I am 53, 5’2″ 130 lbs, quit smoking January 30 this year, grew up athletically, haven’t done anything physical since I was 42, I am post menopausal and a former bulema-rexic.
I started working out with a trainer twice a week about 7 wks ago. I try to get in 4-5 workouts a wk; it doesn’t always happen. I do know how to eat right but due to past history, in my mind, I also “know how to lose weight,” but that isn’t by eating. I have started to eat breakfast and more times in a day than my mind wants me to. I do tend to eat when stressed and not the good food.
We took measurements when I started and after 4 weeks I lost 3 inches in the waist but nowhere else. I gained two lbs and lost 4% body fat. They tell me that’s good and then I see a congratulations to a gal that went from a size 8 to a 4 in 4 weeks.
I understand about metabolism but they tell me that it will take a year for my metabolism to work out the no nicotine in my system; which raised my metabolism. I don’t want to go back to smoking but I need something to help with my results. I have to see something to stay motivated and at this point I am about to give up. I love working out with a trainer; however, I can’t seem to do this on my off days without someone monitoring me. I give up too easily.
I am a working gal and don’t make much money and cannot afford another month of a personal trainer. If you know anything that will help, please let me know.
First of all, congrats on quitting smoking and not only wanting to make healthy changes, but doing something about it.
I don’t think I have ever mentioned it on this blog, but I was a bulimic for years. After going through recovery, I learned to love and take care of body instead of punishing it for the way I felt about myself inside. Through counseling, I discovered that I wanted to be painfully thin because I felt that if I had an outward sign that I was stronger than other people (being so thin it was obvious I didn’t need food like ‘normal’ people) they wouldn’t see that I was so weak on the inside, from personal experiences and circumstances. Counseling saved my life, literally, and is also how I got into fitness, and eventually training and writing.
I REALLY recommend that is you haven’t sought treatment for your ED, to do so. Even if you feel you are not actively engaging in disordered behaviors, it is important to understand where your disorder came from. It’s never about wanting to be thin, it’s always something deeper, and until you work through those feelings you will never really be free from it.
I can say from experience that our minds, recovered or not, do not work the same as people who have never had an eating disorder. Your comments on wanting to restrict to lose weight shows that you have the all or nothing mentality that we all have. ‘Why workout when I can just not eat?’ I still fight it to this day, but it does get easier. The trick is not giving into the voice telling you you’re not good enough, and eventually it will fade.
Your focus needs to be on getting your body healthy and running efficiently. This means you may have to undo the damage you have done to your metabolism, and learn to look at exercise and eating healthy as a positive thing, not a punishment for not being the size you want. Working out shouldn’t be a jail sentence, it is your chance to get to know your body, and take some time for yourself to make amends with your body. Your body will even itself out to a healthy weight, but for you, and your past, your focus should not be on losing weight just yet. Your hard work will pay off, but first you need to heal and love your body.
You also have to be realistic. Losing 3 inches and 4% body fat is ridiculously good. Losing the weight around your middle means you are burning pure fat, and lowering your heart disease risk. It is especially good for you because you have spent a great deal of time screwing with your metabolism- it’s amazing it let you see any results at all. You can’t compare your results to anyone else, because everyone is different. Just like people grow, age, and learn at different rates, we all respond to exercise differently. Don’t worry about those 2 pounds. I could get up right now, chug a bottle of water and come back 5 pounds heavier. Scales lie. Your weight fluctuates. After enough time you will notice it drop, but it may not be consistent, and it’s not an accurate indicator of progress.
Your motivation drops when you don’t see results because you are hitching it to something you have no control over. The only thing you have control over is how hard and often you work out and what and how much you eat. For most people, working towards a goal is their motivation to succeed, so each time they make a healthy choice they strengthen their motivation. You seem to let your results dictate your motivation level, which isn’t working, because even positive results cause you to lose motivation. The ‘results’ you want should be working out consistently and eating healthy. Each time you work out or eat right, you have succeeded, which will strengthen your motivation. Your goal for right now should be to become consistent, not drop X number of pounds.
Menopause will slow your results, especially since you haven’t been active for years. This isn’t to say that there is no point in working out, it just means that you probably aren’t going to get results as fast as you are used to, because your body is different now. You have to stick with your routine, especially now. After menopause, women lose bone density and muscle mass, which not only puts you are risk for injury and osteoporosis, but losing muscle mass will further slow your metabolism, and cause you to gain weight.
I don’t want to discount the people that are working with you, but I think they are confused. Yes, smoking raises your heart rate, but it only raises it 10-20 beats per minute, which is basically nothing. Smoking does, however, put extra stress on your heart, as well. A 20 cigarette a day habit is like carrying 90 extra pounds of body weight (read this for more info.) Generally, when people gain weight from quitting, it’s because they replace the oral fixation with food. There are ways to raise your metabolism, however, and none of them will give you cancer or ruin your lungs, heart, throat, breath, teeth, skin, etc. Eat clean, eat consistently, and build muscle.
You know there is room for improvement. You don’t always make your workouts and you stress eat. Even though your results are good, you know they would be better if you were consistent. You can’t be perfect all the time, but you have to make your body and your health a priority. You deserve it. For your health, your body, and your peace of mind, you have to stick it out. 6 months from now, if you work hard and give it a chance, you can be a happier, healthier, slimmer you, or you can give up, and 6 months from now you can be exactly where you are now, still fighting the same battle with yourself.
If you are ever thinking of giving up, just imagine what it would feel like to not ever have to worry about your weight again, to not ever have to feel embarassed or ashamed of the way you look, and to finally quiet that voice in your head that tells you that you are wasting your time. Imagine what it would be like to feel great everytime you look in the mirror and know that you did it all yourself, through hard work and realizing that you deserve to be happy.
Kelly Turner is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and health and fitness writer from Seattle, WA. To contact Kelly with any questions, you email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.