I’ve never been one of those
women who spends a lot of time worrying about her age. I didn’t freak out as my
30th birthday approached and I’ve never felt the desire to lie about
how old I am. For the most part, I’m happy about where I am in my life. And
there is definitely something to be said for how much more comfortable I feel
just being me the older I get.
But there is one aspect of being
in my 30s that I absolutely loathe, and it’s something I was definitely warned
about. I just never took those warnings seriously.
Until it happened to me. Until
my metabolism drastically dropped, seemingly out of nowhere.
I’d obviously heard women talking
about this before, about how entering their 30s had suddenly meant extra pounds
being packed on that were harder to lose. But to be honest, I also
always kind of assumed it was more laziness than metabolism that was affecting
them. Surely these women weren’t really trying. After all, how hard is it to
just eat healthy and exercise?
Well, it turns out, that part
is mostly doable … it’s just not always as effective as it once was.
I started putting on weight
last year in the summer, which was weird, because living in Alaska that’s when
I tend to be the most active. I spend my summers running, hiking and doing
just about anything that gets me outdoors. And while I have my vices when it
comes to food (I’m a sucker for sea salt and dark chocolate-covered almonds),
for the most part I eat pretty well. I eat lots of greens and fresh fruit, focus on
whole foods and have a calorie intake that is well within the recommendations for
my height and activity level.
Nothing about my life had
changed except for the number on the scale. So what the hell was going on?
While I’d love to be all 'rah-rah, body
positivity, love what you’ve got' about the whole thing, I don't know if I can be.
I tried to increase my workouts
and to pay even closer attention to what I was eating. I say “tried,” because
being a single mother does mean I have less time for workouts than I did in my
20s. But I was certainly making an effort. Only nothing was working. Not only
could I not get these extra pounds to come off, but I was also still gaining.
For the record, that's kind
of the most de-motivating thing ever. You try talking yourself into a salad and
a workout when that’s exactly what you’ve been doing for the last month, yet the
result has been more pounds, not less.
When that weight gain reached
10 pounds, I made an appointment with my doctor. Something was obviously wrong hormonally,
I assumed. So I figured she would take some blood, tell me what was
happening, and together we would come up with a solution.
That’s not what happened. I
mean, she did run the blood work, but everything came back normal. And after
talking to me for a while longer, my doctor got a sympathetic look on her face before
saying, “Look, you’re getting older. Your metabolism is just slowing down. This
is part of being in your 30s.”
It took everything in me not to
Unfortunately, I’ve come to
believe she was right. A year later, my weight gain has at least stopped at the
15-pound mark—I don’t seem to be putting on anything more, at least not right
now (knock on wood). But no matter what I try, I also can’t seem to rid myself
of those 15 pounds.
And I’m starting to become
resigned to it.
In my 20s, if I was partying
too hard and realized I had put on weight as a result, it was easy enough to
focus on healthy living for a month or two and get back to where I wanted to
be. Now, in my 30s, I hardly ever drink and I live and eat FAR healthier than I
ever did back then. My lifestyle actually changed for the good.
But it doesn’t seem to matter,
because I’m bigger now than I ever was back then.
I’m not sure I’m ever going to
get back down to where I was. And while I’d love to be all “rah-rah, body
positivity, love what you’ve got” about the whole thing, I don't know if I can be.
I don't like this new normal or the threat that it could potentially
happen again. I don't like that my metabolism could plummet once more just because I’m
Add in the increased facial hair (What. The. Hell.) and adult acne (because, of course), and I'm starting to really believe that old adage about youth being wasted on the young. Because I definitely had no idea how good I had it back when achieving a tight body and perfect skin was as easy as taking a few days off drinking and hitting up the beach for a run.
There are a lot of things I
love about my 30s, and being a mother tops that list. But this? This body
of mine refusing to follow all the rules it has in the past? It's starting to
piss me off.
I’m trying to focus on healthy
and strong rather than numbers and pants sizes. But the truth is, I’m a bit
bitter about this reality of my 30s.