Girl School for Grownups

Like having a big sister, but better because I can't boss you around!

Unwelcome tenants, an update

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I’m losing weight. Yay! Just as gaining weight was no mystery, neither is losing a few pounds. Here’s what’s working for me:

  1. Increased moderate activity. I have a fitbit. My personal goal is 15,000 steps a day, and my high goal is 20,000 steps. As I was gaining weight, my steps were about half that. Not everyone can or should have the same goal as I do. There are medical conditions that make activity difficult. If I worked in an office, I’m not sure that my goal would be possible. But as I’ve committed to hitting 15K every day, there’s more ease in my clothes. I have a friend who’s an accountant, which is a pretty sedentary job. He averages 22K steps per day, and regularly kicks my ass in the fitbit race. How does he do this? He walks most mornings before work, sometimes leaving his house at 4:30 to get his long walks in. I’m both impressed and infuriated by his consistency and dedication. (Mark, if you’re reading this, I’m gunning for you!)
  2. A little more mindfulness when it comes to food. Like I said, I’m an emotional eater. And the foods that soothe my aching heart the best are full of sugar and fat, maybe with a touch of salt to bring out the sweetness. Easing back on these kinds of indulgences is helping.
  3. Increased high-level activity. I belong to OrangeTheory Fitness and I love what they do. If you’re not familiar with OrangeTheory, it’s a workout where you wear a heart rate monitor to track in real time the intensity of effort as you do a 1 hour treadmill/rowing machine/weight training workout. I joined before they opened in Roseville in April. I was not using my membership much when the pounds were coming on. Now I’ve recommitted to twice a week workouts there. Thank goodness I have a hot tub!
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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and aging, part 2

Grim news. Maslow’s hierarchy has been discredited and out of favor for decades. Decades! And nobody thought to tell me! But his flawed framework will continue to be used as we continue on with aging. Just don’t base anything important, like a term paper or a master’s thesis on it.

Ok so once you have the great attitude in place, what’s next? To my way of thinking the next two things are these: finding and maintaining a good weight and excellent skin care.

Let’s talk about weight first. (crickets silence) It’s tough to write about weight, especially because as an emotional eater, my weight fluctuates by about 10 pounds and right now I’m at the top of my weight range. Neverthless, finding and maintaining a good weight “reads” younger than lots of unnecessary pounds. Please know though that “good weight” does not = “perfect weight” or “unattainable weight.” Because I like odd numbers and the idea of being super thin is appealing, for years I thought my ideal weight would be 123 or 127 pounds. (Yes there are more odd numbers to be found, but those seemed right.) (Full disclosure: in my mind, my perfect weight is 113 or 117. I weighed in that range when I was 14 years old.) Grrrrr — the point here isn’t to get bogged down by THE NUMBER but to find a weight that you can maintain with relative ease and then stay there, or thereabouts.

Going way up and way down in weight is bad for your body, bad for your skin, and bad for your soul. Remember The Zone diet? I’ve rarely been as bitchy as when I tried to do it. Bitchy is not a word that describes what I’m after. ūüôā

Moving on to skin care. Good skin reads healthy reads youthful. For good skin:

  • Don’t tan.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Buy the best quality skincare products you can afford and use them.
  • Wash your face. (But we’ve already talked about that!)

I was a teen in the 70s and this was the time of lemon juice in the hair and baby oil on the skin. But I got lucky because try as I might, I could never get good at laying out in the sun. I found it boring and uncomfortable. In my 20s and 30s I would hit the tanning salon before vacation but not on a regular basis. I now know that your history shows up in your skin. Young readers, please oh please oh please wear sunscreen and don’t use tanning beds!¬†Your skin will thank you for it, I promise.

Smoking. Yes, I was a smoker. I smoked off and on from age 19 to 25. Quitting smoking was incredibly difficult. But I’m so glad I did. Smoking not only robs the skin on your face of vital oxygen, and dumps a whole bunch of free radicals onto you, it also hijacks your money. Just say no. Just say no. Just say no.

As far as skincare, make sure you use sunscreen every day (good lord this is the most boring thing I’ve ever written!), and use both moisturizer and eye cream at night. Most skin care systems also want you to buy¬†toner which I think is an attempt to get you to spend more money. Save your money and buy a Revlon facial brush and use it with your cleanser.

If you have good skin and maintain a consistent weight, everything else is so much easier. Clothes look better. You’ll need less makeup and application will be faster and easier. In part 3, which will be more interesting, we will talk about makeup and fashion.

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Bad tenants

It’s getting cold here in California and today I grabbed a pair of black cargo pants that I consider my party pants because they’re roomy enough to feel like sweats. At least that’s how they used to feel. Today I was grateful they buttoned at all, and as I sit here both my waist and my thighs feel like sausage. I’ve known I was gaining weight. The scale tells me. I can feel it in my body when I cross my legs. You know how when you frost a cake, you dip the spatula in the frosting and then spread it everywhere it should go? Yeah, that’s me right now.

How the pounds have arrived is no mystery. I invited them with Doritos and Twizzlers and frosting and sadness and naps. Now it feels like I have bad tenants who won’t leave. Because I’m ready to be lean RIGHT NOW, and yet the extra weight is STILL HERE!¬†(In case you are a specifics and numbers person like my husband, we’re talking about 10 pounds or so. You’re welcome.)

The good news is that I know how to evict my crappy tenants. They hate vegetables and protein. They can’t stand long hilly walks and running and yoga. They think water tastes like nothing at all. (No wait, that’s me. But I drink it anyway.) And want to know the best news of all? The number on the scale means absolutely nothing, unless I decide I want to take up boxing or wrestling.

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And now for some housekeeping. From the heart, thank you to everyone who has subscribed to my blog. I try to write as though nobody will read the words, and yet knowing that you’ll read the words is what makes it possible to write. If you like what you see here, would you consider sharing my writing on Facebook? Later this month I’ll be doing a drawing for a prize — an actual prize! All subscribers will be entered into the drawing, and those who have shared the blog will receive an additional¬†entry. Have an amazing day!

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