a cautionary tale
Please note that this series was written in 2014 before I understood that the reason I couldn't lose weight and why I had gained was because I had become insulin resistant. The eat less/move more theory of weight loss which I was applying here worked well enough when I was younger but by the time I was well into my 40's it had disastrous results. I can see in retrospect that my eating that included lots of sweeteners like maple syrup, fruit smoothies, and eating more than 3 times a day was the worst thing I could do for my insulin resistance. Plus, the calorie restriction damaged my metabolism, slowed my thyroid function down, and ended up causing me to regain all the weight I lost.
I keep this series published as a cautionary tale to you and a reminder to myself that over exercising in order to lose weight does not work. Since then I've adopted a low-carb high-fat ketogenic way of eating along with intermittent fasting to control my weight and heal my insulin resistance and metabolism. I now exercise to stay functionally younger and strong. If you recognize yourself in this story and you've also lost your confidence in your ability to control your weight in midlife start here.
I also keep the series published to honor my journey that's representative of that of so many of us; that we each have to find our own way in midlife, recognize that the things that used to work for us in our 20's and 30's often no longer do in midlife. We need to stay open to trying new things and start pursuing a long-term strategy for health & wellness in midlife that makes us feel nourished, happy, and thriving. If you'd like more, please join the list and you'll get the Guide To Thrive as your free gift.
About three months ago, I was stepping down into the shower, a place that has quite an echo, and heard a distinctive crunching noise coming from my right kneecap. It made me want to crawl out of my skin. In a moment of warped perspective, I silently hoped that the crunch was the result of an injury and not the worst culprit of all: aging.
Like all things that make me uncomfortable, I first wanted to know – is it just me? A quick post on Facebook yielded a plethora of comments whose advice could be split into one of two philosophies:
- Welcome to your 40's and the insults of aging
- It's NOT normal, there are proactive ways to minimize & reverse wear & tear.
I felt like I should do something about my crunchy knee, but I first had to decide what philosophical camp I belonged to.
mid-life requires a new philosophy
I asked myself: How do I approach and have a relationship with this body for the second half of my life? Do I age as I saw my grandparents aging? My parents? Then kismet intervened when a girlfriend sent me a book that she had recommended that I read. It's called Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge M.D.
I just finished it yesterday. The authors speak about how the advancements in medicine now conclude that the vast majority of aging as we know it can not only be prevented but reversed. I'm intrigued. I didn't mind at all that it's a book written for retirement-age men.
This book reflects the new science & philosophy behind aging and fitness. It's a philosophy that says you can ‘stave off 70% of the normal decay associated with aging (weakness, sore joints, apathy), and…eliminate over 50% of all illness and potential injuries.' This isn't wishful thinking, this is science.
If you don't want to live with crunchy knees or see your health and vitality go down the toilet over the next 50 years; pick up a copy & do this with me. Perhaps your philosophy will shift, too.
I will tell you that this will require a lot of effort and dedication, but that's the beauty of this book. It wins you over because it explains how our bodies were meant to work in nature-and why modern living is causing so many supposed age-related problems, that are actually a function of sending our bodies signals to decay, not grow.
let's do this
I think this philosophy is the zeitgeist of the times and I'm willing to bet it will be another way that my generation will maverick our way into aging just as we have been doing all along. We are a generation that grew up without computers, yet had to learn how to use them after formal schooling was finished. I grew up in a time when it was cool to smoke. That changed, too. We were raised on rock n'roll, and became the first to embrace rap and hip-hop music. My generation came of age in the 80's – a time of wild financial extremes. All that ended – the dot.com bust, 911, and the financial meltdown.
We are so going to rock this aging thing; too.
the science behind slowing down the aging process
I think the Cross-Fit craze is proof of the greater desire not to settle for shitty aging. Who wants to break down when you can feel great until well into your 80's? It's a fitness prescription based on science and how were MADE to live in our physical bodies.
The authors have also written a version of their book for women called Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 and Beyond. I didn't read this version, and I don't really think it matters which copy you pick up; the core message is essentially the same. Plus, if you read the men's version, you might get your boyfriend, husband, brother to actually read it.
So that's my biggest goal for the coming year. Much broader in scope than losing 10 pounds, I'm going to commit to Dr. Lodge's rules. I'll post about the good, the bad, and the ugly along the way, and hopefully somewhere along the way this next year I might start to feel & become functionally younger. The first update is here if you'd like to follow along. The experiment is to discover whether I can break free of the self-imposed old philosophy of aging that I didn't even realize that I had incarcerated myself in.
p.s. Let's connect and inspire over on Instagram with daily check-ins. You can find me @thriveinmidlife