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.