When you hit 50, all kinds of things are going on with your body that make it much easier to gain weight. And much harder to lose it. When I was 55 years old I weighed 156lbs. At 5’3” I was pretty much the average woman. But I wasn’t. As we go on perhaps, I will give more details about how I struggled with an eating disorder for most of my life and how it wreaked havoc on my body. Most people know that an eating disorder is an actual mental illness and little to do with food, so recovery programs and therapists always focus on the mindset of the person. I went through it for years. But once you start recovering it really does become more about the food because I had to be o.k. with putting on weight. And I was, for many years. Before menopause hit me at 48.
At 56 the resentment started to really build up inside me every time I had to go buy new clothes. See I had thrown away my bathroom scale years ago at the advice of my therapist because weighing myself had become an obsession. The only way I knew I was gaining was by the way my clothes fit. I wasn’t happy and I realized quickly that, after all my work to overcome my eating disorder and stay in a healthy mindset, my recovery could be in jeopardy. I was having the same thoughts about being fat and unlovable and that made me stressed and upset with myself. Unfortunately, those around me bore the brunt of it. I count my blessings to have so many amazing supportive people in my life that stuck with me. I knew that if I set upon “dieting” they would all be concerned, and I really didn’t want that so in great part that’s what drove me to stay strong and steady. I reached out to a friend who had helped me before. We sat down and looked at all the diets together and studied which one would be the better fit for me. I chose Keto and found it very easy to follow. Now, I am not here to say to you, “go do keto!” But I will say, do a little research before just jumping into a diet. People don’t always do that and that’s why they usually fail. It needs to fit you.
I also started taking a Pilates class once a week. It’s more toning than it is fat burning but it helped me feel stronger. It was hard to get started but I remained determined. That’s key! As I started slimming down I would get compliments and it made me feel good. Not the eating disorder mindset kind of good but a more confidant good. I was surrounded by women who would empower each other every day not just with kind words but with actions as well. Having that support and comradery meant everything. And then, the pandemic happened. Isolation is hard but I was lucky and had my husband with me and we busied ourselves with little projects we always said we would do but before could never find the time. In fact, he and I spent little time together because of our jobs. This tragedy became an opportunity, one that I was whole heartedly willing to take. My group of women had dwindled down to 1 man. And he was beyond sufficient. I ended up getting covid and he never left my side. He would not quarantine himself away from me and so for 10 weeks he helped take care of me. Allow me add a #GRATEFUL here. I got better but covid left me with a congested lung. It also left me drained and I hadn’t done any form of exercise for months. I could feel myself becoming lazy, or shall I say, very comfortable on the couch. I had to have chest x-rays and after reviewing them, the doctor had said if I exercised more, I would use my lungs more and I would be able to get rid of it. So I started walking again. Walking is something I always had enjoyed. It cleared my head. Now I just had to pick up the pace. And I did. Around the block, a mile here and there. The walking got me energized and had me craving for more… I started doing the Pilates floor exercises and lifting 3 and 5 lb weights… all while watching TV! 😊 One day I turned on YouTube on my big screen and found an Xtend Barre class. It’s amazing! I can use my bar stool and kitchen counter! I really got into it. I walked more, every day. I switched off between Plitaes and Xtend Barre everyday… while watching Tv! 😊 Now at 57, I am 125lbs w/ 21% body fat. Ok so I have arthritis all over my body. But I walk anywhere between 3 to 5 miles every other day whether it be morning or night, whenever I can and I am using 15 and 20lb weights the other days and squeeze my Xtend Barre workouts in wherever I can. I have returned to work after 7 months so I have to schedule things, but I found that if you really want to do something then you will find a way. And that’s the thought that must be in your head. Determination is a gift that is seldom used. We get lazy or scared and hesitate to get started. After these 7 months I feel like a completely different person, one I always wanted to be. And I am here to say “Just get started!”
I have divulged the obstacles I was up against. You have your own obstacles that keep you from doing it. However, obstacles cannot stop us. We stop ourselves! Go around that damn thing, climb over it or better yet, knock it TF down. IF I CAN DO IT YOU CAN TOO! And I will support you anyway I can. Send me an email to: Contact@lifebegins50.com and write TRACY in the subject field. I'd love to hear from you and we can encourage each other!
You need to be happy with yourself. You need to appreciate yourself. YOU NEED TO ACCEPT YOURSELF for who you are as a person. At our age, we deserve that kind of self-love! It’s not about how skinny or pretty you think you aren’t. It’s about BEING HEALTHY & STRONG. It makes a huge difference. I have found that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Join me in my journey and I will join you in yours! .
A friend recently told me about an idea she had to create a website for all us fabulous gals over 50. She asked if I would like to be a part of the team and contribute to the creative content. This is how this page came about. I was both flattered and perplexed…what do I know about trends? I know enough to NOT call this column: “ON FLEEK” or “ON POINT”, as that would result in a lot of eye rolling and cringing from both my twenty something year old kids.
Instead, we can use this space to take a look at what’s current and trending in the world, be it fashion, lifestyle, home or social media and put our own unique spin on it. I would love to hear feedback from all of YOU; how you are interpreting what’s hot to put your best self forward. An idea from one person, can be the creative spark or “A HA MOMENT” for the next. That’s part of the fun – hearing about a new brand or item – and then making it work for your style and look.
September is one of my fav months – it signals the end of sweltering weather – and ushers in gorgeous, sunny days with crisp, cool nights. My birthday falls in September (who doesn’t want to be a princess for a day?), and with it the return of Football Sundays (not just for guys) and plenty of outdoor activities and adventures.
One of my go to looks is to pair my favorite jean shorts with a big yummy top or sweater. The trend is perfect for the cooler mornings and evenings, and still gives you the ability to beat the heat during the day. Everyone has their favorite pair of jean shorts: denim, white, ripped, high waist, you name it. Slip on a tank top as your base layer and then get creative: add a fleece hoodie, a cashmere sweater, or a funky flannel.
Playing with proportion – long sleeves with shorter bottoms, chunky sweaters with lighter summer dresses or skirts – allows you to mix and match what you have in your wardrobe with some new, funky and trendier pieces that are so hot right now.
I will hardly call myself a fashion guru, I have simply learned what I’m most comfortable in and that’s the key to trends. Don’t copy a look head to toe simply because it’s all the rage. If you’re super self-conscious about the choice, that is what will come across and it will never work.
Bottom line: have fun, don’t take things so seriously, and whatever you put on, wear it with a smile! That really is the secret to success!
I hope you'll follow me every month for more fun fashion ideas! 😊
My favorite past-times are reading and watching movies. While I won't reveal my age, I will say I have been doing it for many many years! ;)
I'm Irish and I'm feisty. And I love a good laugh as well as a good cry.... ;)
Karen also runs our Advice page... email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and write ASK KAREN in the subject field! You don't have to use your real name!
A life long traveler, I was lucky enough to turn my wanderlust into a career. My motto is not to accumulate things but make great memories instead. My kids taught me that they will barely remember the birthday gifts they received 10 years ago but will always remember that one amazing trip or shared moment with you.