for more punishment again yesterday. Again I did the hour on the treadmill and again, my new training pimp tugged me along for the weights circuit. Halfway through, my legs threatened to give out completely and my stomach did a few somersaults. Could I really be THIS BADLY out of shape?! Apparently so. He did not let up though, and I finished an hour of lifting, squatting, pushing, pulling, groaning…

I barely made it home. Walking up and down stairs now is like trying to hold one’s self up on rubber bands. I have to hold the railings for dear life. And the pain! Oh, the pain. I had to take painkillers to fall asleep last night.

So this is what it’s come to.

And I gained .1 of a kilo this morning too. Thanks.

If I believed in God I would be sure he had a grudge against me. Either that or THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE OVER 40…

For years I’ve read silly birthday cards about how everything falls apart above a certain age, and I’ve heard my mom and her friends sharing their mutual complaints about how the body doesn’t cooperate with the mind anymore etc. But in that naïve way of the young(er), I never believed it would happen to me.

We are supposed to be an evolved species! Why haven't they discovered the elixir of youth? And I'm not talking about plastic surgery, which creates scary melted wax in place of people's faces.

Jellyfish even have it figured out! (did you know there was an immortal strain of jellyfish). Just what the world needs - brainless blobs that live forever.

A few years ago I went through the same 'get fit, stay young' efforts, and with a healthy diet and some long walks, I lost the weight with ease. (Put it back on even easier I might add).

Am I destined to feel like I've been beaten up just from exercising? Must I wear my ‘fat clothes’ from here on out, and retire the slim wardrobe forever? Is it worth all this effort if nothing is happening with my physique?

Yes, I know that a healthy lifestyle is always better and cannot be bad… but just as I have come to accept that the efforts will be harder and longer now – that I’m over 40 – I come across this: THE TWINKIE DIET. Wherein some nutrition doctor loses 27 pounds eating sugared donuts…

Go figure.
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IanH said...

(did you know there was an immortal strain of jellyfish). Just what the world needs - brainless blobs that live forever.

They are on land too. I call them "Politicians"

Expat mum said...

Too funny. But it's true - it does get harder to lose the flab and the weight in your 40's. I must say though, your trainers aren't doing a very good job if they let a newbie do an hour on the treadmill and then a training session. Far too much, and usually more than enough for anyone. No wonder your legs were sore.

Aussieghana said...

Hi Holli, oh I can so relate to your post. I have found that after 4 months of what I affectionately call "The West Africa Diet" that is, living in a place where everything is made with chilli - and I don't eat chilli, combined with recurring bouts of African Belly, I have managed to lose 14kgs, without effort, which is kind of great. The only problem is that now after 40, I have found another problem - my skin just doesn't want to bounce back like it used to!! :)

injaynesworld said...

Yep. That's what happens. One day you're sitting on the toilet and you realize you can't see your "business" because it's obscured by a theretofore unnoticed roll of fat.

Don't get discouraged though. It didn't appear in 10 days and it won't go away in 10 days, but if you cut out all the "white" food as in sugar, bread, white pasta, etc. and you stick with it, it will take a few months, but it will come off. When it does you can then indulge in a goodie from time to time and no foul.

And throw out the scale. Just go by the way your clothes fit.

By the way, my 40s were the best decade of my life, so when I turned 60 last year I declare 60 to be the new 40 and I'm doing them all over again.

Movie Paintings said...

I must say this isn;t a diet I have ever considered but seeing as it comes so highly recommended! I find whenever I go travelling i shed weight just because the budget i always find myself on

The pale observer said...

Thanks for the encouragements peoples.

AussieGhana - I had the exact opposite experience when I first came to Ghana. Eating the local food, much of it I loved - all carbs and fat - it loved me too and clung to my hips! I gained and gained until I had to cut back big time...

I think I love food too much and it loves me back.

The scale though, that is an evil creature. I'm going to take Jayne's advise and throw that puppy away!

My willpower remains. White foods are out! Gym (in moderation) is in...

Wish me luck!

NuminosityBeads said...

Just remember that muscle weighs more than fat and that should make you feel better! I know what you're going through!
xoxo Kim

Professor Chaos said...

Hey, don't knock the muffin top. They're called "love-handles" for a reason!

Lohi said...

Oh I feel you on this one Holly. I too turn 41 next month (yikes!) and lets not even go into what the state of my body is. I do have the excuse though that I had my 3rd child just three months ago. That lets me off the hook...doesn't it???

masai mara safaris said...

just don't give up on trying to lose that weight. nothing comes easy in life.

The pale observer said...

PC, Kim, Masai Mara - thanks for the encouragement!!!

Lohi - that DEFINITELY lets you off the hook!!!

By the way - things have taken a turn for the better - I've stuck at it and.... I'm fitting into my medium clothes!!!! :) Follow up blog post on it's way

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