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Getting Older - Better or Worse Than You'd Imagined?
Category: Happy Eating

How has your relationship with food changed as you've gotten older? How about your workouts? Your body image? Your weight/body comp? Is it what you've expected or were you surprised? I ask because I kept waiting for this horrible bulging, sagging, metabolic breakdown to happen when I turned 30, and then 35, and then 40. Well, there's been no age-related calamity. I'm in better shape now than...dare I say, ever?

It's not that nothing has changed. I do think my metabolism has slowed, not because I'm older but because the intensity and duration of my workouts is not what it was. I see that as a good thing! The intensity and duration of my workouts used to be borderline psychotic and it was causing things to break - bones, tendons, immune system, sanity. I feel much better training smarter and recovering properly, but the flip side is that I can't snarf down 3,000 calories per day the way I used to. I actually...have to watch what I eat!

That was one of my biggest fears about getting older, that I'd have to knock off the gluttony and eat right, that I wouldn't be able to get away with what I used to. That one totally happened, but again I see it as a good thing. I used to engage in some messed up eating. For example, I'm in the middle of 10 days off work right now and eating better and cleaner than I probably would have if I were working. A few years ago, vacation meant food-a-palooza. I would buy all manner of fattening crap, disregard all diet rules, and eat myself into oblivion. EVERY. FREAKING. TIME. I would undo my hard work, gain weight, gain inches, lose all my definition, feel like complete crap about it, have trouble pulling it together again, and spend months dieting and exercising to undo the damage. Then the next vacation would roll around and I would DO IT AGAIN. That honestly amazed me. It's like I was possessed. I think it was related to the combination of strict dieting and hard training. I deprived myself of so much and trained so hard that when I let go, I really let go. Learning to enjoy moderation has been one of the greatest benefits of getting older.

My weight is lower now than it was 10 years ago. I'm a little leaner and smaller. I found old BFL-era measurements and my thighs and butt used to be 2 1/2" bigger than they are now?! That previous combination of heavy lifting and frequent overeating meant I carried more muscle and more fat than I really wanted, unless I was in the midst of some screwball "challenge" when I would eat clean and track everything on a really OCD level. I'd gut it out for however many weeks, snap the pictures, take the measurements, and then spend the next few weeks eating everything in sight and undoing all the hard work. I don't miss that on or off, all or nothing mindset. Lately, I prefer consistency and moderation. If I wouldn't want to do something every day from now on, I don't start it. So, there are no more crazy diets, strict rules, authorized food lists, cheat days, and gaggy meal replacements. Phooey on all that. 

I also don't judge myself as harshly. That running negative dialog has been permanently switched off. Negativity can never make you happy. I used to think that if I just got frustrated enough, or disappointed enough, or hated myself enough, that it would prompt the physical changes I wanted. That is so not the way to go about it! I believed that if I accepted myself, I was accepting failure. Or at the very least fibbing on an epic level, because there was so much I wanted to change about myself. Well, you don't have to hate and verbally abuse yourself in order to change. Undermining my confidence all day long only set me back further.

Anyway, guess I'm feeling philosophical this morning!

How about you? Is getting older what you expected? How is your body/diet compared to younger years? What have you learned? I'd love to hear everybody's thoughts because I know there are lots of diet war veterans around here.

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