“Do I have a big butt or a dumper?” This is the ridiculous question I once posed to my husband when I was concerned that my self-esteem was higher than the loft of my buttocks. Why on earth would someone actually utter such a question? I’ll take you back to help make sense of the situation.
I was always an incredibly skinny kid. My nickname was “La Flaca” (the skinny girl) or “Rossana la Gusana” (Rossana the Worm) as I was rail thin despite my insatiable appetite. I was always the child who asked for seconds yet my never-ending level of energy kept me in a constant caloric deficit. All the way through my twenties, I was a carefree, bottomless pit and it was glorious! I was rail thin with a bubble butt and not a care in the world! By my early thirties I learned what I needed to do to maintain my physique, and I love vigorous exercise and vegetables, so it was an easy program to maintain. After my first child I bounced back with abs within a year and felt invincible. However, after baby #2 it was a whole different story.
Isn’t this such a common tail for us ladies? Even for those of us who chose not to have children, it’s this 4th decade that sends us all in a tailspin. Bodily functions that once worked beautifully, like our metabolisms and eyesight, have suddenly gone on hiatus and yet society still demands we remain thin, tight, and just like before.
I’d just like to go on the record as saying that society can kiss my dumper. Seriously, the unrealistic demands and expectations placed on our shoulders are absolutely ridiculous! How on earth can we be expected to maintain the physique of a 25 year old when Leonardo Dicaprio is walking around with a “dad bod” and a 19 year old girlfriend?! How is this fair?!
I had maintained the same physique for a solid four years and this was while completing “2-a-days” at the gym and eating a mostly Whole 30 diet (except for my wine, of course). Nothing changed. Not a thing! However, I wasn’t upset about it. I had accepted my size and still felt quite beautiful and athletic. I was accomplishing all my goals in fitness and had more than enough energy for my children and family. So why the need to change?
Was it the need to reign the side effects from my Hashimoto’s Syndrome? No. Was it a desire to lower my freakishly high cholesterol? No. Was it the aches and pains I’d been feeling in my knees and ankles from the additional weight? No. So, what was it that in fact started this journey? It was a photo of my dumper from behind while frolicking in a bathing suit among a number of skinny women. Even a woman with my level of self-love couldn’t fight off the dent to my personal vanity with this one. I was ready to make a change.
Over the past six months I’ve lost 17lbs, 2 inches off my thighs and 4 inches off my waist. I’ve created lasting habits with my diet and exercise programs and have had a full paradigm shift in my approach to food. I’ve learned a great deal along the way and would like to share these nuggets of wisdom with you now.
You don’t have to be afraid to see a doctor for assistance!
I’ve never, ever been a fan of quick weight loss programs. I feel the fast results prevent you from learning any lasting habits so it’s no surprise that people gain weight back immediately when they go off program. However, as a woman in my 40s with Hashimoto’s Syndrome, I essentially have no metabolism. I was killing myself with 1-2 hours of extremely rigorous exercise five times a week with zero change. So, I researched long and hard and found a weight loss specialist that provided supplements to help boost my metabolism without giving me the jitters or sending me running for the toilet. I was determined to make a true change this time and am so glad I sought out help. If you’d like additional info, feel free to message me for his info but just know that I did NOT take Ozempic and this program will require you to pull your weight if you want results.
The scale is a stupid hoe and is not to be trusted.
Our bodies are alive and always changing and we need to embrace this! If we only judge our progress based on the weight we were back when the Spice Girls were actually girls then we will never be satisfied. When I began this journey I was losing 4-6lbs per month. Over the past 6 weeks I’ve lost only 1lb but my body composition has changed so much that I’m down a pant size! Muscle weighs five times more than fat so make sure you take measurements and try on those jeans in the back of your closet that you used to frolic in at da club!
There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to health and fitness.
We are all so completely different and unique as individuals and need to keep that in mind when landing on a health and wellness program. While I’m always happy to learn from others I know that what works for me is not necessarily a prescription for my friends. We live in a society where women in their 20s are fitness influencers and feel entitled to tell my middle-aged self how to be “skinny”. Those girls can still consume cheese fries and have no idea what cellulite looks like! This brings me to my next point…
Body composition is not a tell when it comes to true health.
I’m in my early 40s and though I’ve lost weight I still have plenty of real parts in my size M/8/10 body. However, I’m able to perform in the gym like I did 15 years ago and man, it’s such a self-esteem boost! We make it a point to bring our daughter to the gym with us on Saturdays so she can see that exercise is something to work on throughout your entire life. Our gym family is amazing and people from all stages of life are represented to set this example.
There’s no way I was giving up wine!
As a woman with a food blog and a past life as a sommelier, this was nonnegotiable. Food is something I daydream about and a day without a glass of liquid poetry is a sad one for me. When I met with the weight loss specialist, he expressed that if he put me into a program that felt like a “diet” then I was doomed to fail. This statement gave me so much relief! We determined that I needed to give up the habit of eating every single time I felt hungry. Instead, he asked me to be sure to eat three filling and nutritious meals a day and to minimize any snacks to a piece of fruit. We also decided that since my cholesterol was horrifying I should consume fish once a day and cut back on red meat. He said, “If you feel hungry but you know you’ve eaten a nutritious meal and will eat 1-2 more in the day then you aren’t starving yourself, you’re just hungry.” While this statement may seem like a no-brainer to many of you it truly changed my life! I’d developed a habit of over-snacking throughout the day which prevented my body from taking the time to digest my previous meal. I had been under the impression that I needed to deny myself carbs, sugar and alcohol to lose weight when all I needed to do was create true moderation in my daily routine. If you want to lose weight quickly then go ahead and restrict yourself. However, if you want to make a change for life you need to take your time.
Get an accountability buddy!
We all need a cheerleader in our lives and for me it was my husband. I never dragged him into the deep details of what I was doing but he’d humor me while I told him all about it. It makes a difference when you know someone is rooting for you so find someone to help you stay motivated and accountable.
Once you reach your goal you need to decide if this is “for life” or if it was just “for now”.
Every weight loss journey comes to a certain point where you need to switch gears and begin a maintenance plan or you become the lady who lost all that weight and then found it again. I’ve found this to be extremely true with people who are losing weight with an event in mind. It gives you a cut-off point and that can be dangerous. When we get into a program it needs to be for our health with a larger picture in mind. There’s a much more relaxed approach when you’re working on your life and not for a date. It also removes the idea of “cheat days” because you’re allowed to live your life and enjoy that cookie when health is your actual lifestyle!
We aren’t supposed to have the exact same silhouette our entire lives.
I can’t speak for men but I know that every decade of a woman’s life bring a whole new bag of variables. At age 20 you realize you may need to make a little effort in the gym and possibly move down from a Venti to a Grande Frappuccino. At 30 your metabolism laughs in your face and you start using eye cream. At 40 your hormones take you for a wild ride, everything hurts and now you need readers. At 50 you’re sweating all the damn time and have started gaining weird weight in your belly. It goes on and on and the lesson here is that our bodies are constantly changing so we need to have grace with how we treat ourselves. Your perceptions of “fit” or “healthy” should change as you age to account for your body’s changing needs. Also, make sure you drink some water and get a good night cream.
Change-up your workout routine.
If you’ve been doing the same thing for a while and haven’t seen any results, get out there and try something else! I know a lot of us have the misconception that cardio helps you lose weight but it’s weight training that burns fat and improves bone density. Be sure to create a good mix of activity so you don’t overwork any one muscular group while keeping things interesting.
I could go on and on about this whole experience because it’s truly changed my life. My body is stronger and I’m able to recover faster during and after exercise. I can fit into my old clothes again and can’t believe how amazing it is to not rely on Spanx every day. My children have noticed and are excited for me. My husband is proud and inspired. I feel like I’m adding years to my life and am toasting to my health with a big glass of wine every night!