I thought I would put something out here to encourage people in my generation who have been on other weight loss programs and found some success only to bounce right back to where they began or then some.
But first - how did I get HERE?
Where it all started << This is me – Mother’s Day 2022. I’m a 55-year-old mother of 4 grown children. I gained weight with each pregnancy. I love them all to my core, but on some level I miss the athletic build from my 20’s.
The good the bad and the ugly –
I got a Morton’s neuroma in my foot after pregnancy #1 – which inhibited any running which was my exercise of choice. I lost a ton after #3 with ephedra…which is probably part of why we had #4!
After #4 was born and I was done nursing, I tried ephedra again. This time, I ended up in the hospital emergency room. It was BAD stuff and I’m glad it’s off the market. I was lucky. After baby #4 and gaining yet again, I was eating small portions, walking whenever I could, and I didn’t make fried foods or eat much red meat - it just wasn’t enough. Eating healthier was too expensive for our budget. Small portions and walking when I could was my only control.
NO time for self-care
As a busy mother of 4 and growing a freelance business, I just didn’t have time to take care of myself. I spread myself really thin. I needed a plan I didn’t have to think about that was easy to prep for me and still make a regular dinner for the family without a ton of extra prep. Open. Zap. Eat. Done! On to the next thing. And believe me they were ALWAYS on the move. Life at this stage was all about survival and nurturing kids.
Then as they got older and more involved in activities around town, I was chauffeuring them to and from and SITTING ALL THE TIME — in the car, at practice, on the way home. Watching and waiting, and I hated eating fast food because there was no time to make a decent dinner, so I packed healthy picnic dinners and I still gained weight.
I also love to cook, bake, experiment in the kitchen. It's somehow one of my love languages. I love the joy that food brings to family and friends on any occasion. My husband loves muffins and breads, the kids love cookies, and I like gingerbread houses and delivering apple pies in the fall and cookies at Christmas. It's FUN to be in the kitchen. Maybe it's my love language? Ultimately, while entrees were not fried or breaded, there was a lot of pasta to stretch the budget...and that wasn't so good either.
Mmmmm The Addictions
I needed caffeine to keep up with working nights and managing kids all day. I was a soda addict, too. I was drinking 6-8 cans a day. What can I say - I like cold things. I admit that when my teenage kids introduced me to frappuccino coffee. I guzzled those candy-bar coffees almost daily. I hated coffee my whole life until that point – give me a java chip frappuccino with two pumps of toffee nut and a caramel drizzle between activities and I was good for the entire day and well into the night with freelance projects. (ugh) who am I kidding? It was basically a chocolate milk shake with coffee and snickers ingredients. Soooo bad for me.
Plan B – Nutrisystem
We finally had a little extra in the budget so I tried Nutrisystem. It worked, until it didn’t. As the kids activities got more expensive I financially had to stop. The weight came back. At least I looked decent for a summer. I did quit drinking soda cold turkey…and didn’t experience any weight change. Frustrating!
I went back to work full time. The stress levels during the day continued to escalate over the years and finally giving me panic attacks. If I didn’t have time to work out before I definitely struggled through this season of life. The kids were gaining more independence so I had a little more time for myself and budget to continue Nutrisystem. I went back to drinking caffeinated soda non-stop-all day long. The stress plus a sedentary profession doesn’t help either…more gains around every corner. My arms were now growing wings! This was SO not good! Again, the Nutrisystem worked for a little while – the first 20# and then I was just burned out on the food choices. I could not swallow another mushroom risotto if my life depended on it.
Plan C - Hospital Supervision
I left my job after 3 kids were off to college and began caregiving for a family member who was going thru a pancreatic cancer journey. In the beginning there was plenty of time to take care of me, my aunt, and work part-time, so I decided to get serious again with more of a medical intervention. I tried the HMR Weight Loss Program with doctor supervision at our local hospital. I was finally making progress again! I absolutely loved it. The shakes were yummy and I had all the time I needed to walk for a few hours at a time - or ride my bike. It was wonderful.
I loved the HMR shakes. They were creamy and there was a lot I could do to modify for variety. The weight started dropping and I felt great. I finally had the gift of TIME. However, at a turning point in my aunt’s health, I had to stop the exercise routine and devote more time to caregiving.
Food was a comfort for her and for me as her health declined. Annnnnd, the weight creeped back on. After her passing, I tried again on my own without the meetings and weigh-ins. I followed the same regimen and it didn’t work…not one iota. I was peri-menopausal at this time and didn’t realize my hormones were working against me. It felt like an exercise in futility. So, I stopped – gave up - again.