Weight Loss Tips for Midlife Writers
It’s a well-known fact that writers have a sedentary life.
If we’re not sitting at the laptop typing, we’re hunched over a notebook pouring out our heart, soul and creative juices.
And that’s fine if we’re young, fit and/or sporty.
But once midlife encroaches, the story doesn’t have a happy ending.
Middle-age spread… poor food choices… caffeine binges… burning the midnight oil… and a lack of good quality breaks often result in the pounds creeping up around our midriff (and other unwanted places) and it’s so frustrating.
As a forty-something-year-old full-time writer/editor/publisher, who used to find it easy to keep the weight off, I’m suddenly trapped in a midlife mummy’s body I neither want nor will put up with.
Having become a freelancer in 2013, I’d gone from walking my children to school and back twice a day, and then pounding the corridors of a large hospital in search of files, mail, and clinic notes to the school run and then sitting at my desk for the next six hours quickly took its toll.
It’s little wonder, really, that those jeans started nipping in the wrong places… or I started having trust issues with my electronic scales.
The weight increase began frustrating me. I had no energy. I began to get bogged down with work and little else. I was grumpy, tired and not much fun to be around.
So I decided to do something about it.
The first thing was to start one of those slimming clubs with a couple of friends. I only wanted to lose half a stone but this dieting solution was the longest three months of my life. For someone who loves food to have to decrease my portions to a childlike size, I really struggled. Food occupied my every waking moment (and I think I dreamt about it too).
Anyhow, fast forward three months, I lost the half a stone (yay!) and then put it back on over the next six months. (no!)
That was a few years ago now, and while I’m still taking that same half a stone off and putting it back on again, it’s not getting any worse than that.
So now I’ve taken a different tack. I’ve come up with a plan that works for me. And this way of approaching my weight loss doesn’t actually feel like a chore, or that I’m doing myself a disservice.
Instead of wittering on about how much weight I’ve put on and still stuffing in the custard creams and cakes (#selfconfessedcakeaddict) I’ve switched my mindset and my actions. Here’s what I do now to keep the weight off.
Create a Healthy (and Realistic) Success Plan
We don’t just need to set daily writing goals if we’re midlife writers struggling with the pounds. We need to create an overall success plan that will help us eat better, move more and weigh less.
For example, it’s the 1st of May tomorrow so I’m going to create my monthly success plan. You see, I’m on a 12-week mission to lose half-a-stone. Half-a-pound a week may not sound like much but it stops me getting overwhelmed and thinking I’m a martyr if that’s my target.
Track My Daily Food Intake
Every little thing (the good and the bad) which is popped into my mouth is written down. This way, I can’t kid myself into thinking ‘I’ve been good’ when I split a pack of biscuits with my bad influence daughter after school and conveniently forget about the calorific event.
Record My Daily Water Intake
Instead of the endless cycle of making and drinking brew after brew while I work, I’m making a conscious effort to up my water levels. I fill my special drinks bottle (just like this one) first thing and make sure it’s empty by lunchtime, refilled and re-emptied by 6pm. Just a simple little switch really does work wonders.
Plan My Meals in Advance
As a writer, you’ll know and appreciate the importance of planning ahead. And the same goes for meal planning. If I just wing it then I know it will end in disaster. Reaching a point of being over-hungry means I’ll grab anything out of the fridge (usually a choccy biscuit or a biscuit yogurt that’s laden with sugar) or the cupboard (usually a bag of crisps). But if I know what I’m eating and when, I’m less likely to make bad choices.
Weigh in Once a Week
I’ve learned that weighing yourself more than once a week isn’t good for motivation levels, so I stick to the same day at the same time for my weigh in and I write down the result.
Up My Activity Levels
Firstly, I’ll aim to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. I know it sounds like you must have to spend your whole day walking but I promise you don’t.
To get my steps in, I try and get out before 8.30am for half an hour, the same again at lunchtime and each evening. With lots of running around the house doing chores, chasing the pet rabbits back into their hutch, walking the dog and pandering to my children’s needs (I’m joking – they’re 14 and 15, I make them accountable for their own 10,000 steps!) I can usually manage to reach my 10,000 step target without too much trouble.
If you’re taking your daily steps seriously and want to monitor your progress with ease then I’d definitely recommended getting a Fitbit.
I have a Fitbit Charge 2 (medium price range, I think) and it monitors my daily steps, my heart rate, my sleep patterns and it reminds me to move if I’ve been sitting (writing) for an hour. It’s very clever and easy to use. You simply download the app to your phone and sync them, then hey presto! Your activity (or inactivity) levels are monitored, you become much more aware of how sedentary your day has been, and you get a chance to do something about it before you hit the sack.
Additionally, I’ll throw a few exercise classes into the mix. Going to regular cardio exercise classes (HiiT, Spinning, and Legs, Bums & Tums are the main ones) don’t just do wonders for my activity levels, they are also beneficial for my mindset too. I’ve also joined (and completed) a Couch to 5K running group and if you’ve got the chance to join a local one, I’d highly recommend that. I’ve literally gone from not being able to run at all, to running 5k (not quickly, I must add, but still, I can run 5k and I’m very proud!). It’s done wonders for my mental health too.
As a writer, homeworker, freelancer, we often work in isolation and whilst I don’t mind my own company, I’ve come to realise over the past six years that I need to be around people too. Being a sociable person, I’ve missed the office banter, the giggles and the camaraderie, and if I don’t get my people fix then I tend to withdraw into myself. That’s not good ( I know the consequences).
I’m a much happier person if I can fit in an hour’s exercise class during the day; it also impacts on my energy levels and my output. So if you’re a midlife writer who needs an extra splurge of energy and feel-good hormones, then follow my lead.
If you’re in the throes of weight loss then don’t look on it as something that’s a chore or Mount Everest in terms of a mission, rather look at it as a series of little daily challenges you can easily make to your routine. Build it around your work schedule or your writing schedule. Make it fit around you and not the other way round.
And finally… drum roll time…
…if you know me, you’ll know I don’t do anything in half measures, and because I’m determined to lose weight and get fitter for my summer holidays, I’ve created a special planner to record and track every effort.
When my sister found out I’d created one, she asked for a copy too. So I thought, oh, what the heck. Let’s get it on Amazon. I hope it can help you too. Remember… what gets measured gets done.
12-week Weight Loss Planner – Your Secret Weapon to Help You Eat Better, Move More & Weigh Less.
It has room to record everything I’ve mentioned in this article (and more) and I’m hoping it’s going to be my secret weight loss weapon. If you’re a writer/homeworker who needs help, focus, direction and inspiration to lose a small amount of weight in just 12 weeks, then grab yourself a copy too.
Good luck! Let me know how you get on!
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