Friday, January 07, 2011

Growing old and staying thin

We all know by now that as we age it gets easier to put on pounds and harder to lose them. This is why I sometimes stare in wonder at thin women in their 60's and above. I think, "How does she do it? If our metabolism drops to zero when we get older, how is it that everyone over the age of 50 isn't a roly poly ball with arms and legs?"

I think I might know part of the secret now: poor digestion. As we get older, our digestive system isn't as strong and we can't eat the way we used to without paying a higher price. And oh, it can be a VERY high price.

This was the first December of my 44-and-a-half-year-old life that I didn't dive into every cookie tray and chocolate assortment with abandon. This was the first Christmas season that I attended a festive, food-centered party without eating one thing the whole night. How was I able to do these incredible things? I did them with a stomach that caused me extreme pain every damn time I over did it. That night that I didn't eat anything, I arrived at the party with a stomach ache left over from the weekend. I spent entire days in December feeling miserable with digestive distress.

But as awful as it was to pass up all those goodies that I only see once a year, the one positive thing is that I did not put on the pounds. I came out of New Year's Day at the same weight that I went into Thanksgiving. Incredible.

I suppose I should say, "Thanks, weak miserable digestive system. You saved me a lot of heartache and having to lose the same pounds all over again." But it's hard to feel appreciative of a stomach that no longer accepts dairy products without pain, tends to complain about wheat products and processed food in general, and doesn't let me sleep easily if I've eaten past about 8:30 at night.

I sometimes stare down the dim corridor of the rest of my life and wonder if I really have to finish it without any more cheese sandwiches or double-crust pies. It's best if I don't think about it and just focus on how peacefully my stomach goes about its business if I only ask it to digest protein and vegetables.


Sandii said...

lbs or no lbs, looking down the barrell of old age without my favourite foods scares the hell out of me!

Mick said...

Maybe what you say is part true but I think older people in general are thinner because they have been more physically active throughout their life.

Back in the day, people didn't have cars, TV remote control, automatic washing machines, pc's, dishwashers, escalators, lifts, etc.
I certainly know through my working life my job went from something like 90% physical to about 10%.

Some people deal with it by joining the gym, aking up sports or dieting but many don't which is causing the overweight epidemic of today.

Regina said...

Mick, even if people had more physically active lives in the past, that doesn't explain how they manage to keep their weight down in the present, when they DO have cars, remote control, escalators, etc. Yes, more physical activity was part of why our parents weren't as chubby as we are, but the cultures (U.S. and England) have changed so that now everyone gets fat, no matter what age they are. That's why I'm amazed when I see someone who's thin.

Well, it's not as bad in your country yet, but I hear you're gaining on us.

Sandii said...

not everyone is fat - some people, no matter what they eat are thin, they are genetically built that way, i have a friend who is rake thin, she eats more than i do - exercises lightly but her mother and sister, both chubby, both weight watchers. it's genes partly that's for sure!

Regina said...

Okay, the statistic is that two thirds of Americans are fat. Two thirds! It sure seems like it's everyone.

Obesio said...

How much do you work out?

Regina said...

Hi, Obesio! How are you? What does working out have to do with it?