I visited a blog recently where a woman was writing about being in her 30s. I applaud that and enjoyed her style. But almost immediately something I read made me smile and shake my head. It was about counting calories.
I am here to tell you that is an activity that is way over at 50. And if it’s not, it should be.
This is not to judge my dear blogging sister. I toyed with my weight issues for many years and counted until my fingers were blue — calories, fat grams, points, pounds. But blessedly my 40s were a nice transition from that to my current state — thinner than I’ve been in ages and not counting a darned thing.
It’s a common sense formula — good food, reasonable portions, dessert in moderation, regular exercise. No magic. No pills. No diet. The very mention of the latter word makes me cock my head to the side and look at the person uttering it with an incredulous stare. Really?
The unspoken piece, of course, is if food is your addiction. You know, the thing you reach for when anxious, depressed or angry as a way to feel better. That’s a whole different kind of work on self that needs to be addressed. I learned from a therapist that every time I reach for something over-the-top when I’m not even hungry I should pause and ask myself why.
I scoffed at her suggestion at first. Who has that kind of control? But it was eventually pivotal in turning around my manic eating. One day over a decade ago, upset over a man, I reached for the Ben & Jerry’s in the market. Then I took her advice and thought about it for a moment. I walked out of there with a bouquet of flowers instead.
The urge only hits occasionally now and I’m pretty good at staving it off, but it took a lot of practice to make it a habit. I try to use it as the example for other challenges that come up in my life.
Here’s what I learned: Our society is weight-obsessed. We don’t have to be.
And, well, the cliche: One day at a time.