Healthy Living Isn’t Enough

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Healthy Living Isn’t Enough

I didn’t like what I saw, I knew I wouldn’t. When I started on this quest to be healthier, I threw out the scale, literally. I turned my head at the doctor’s office. I really didn’t want to know. I had made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t worry about my weight. I would just worry about being as healthy as I could.

Over these past two plus years, I have made so many changes. I eat eight or more servings of fruits and veggies daily. I gave up Coke Zero and eat a lot less junk and fast food. I work out more consistently running, walking, and using weights. I buy organic whenever I can and have green juice or a smoothie every single day. I put lemon in my water and cinnamon in my decaf. I stretch and take my vitamins. I have eliminated almost all of the dairy and gluten from my diet. Oh, and I drink so much water, all of it filtered, of course.

I’m glad I’ve made these changes. I feel better. I have more energy. I ran a half marathon, for heaven’s sake. It hasn’t all been for nothing. Still with all these positive changes, I didn’t feel like I was loosing weight. My jeans were a bit tighter, so I bought a new scale, stepped on, and learned that after two plus years of healthy living I had actually gained weight. I’m pretty sure it’s not muscle weight. Frustrating.

I know I’m “older.” I know it’s harder for us “older” ladies to drop weight. I get that. I don’t really have a lot of weight to loose. In the grand scheme of things, if I stayed this weight for the rest of my life I would be fine. Really, I would. It’s just that I don’t want to be fine, I want to power into the second half of my life fit and energetic. I have stuff to do.

As all these thoughts swirled in my head, I realized that if I wanted to really get fit I’d have to stop playing around. Being healthy is great and good and I need to commend myself for all the hard work I’ve done over the past couple of years. But being fit, really fit? That obviously was going to take a whole other level of commitment.

I’ve read a plethora of books on health, diet, and fitness. I’ve spent way too much time trolling fitness sites. I’ve experimented. I had to admit that in spite of my efforts, I was missing something. I needed help. So, when a former work colleague, Mary Weaver, offered an online program titled Take Off Twenty Pounds, I decided to give it a try. She promised to offer tips specifically for the over forty set, a group of which I’m a part.

I had confidence that if anyone could cut through the clutter, it was Mary. Back in the day, when I was a punky college kid eating Krispy Kremes and drinking Coke like it was water, Mary was hitting the gym and tweaking her diet as she prepared for fitness competitions. Over the years, while I was having babies and praying for a decent nights sleep, Mary was earning certifications and coaching others to achieve the fitness results she had achieved.

As I worked through her materials, I learned that many of the changes I had made were spot on. According to Mary, for the most part, I was on the right track. As I further contemplated my situation; however,  in light of what Mary was teaching me, I finally came to a sad, sad conclusion.

If I feel anxious, I eat a handful of baby carrots. Whenever I’m stressed out, it’s almonds. If I want to avoid that stack of paperwork, I’ll have a sliced apple and nut butter instead.  Whenever I’m feeling a little sad or blue, a banana will ease my pain. If I’m irritated, aggravated, frustrated, then grapes will make it better. I had no choice but to admit the truth of the matter which is I’m eating my feelings.

According to Mary, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie and even though the calories I’m consuming come mostly from good healthy choices, at the end of the day, it’s just too many. So while I’ve been amping up my energy and bathing my cells in antioxidants, I’ve also been packing on pounds that I just don’t need. Sigh.

Having to admit this sucks, but the only way we can fix ANY problem is to open up our mouths and say what’s wrong, what’s bothering us, and what needs to be fixed…OUT loud. Sure, I could be coy and cute. I could blame my hormones or lack of sleep and some people would buy it hook, line, and sinker.  I could put on a billowy dress and sashay around the room and tell jokes to prevent people from counting my rolls of chub, but masking and distracting doesn’t make the problem go away.

If I learned anything in the past two years it’s this: ignore a problem and it’s just gets bigger (like my tush). Call a problem out, draw attention to it, and eventually people will stop ignoring and doing something to make it go away. Evil only grows and lurks in dark corners, shine a light on evil and it will wither and die.

The good news is that thanks to Mary’s program and a little soul searching on my part, I’m choosing to shine the light on the real problem: emotional eating. In the meantime, I’ll continue to eat healthy and work out and drink lots of water. I’ll implement of few additional weight loss strategies Mary suggests. Mostly, the next time I want to shove down my feelings by eating them, I’ll shine a the light on them  instead. I know the drill and  I’m not afraid.

Check out what I’ve affectionally dubbed Mary’s Chub-O-Meter for a sobering wake-up call. It’s a calculator developed by the US Navy to determine your lean to fat body mass. 



  1. Denise, I’m blown away. You didn’t just make my day—you made my month. I am so so happy to hear that the program helped you, and I love what you say about having the courage to look the situation in the eye and deal with *what is.*

    I also have to say that I love calling the body-fat calculator a chub-o-meter. I’m definitely stealing that term. 🙂

    Wishing you ALL the best.


    • I just wish you had put out this program three years ago! It would have saved me hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours of my time that I invested buying and reading fitness and health books. You just cut through the clutter and gave me the best of the best to work with. Thank you!

  2. I’m right there with you, Denise. We’re both going to rock our bikinis this summer! 😉

  3. Oh, you speak my language, girl!! I feel like I’ve lost the same five pounds over and over and over! Grrrr!! I know I’ve put on weight since menopause 17 years ago… my metabolism is in the toilet. So is my desire to get off my squishy ass and do anything about it. But I’m working at it! I’m determined not to be a chubby mother of the bride. Determined. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Mary says it’s all about little changes that add up to big transformations. We have to baby step our way there without driving ourselves and everyone else crazy. I’m looking for a lifestyle not the diet d’ jour. Know you are not alone.

  4. I haven’t looked at a scale since I gave up that darn paleo diet, but my jeans are fitting too snug for the first time in nearly 20 years. And it’s darn hard to do anything about it after 50 I’m finding. Let me know how it goes… I need to do something before the problem gets worse! I don’t want to continue on an upward trend.

  5. Denise, your honesty is inspiring. Thanks for the wake-up call to evaluate what I’m eating and “why.” (Mostly why.) You shine a bright (but loving) light.

  6. I could have written this. It is also my story. I eat really well, and have also been putting in the lbs! I wish I could write my thoughts as well as you!!!!

  7. Denise, I love your honesty here, and I love how you found a solution with Mary’s help. I think so many people get caught up in the “healthy, organic” world, but there’s so much more to being healthy and feeling good about ones self. Very inspiring indeed!

  8. Well as usual you hit the nail on the head. I am afraid, but I will check out Mary’s site. I eat for many reasons, rarely for hunger. Thanks again for your honesty.


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