Growing Older: The Flab and Wrinkles that Go Along With It

I can just hear some of you snickering at the title of this blog. Go ahead and snicker. I know some of you are snickering but others are nodding their heads. Growing older is a hard enough thing to accept as it is. Unfortunately, part of getting older can sometimes include the difficulty of losing weight and keeping it off. It’s aggravating. It’s frustrating. Be that as it may, I try to look at it in a humorous way, if for no other reason than to keep myself from pulling my hair out!

Fat or flab, there’s no nice way to say it. Okay, maybe the word cellulite would be less offensive, but that’s not what it really is and I prefer to call a spade a spade. You know what it is. 

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It’s that stuff that hangs over the front of your jeans, the sides of your jeans, and that stuff you try to stuff INTO your jeans. Or maybe you’ve already given up wearing jeans entirely! Now THAT is definitely a sign that things are getting out of hand when you’ve eliminated jeans from your wardrobe and replaced them all with sweat pants. If you’re still in denial, just take all your clothes off and stand in front of a full length mirror and jump up and down. THERE! All that stuff is what I’m talking about!

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No, I’m not going to tell you to love your bodies just the way they are. The only people I’ve ever heard say that are the ones that don’t have any fat or flab (yet). The rest of us know that we have to either accept what we have or to do something about it. We certainly don’t have to love it. I’m not that senile yet!

Some women, aging or not, that have fat, flab or ‘muffin tops’ (it’s even got an official name now), accept it by (1) attempting to hide it by wearing baggier clothes that actually make them look larger than they are, (2) adopt a ‘I don’t give a damn what you think of me’ attitude or (3) claim their new style of sweats as ‘the casual look’ that they find more comfortable.

Okay, I admit it, I’ve been in every one of those categories and I admit that I catch myself still visiting one or two of those categories. Unfortunately, since I live alone, it’s very easy to fall back on my ‘whatever is easiest’ way, because I’m not accountable to anyone but me. I think that it’s true of anyone that lives alone about any topic, not just weight, but cleaning, organizing and everything else. If no one else sees it or you have no one you feel accountable to, its very easy to adopt a ‘ who cares anyway’ attitude. Been there and done that too. I have to remind myself every single day that I AM accountable to someone important, I’m accountable to ME.

So no, I can’t say that I LOVE my body. But I can say that I’ve learned some things that I wasn’t aware of before that have helped me keep in the best shape I possibly can. What happened was that I became aware a few years ago that I tend to lose and gain at least 15 pounds a year as the seasons change. I don’t like cold weather, so I don’t get as much exercise in the winter months plus I tend to cook, eat and snack more out of boredom in the winter months without even realizing I’m doing it. When it warms up in spring, I’m outside working in my yard every minute I can be. So, not only am I burning more calories, but I’m too busy to cook, eat or snack as much or as often.

A year ago last spring, in less than two months I lost 25 pounds and now, a year later, the weight is still off. I didn’t do it by dieting or exercising ‘intentionally’, honestly I didn’t. I just happened to notice one day a couple of months after the weather had warmed up and I was able to get outside and work in my yard, that my gym shorts were practically falling off me. I got on my scales and was amazed that I had dropped that much weight in such a short amount of time. I looked back through the whole previous six months and tried to figure out how I had accomplished it without even trying.

I have to say that ‘dieting’ in my mind implies intentionally going on a diet. I didn’t do that. ‘Exercising’ implies doing it intentionally. I didn’t do that either, at least not intentionally. I just did the routine work around my house outdoors that needed done anyway that just happened to burn calories at the same time. Specifically it was pulling weeds (which requires bending, stooping and pulling), digging new flower beds (which requires using your arm and back muscles) and hauling wheel barrows full of soil and mulch. Also, because I was keeping busy every day outside, I didn’t have time to be bored. Because I was busy, I didn’t have time to snack. Because I was burning calories and wasn’t snacking as much nor as often, I lost weight. And because I lost the weight, I started paying more attention to the foods I brought in the house. Because I started buying fewer snacks and more healthier foods, I not only lost more inches and weight, I got healthier too. It sounds so simple now that I’m pretty surprised that it took me so long to figure it out. We are the result of what we eat and do. DUH!

Speaking of burning calories, since I can’t seem to wrap my brain around doing exercise for exercise’s sake, I also changed the way I do regular routine household chores indoors differently too. I live in a three story house; finished basement, main floor and an upstairs. Since I end up having to go up and down stairs about 4-6 times a day anyway just in my normal routine, when I use the stairs, I try to remember to RUN up or down them as quickly as I can which burns twice as many calories than walking up them does.

Also when I’m sitting in my recliner or lying on the sofa watching tv, I rotate my ankles, bend my knees and raise my legs over and over. Granted, I would probably never remember to do it if I didn’t keep a Post It note on the side of the end table beside my chair reminding me to. These might sound like too insignificant things to even bother with, but you would be surprised the amount of calories you can burn every day just by doing things in a little bit different way.

But its not just about burning calories. Grocery shopping is another important part of losing weight and keeping it off. Did I mention that there is nothing that I hate to do more than shopping? So changing my shopping habits was pretty hard at first. I was used to running in and grabbing the same old things I always had in the past, because it was faster and easier. Well, guess what? It takes the same amount of time to go in and grab healthier foods as it does to grab unhealthy foods. Duh!

I knew it was important for me to pay closer attention to what I brought into the house. Because if it’s in the house, of course I’m going to eat it. I quit buying pasta, bread products and ice cream. This was AFTER I had already lost the weight. Those became foods I would only allow myself to eat when I went out to a restaurant or on a very, very rare occasion like my once a month delivery pizza.

Lucky for me that I don’t eat out very often! Eliminating those foods in particular from my grocery cart, was the biggest eliminator of calories and carbs that I’m convinced kept the weight off. I try to keep plenty of fruit and yogurt in the house and the occasional ‘cheat’ snack I allowed myself, crackers with peanut butter and honey in them, or the occasional bag of gummy worms! The peanut butter crackers at least have some protein in them.

I think its important to have at least one kind of treat in your house because when you feel like you’re denying yourself something, sooner or later, you’re going to rebel and go back to your old habits. At least I always did. So what works for me, is knowing I can have a treat anytime I want to, I just have to make healthier choices in what treats to bring into the house.

WRINKLES: Now there’s an interesting topic that we all try to forget about but can’t. How do you talk about wrinkles without talking about all the anti-aging products on the market? Keep in mind that I’m not an expert or scientist, nor have I studied or participated in any anti-aging research groups. I can only speak from my own experience.

As a woman who has lived with very dry skin for at least a couple of decades now, I can assure you that I’ve tried many anti-aging products on the market from a variety of big name brand companies. I even became a Sales Representative last year for a company whose largest and most popular lines were anti-aging products (but that’s another story for another time). I bet I have over $200. worth of anti-aging products in my makeup drawer right this minute. How many do you have in yours? Don’t you wish you had your money back for all those products that didn’t do what they claimed they would?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell a bit of difference in my skin except maybe while the product was laying on top of my skin. Even then it was barely noticeable, and regular generic moisturizers from the grocery store did the same thing. I could not in all honesty sell those products and work for a company that I believed was a total rip-off.

But anti-aging products are everywhere these days and they’re not cheap either. Advertising claims run the gamut from preventing and diminishing wrinkles to TOTALLY obliterating them in anywhere from 10 minutes to just 30 days. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if one could obliterate wrinkles in 10 minutes, no one would have any, right? Every human being on the earth over 30 years of age would stop what they’re doing right this second to jump in their cars to go buy it all up! Just think how young everyone on the planet could look by just the end of this week, Folks! Yeah, right. 🙂

It’s just my opinion, and worth about as much as you paid for it, but the miracle cure for totally preventing wrinkles or eliminating them entirely, apparently doesn’t come in a jar or tube, it requires procedures and surgeries, re-procedures and re-surgeries, and lots and lots of money. My point is, that all this hype about anti-aging products only puts even more focus on the outer signs of aging that we’re already well aware of, instead of helping us accept that fact that getting older is going to happen to all of us sooner or later. You just wait, your turn is just around the corner!

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About Becki P

I think I've had the creativity bug all my life. Like my mother did, I love the challenge and satisfaction of making something out of nothing. I have a variety of interests and hobbies that include landscaping, writing, sewing, quilting and more recently, designing handbags and patterns for them.
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2 Responses to Growing Older: The Flab and Wrinkles that Go Along With It

  1. Cindy says:

    After my divorce back in 2006 I had to work two jobs to keep up with the bills and keep a roof over our head. I was so busy working both jobs, keeping up with the house work inside and out and worrying about my sons, that I didn’t even notice the weight coming off. It just hit me one day that I had lost 40 pounds and none of my clothes fit me anymore. Flash forward to present day. We found out my husband had cancer back in October. It is now January and I have put on 20 pounds in these last 3 months. All I can say about that is comfort food and chocolate go hand and hand with me while my husband is fighting cancer and the surgeries, etc. Uswually my weight stays pretty steady, but life changing events seems to make my weight go up or down… So back to exercising and watching what I eat. I’ve decided once John is finished with his radiation, we both are going to be the healthiest 50ish couples we can be! Did I mention we both quit smoking! (Another reason I put on those 20 pounds)… Wish us luck! I’m going to use your advice Becki!

    • Becki Pavlik says:

      Hi Cindy,
      My prayers continue every day for you and your husband! A part of me wants to tell you that what you eat right now is the last thing you should be worrying about, but actually what you and your husband are eating now and ESPECIALLY what you eat in the future is extremely important. It’s a proven fact that our diets (and the preservatives found in most of our foods) play a huge factor, not only in putting one in a higher risk category for cancer if you don’t already have it, but also affects how the bodies of those who already have it, respond to chemotherapy treatment. Cancer cells feed off any form of sugar. Sugar was one of the first things my husband’s doctors removed from his diet, followed by any and ALL processed foods such as lunch meats from the deli. Most of us assume if its sold in a grocery store, its okay to eat it, right? WRONG!
      I hate to admit it, but I’d never bothered reading labels on foods before until my husband was first diagnosed with cancer in 2008. How I wish I could have known back then what I learned after the fact. As you know, he passed away in Nov 2011 after a long battle with colon cancer. There were two main contributing factors. Cancer ran in his family, so that put him in a high risk for it to begin with. The second contributing factor was his diet. He worked the same job for several decades and there was a little deli nearby where everyone in his office went for lunch ever day. He got the same thing every single day. A lunchmeat sandwich piled high with processed meats. He loved hotdogs and brats and ate them often too. These are just a few examples of the majority of his daily diet for several decades. His surgeon, who is still one of the most prestigious authorities on colon cancer, told me that my husband’s family medical history might have been the first thing to put him at high risk, but it was his diet and the preservatives in his food, that sealed his fate.
      So yes what you, your husband and your family eat, is very important! Please start reading every single label of every single food or drink product you bring into your house! You’ll be shocked at just how many of them contain harmful preservatives. 😦

      Hugs,
      Becki

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