gettinginshapeGetting In Shape Is HARD In Midlife – Part 2

Getting and staying in shape is a challenge for anyone and certainly for those of us in the second half of life.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that I wrote Part 1 of this almost a year ago, about my own personal experiences of getting in shape. It’s here at: It’s Hard To Get In Shape – EVERY Time!

In this Part 2, I focus on some of the blocks/concerns to getting back in shape in midlife.

Here are some of the “hot spot” issues after forty:

1. You’ve become more sedentary: Most likely we’re not as active as we used to be.  Even if we go to the gym, that’s just not enough!  We’ve got to move our bodies throughout the day.  Living in Los Angeles, I’m certainly guilty of driving when I could be walking and parking as close as I can to my destination.  We need to move more!

2. Loss of muscle mass: As we age, the tendency is for muscle mass to diminish.  Not only does that slow down our metabolism (muscle mass burns more calories than fat), it leaves us flabby and feeling bad about that.  “Use it or lose it” applies here.  We CAN reverse this tendency successfully.

3. Lack of accurate or updated information: Anyone who’s telling you that you’re too old to lose weight is either projecting their lack of weight loss success on you or is offering you information that’s simply untrue. They may be sharing with you (or you’re believing yourself) information that’s outdated or simply inaccurate.

4. Stress: In the second half of life, most of us aren’t as carefree as in our younger years. We have  financial responsibilities, family obligations, perhaps we’re even caring for an aging parent.  Stress floods our body with hormones and chemicals that encourage fat storage (particularly cortisol, which supports storing fat around our middle). Our sleep is impacted by stress which also impacts our effort to lose weight. When we wake up groggy and fatigued after a sleepless night, we may look for immediate energy using caffeine and sugar.  We may self-medicate using food.  Stress MUST be managed!

5. Habits have more time to be ingrained: While habits may seem hard to break, habits lasting DECADES may seem even harder. Some of our daily lifestyle habits have definitely contributed to our current weight and health.  Anyone have that morning coffee and muffin?  Or an afternoon “pick me up” drink and snack?  Fast food junkies, anyone?  Be patient, yet start to make small changes.

6. Hanging onto story/belief: This is a big part of the work I do with my counseling clients.  We explore their beliefs and the “stories” they tell themselves, many being told and retold since childhood.  “I’m just big boned!” “We have fat genes in our family.”  “It’s too hard.”  “Everyone in my family gained weight after having kids or after 40.”  The PAST doesn’t have to equal the FUTURE!  Lose the story and lose the weight!

Staying in shape doesn’t have to be about ego and vanity.  To live the best life possible, we MUST take care of our bodies as well as our minds, hearts and souls. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.


Adam Sheck