FITNESS at 50: we come in all shapes and sizes

I was speaking with one of my mentors. She is a retired politician and one of the most beautiful women I know. She is in her late 70’s, has the body of a ballerina, kind brown eyes, a quick friendly smile and beautiful glowing skin. She also wears clothing in a way that looks effortlessly glamorous.

We had an opportunity to discuss her success and I asked her if she thought her style had an impact?

She squeezed my hand and said, “Yes of course. But I am no more attractive than anyone else. People come in all shapes and sizes and everyone is beautiful.”

Those weren’t just words. Her timeless beauty stems from a fundamental belief that everyone is beautiful, no matter their size, shape, clothing or features. Because she only sees beauty, she is beautiful.

Anyone can be beautiful like my mentor, right now. It doesn’t take a diet, a blowout or a shopping spree. Just begin to see and reflect the beauty in others and your beauty will shine through.

Fitness at 50 – healthy vs “heroin chic”

My relationship with food was fundamentally flawed. With naturally chubby cheeks and a body type that was described as “healthy” by my best friend’s mother (it wasn’t a compliment) I was a far cry from the desired “heroin chic” style that my generation coveted. I vividly remember using pliers to zip up my Levi hand-me-down jeans vowing not to eat another bite until I lost 10 lbs.

I begged my mom to take me to a weight loss clinic. I don’t know where my mom found the money, but there we were, in the back room of a weight loss franchise. The sales woman asked me to stand in front of a full length mirror. She cupped my shoulders and said, we can lose 2 inches, look how narrow you will look. My mom scrunched up her face and asked, “Aren’t those her bones? How would you make her bones smaller?”

When the sales woman looked confused, my mom dragged me out of the “clinic.” Later, my dad laughed at the story and said that there was only one trick to being thin. He said, “If you aren’t hungry, you are gaining weight.”

I believed him and lived on a low calorie diet for the next 27 years. I dieted my way up to 160 lbs. I didn’t know what to do. I was eating so little and gaining a muffin top that grew bigger every year. Shopping for clothing became a mission to find any clothing that hid my flaws under the spanx.

Then, I read Lyn-Genet’s The Plan. The short version is that certain foods cause inflammation. Lyn-Genet explained that when a body is inflamed, it holds onto weight. But here’s the kicker. Everyone is different so only you can find out what foods cause inflammation in your body. Her book describes how to test foods to build your custom plan.

It made so much sense. If all I ate in a day was a slice of pizza and a salad with no dressing, the scale would go up. (That’s only 1000 calories and I would burn 500 at the gym). It was frustrating and until I found Lynn-Genet, it was inexplicable.

Lyn-Genet is a nutritionist who noticed that her clients reacted very differently to her meal plans. Rather than assume that they were cheating, she realized that what’s healthy for one person, might make another gain weight.

I did the plan 4 years ago and lost 20 lbs. My devil foods are corn, salt, cumin and any artificial ingredient. I lose & gain five pounds on a regular basis, but as long as I pay attention to my body’s reaction to food and avoid those things that trigger weight gain, I can eat as much as I want. I still look healthy, but the same size jeans that made me look big in high school, make me look good at 50.

Dating at 50 – writing a profile

Reflecting …

I hadn’t dated in 23 years and had no idea what to expect. My girlfriends convinced me that online dating was the best option. During my 6 month pause I read, “121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!)” by Wendy Newman. Her stories gave me the courage to give online dating a try and not take each date too seriously.

Still, the thought of making my profile available to the public was terrifying. I pictured all of my co-workers gathered around a phone laughing at me. Worse, I worried how uncomfortable I would be if I received unwelcome advances from a co-worker, friend or neighbor. I was scared that I would meet a serial killer. I was worried that no one would want me. Being vulnerable and rejected online was nerve wracking.

I paid Bumble for a premium feature that gave me visibility to the men who had already swiped right on my profile. I decided only to look at men who liked me first to save some of the stress of being rejected.

Writing my profile was harder than I thought. I tried to write something clever but they all made me sound like I was trying too hard. Instead, I described what I was looking for and shared basic facts about myself. I held my breath and began my online dating experience.

Seeking a LTR (friends first) with a kind, generous man who can make me laugh. Bonus points if you like the arts and can do more push-ups than me.

Me: 5’5″, 135 lbs, 2 grown children who live in LA.

Please no drugs or smoking. I only date in Colorado.

Dating at 50 – pre-game

Reflecting back.

I was alone. I had started a construction project and was sitting on my stripped plywood floor. Living in that moment was stark, but felt clean and new. I was at the end of my self-imposed 6 month break from men and about to begin my search for my soulmate. If he existed, I planned to find him.

I’d read that if you want to find the man of your dreams, you have to be very specific about what you want. I sharpened my pencil and wrote:

Dear Universe,

I spent my life raising a family and working hard at my career. I am happy with my life but I have one wish. Please help me find my soulmate. He is handsome, clever, mentally and physically fit, kind and very generous. I will love him exactly the way he is and he will love me exactly as I am.

Thank you.

I lit a candle and meditated as it burned. With closed eyes I concentrated on my wish, making sure that I knew exactly who I was looking for. After ten minutes, I reached for my phone and downloaded Bumble.

Bucket List: Back country skiing

Who says that you have to be lift dependent in Colorado?

After 14 months of dating a back country ski enthusiast, I agreed to join B on the mountain.

I will admit that I was terrified. I hadn’t skied in 11 years and was always very cautious (ie snail slow) when resort skiing.

On Saturday afternoon we sat in traffic on I-70 for just over an hour, before pulling into a small parking lot next to a dozen other cars.  Since there are no lifts, you must walk up the mountain to ski down.

B was smiling ear to ear as we pointed our skiis up the mountain.  (He put “skins” on the bottom of my skiis so they wouldn’t slide down while I was trying hard to climb up) The first steps were awkward, but B kept reminding me to glide vs march up the hill. I was out of breath in the steep spots and still having a blast.  How often do you get a killer workout outside in a secluded snowy winter haven?

After about an hour, we turned around and skied back to the car. I used my pizza skiing technique and B stopped every 50 yards to patiently wait for me. My reward at the bottom of the hill was a big smile, a forehead kiss and the words, “I am so proud of you.”

Then B said, “Next time we’ll ski to a hut and stay overnight.”

I asked, “Do huts have indoor plumbing?”

B answered, “No.” He tried not to laugh at the look on my face.

Ewe … outhouses are not on my bucket list, but never say never.

Mutton Bust’in at Denver Broncos v Chargers

What???

Twas the last game of the season …

Denver had nothing to lose and didn’t seem to try very hard. The game featured eight turnovers and a stadium wave that lasted ten minutes.

Then, something I never dreamed exhisted happened during the halftime show.

A five year old wearing a helmet climbed on the back of a 50 lb sheep who took off like a rocket sending the child flying helmet first into the grass. And then another child climbed on a sheep and it happened again. And again.

No child or animal or cheerleader was injured. Phew! I laughed uncomfortably. It was too cute for words, but seemed horrifically out of place in this world where we seem to bubble wrap our children.

Wasn’t on my bucket list, but I checked the box anyway.

MOCA – Los Angeles

I try to visit Modern Art Museums when traveling. MOCA did not disappoint.

Manny Farber’s “One Day at a Time – Termite Art” exhibit was intense. It’s called termite art because the subject matter conveys the artists journey through ordinary objects displaying deep attention to details while eating its own boundaries.

I had a hard time with the violence woven into his paintings. That said, art is about evoking emotion.

“Honeymoon Killers” even by name is cringe worthy. Bliss and terror are juxtaposed in a single canvas. Once seen, you can’t unsee.