Friday, July 8, 2011

In which you can lose weight quickly after 40

When I rejoined Weight Watchers last fall, I had one big concern:

Will I be able to lose weight as quickly as I had before?

From April 2002 to September 2003, I lost 124 lbs on Weight Watchers. I started at age 31.5 and reached Lifetime on my 33rd birthday. I was married and had a full-time job, no children yet, aka, I had money and time. And I was 100% focused on following the program and exercise.

If it took me 1.5 years eight years ago, how long would it take me now, at age 40?

After having 3 children in 4.5 years, would my body even remember how to lose weight?

Could I jump start my metabolism?

Is it going to take forever?

And these questions were all outside of all the kid-, time-, energy-related concerns.

My friend Becca, a fellow Lifetimer returning to Goal weight, posted her progress vs. her progress of several years ago. It got me thinking of doing the same thing, especially since I had all my old weigh-in booklets and info.

I finally got around to it and the results are very interesting.

I'm losing weight faster at 40 than I did at 31/32.

See for yourself, the blue line is my 2002-2003 losses (the chart says 2004, but that is a typo), the red is my current progress (2010-today), both through 44 weeks.

So, what's different now?

1. Points Plus. If you notice, the two lines really start to widen around Week 10. The Points+ program rolled out on Week 13 and I switched over after Week 15. Up until then I was eating very carb-heavy. I just wanted to stay within my Points, I didn't care about the mix of carb vs. protein, etc. When I felt comfortable with the idea of moving to Points+ three weeks later, it got me to eat more protein, fruits and veg as snacks and fewer carbs in general.

I know 2002-2003 I ate a very carb-heavy diet, at least moreso than now. So I believe the lean protein/F&V focus on Points+ really has made my metabolism more efficient and promotes more fat burning and muscle building through better-balanced eating.

2. Bootcamp. In 2002-2003 I did little strength training. I hated traditional free-weight workouts (still do) and could not motivate myself to get it done (still can't). So from April 2002 on my main exercises were walking, running (starting February 2003) and water aerobics (spring 2003). All great workouts, but all cardio - not big muscle-builders like interval training at bootcamp.

Because bootcamp is different every class, my body doesn't fall into that rut of doing the same-old, same-old. Just like eating the same things over and over (easy for me to do), I think the same exercise over and over is a case of diminishing returns. You have to shake it up. I'm shaking it up with bootcamp (I started in April) and it's paying off.

Other interesting observations:

  • My losing pattern is still the same. My small-loss, small-loss, big-loss pattern is very similar to that of 2002-2003. Once a month I would drop 3 or 4 lbs in one week, still do that today.

  • I had a long plateau in the 180s. Funny, I don't remember this at all. But according to the stats, I was stuck in the 180s for 13(!) weeks. I didn't have any major fall-off-the-wagon phases in 2002-2003, so I can't remember why the hell that was such a torturous period.

    And here I was recently griping about spending 1 month in the 180s. Yikes.

    You always hear that it's harder to lose weight the older you get. But this goes to show you with consistent dedication, balanced eating and exercise you can do it at any age!
  • No comments:

    Post a Comment