As I have re-started my efforts to be healthy yet again, I thought it would be a good time to write a post about how things have changed with my body now that I’m in my mid 30s. It’s a warning to those of you in your 20’s, perhaps a friendly reminder you’re not alone to those of you in your 30’s, and a fond look back for those of you older than your 30s.
In the age of amazing technology, I, like many other people I know, have a digital scale that tracks my weight and body fat. This is how I know exactly when things changed. I had maintained a really decent 140-145 (yes, that’s true), for a couple years. Even when I was in Malaysia and not exercising like I was used to, I weighed around 145. Then in March of 2015 during my training for the death ride, that’s when it all changed.
In Malaysia (pretty damn skinny!)
My weight started to creep up. It was 147, then 149, then over 150. What the hell? I was riding my bike 60+ miles in one day, up massive hills! I convinced myself it was just muscle because muscle weighs more than fat. Right. That had to be it. I peaked at 155 in August of 2015, right after the death ride. I barely fit into my bridesmaid dress. I had to have it taken out and wear spanx in order to fit. I still looked like a stuffed sausage at my sister’s wedding. I felt really bad about that. 😦 It was then I decided that just biking wasn’t enough. I downloaded My Fitness Pal and started going to circuit training classes at Linkedin.
Training for the death ride
Over the next 2 months, I lost almost 8lbs, down to 147. Thank goodness because I wanted to fit into my ski clothes for Antarctica. I looked great and felt great during that trip. I could keep up with the cardio (climbing up mountains) and fit into my clothes. Once I got back, apparently I fell off the horse again. By January I was back to 153.
Throughout most of Q1, I was somewhere between 153 and 155. I wasn’t biking anymore, but I was making an effort to go to circuit training classes 2-3 times a week and be active on the weekends. Then in May, I got sick. For those of you who remember, I may have licked my phone because chocolate dripped on it. NEVER lick your phone. EVER. I was sick for 6 weeks and that is when I stopped working out.
When I finally recovered in June, Carolyn and I decided to start running together twice a week. I also continued to go to my workout classes twice a week. It was hard to maintain as we added more and more mileage, but by August I started to see a small downward trend on the scale. That trend continued for the remainder of the year as my running continued, reaching my lowest weight in 2 years in November of 2016; 147! Of course, by then I had stopped going to the workout classes and stopped running.
Very quickly I gained back all the weight I lost. Back up to 155 by January. Really though, that’s a no brainer. If you’re aren’t working out and you’re drinking and eating a lot, what do you think is going to happen?? Luckily I started training for my half marathon in January, so I was hoping my weight would go back down and I would have more energy. In April, I weighed around 152. I also decided to cut down drinking so much and stop eating so much sugar (not that I really do that, but sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, all I want is a piece of chocolate!)
I started doing circuit training again and committed to working out three times a week in mid April. I was maintaining 152, so I was feeling pretty good. Then I had a minor health thing come up and had to stop exercising for 2 weeks. LAME! At the same time, I started a new job and wasn’t in the area. I’m not really sure I did anything in May. I may have worked out once. Though I did hike Yosemite falls.. 🙂
I peaked at my highest weight on May 29th; 155.6, so I decided to follow in the footsteps of one of my good friends. She committed back in January to work out six times a week. She looks amazing and she’s a fucking inspiration. So starting June 1st, I signed up at a local studio (they do Barre, Yoga, TRX, and Circuit training). By the way, Barre is incredibly hard. You should try it sometime. I’ve been going to classes three times a week and my amazing husband helped me get all my old Jillian Michaels DVDs on a thumb drive, so I can do those on my “off days”.
I put the classes and workouts on my calendar. It gives me motivation to go. On the days when I’m really sore, I continue to push through the pain, because guess what, being healthy isn’t easy, it’s a commitment. It’s only been 2 weeks, but I am feeling better. Slowly. I have more energy and my body doesn’t feel as jiggly as it used to. I have a long way to go, but I’m hoping this time it sticks. Brian and I are eating healthy. We both don’t drink as much. We should really hold ourselves more accountable for that extra drink or that froyo, but you know what? Life is short. It’s ok to indulge on occasion.
I’ve also realized that I’m never going to look like I did when I was in my 20s. I’m just not, and that’s ok. Actually, it’s better than ok, it’s great. I should celebrate how I look when I’m healthy. My goal weight used to be 140. That’s what I weighed after I got divorced and wasn’t eating. That’s not reasonable. You know what else it’s reasonable? The scale. Clothes sizes. So what, I’m a size 10. I still have that pair of size 6 skinny jeans my sister gave me back in 2014. I’m never going to fit into those again. If I fit into any jeans and I feel good about myself, that’s what matters. But I have to have reasonable expectations. Finding those reasonable expectations is the hardest part. I have to guess because I really don’t know what they should be.
Things change in your mid 30s. Your metabolism just isn’t as fast as it once was. Accepting that and finding a balance is the goal. What kind of body will I be comfortable with that is actually attainable without having to give up things I really like? I could give up carbs, cheese, chocolate, and booze, but what’s the point? Moderation is key. I can’t have cheese every night if I want my thigh size to decrease. I can’t have chocolate every day if I want my arms to stop waving back. I definitely can’t have a glass of wine every night if I want to sleep well and not have my buttons pop on my jeans.
Here’s the scale measurements
I took my measurements on June 1st. I’m willing to post them here so that when I update in early July we can see if my commitment to myself is actually paying off.
Arms: R: 11 3/4, L: 11 3/4, Chest: 37, Waist: 30.5, Hips: 41, Hips: R: 24.5, L 24. Weight: 155
The one thing I’ve learned, cardio alone isn’t good enough. Strength training for me is a must. It’s not optional. Besides, who doesn’t want Michelle Obama arms? 🙂
This journey is ongoing and I’m sure my metabolism has a LOT in store for me in the coming years, but I refuse to give up. I will find a balance. Something that makes me feel good but isn’t overwhelming and not sustainable. Oh yes!