If you watched the news last night, you probably saw a story on how difficult it is for middle-aged women to lose weight. I was at my volunteer gig at Alderson FPC, so didn't see the broadcast, but here's the AP story.
While they are very careful not to say it's impossible, they point out just how much daily activity – one hour, every day – is necessary just to maintain a normal weight. In order to lose, the unspoken suggestion is to increase that activity even more and, of course, reduce calories.
The average age of the 34,000-plus women in the study was 54. They self-reported their activity level and weight; diet was not part of the study.
So. Anyone who's been watching my struggle, or struggling along with me, knows I fit right into the profile. Do the results of this study provide any comfort? Not. At. All.
In a way, I feel like a 16-year-old with a brand-new driver's license – no matter how fast I drive or what the weather conditions are or who calls on my cell phone – all those risks don't apply to me. I'm invincible, I can endure, I can even conquer because I'm me.
In another way, though, I feel completely defeated. If the goal of a daily hour of exercise is to lose weight, and a study shows that it won't help, then why bother?
There are, of course, other, better reasons to exercise. Daily activity is good for your heart, and weight-bearing exercise, such as the kind of walking I do, is excellent for maintaining bone density.
Diet certainly plays a role, and mine is, I believe, fairly healthy and at a level which should promote weight loss. But here's one of those knock-me-over-with-a-feather moments: Clearly, clearly I need to eat even less. And move even more. Because what I've been doing Just. Doesn't. Work.
I'm not sure I'm willing to go there. It's a lot to think about, and I already think about it all the time anyway.
No brilliant wrap-up today. Just – ahem – food for thought.