Tag Archives: Writer

Middle Age: Embrace It


As my 49th birthday looms, I am proud to say I embrace each birthday! My weight loss journey has shown me who I can be and being a happy “middle-aged” woman is who I am! I’m thankful to be a mom, wife, runner, and writer as I continue my Down the Scale life!

“So, is it a big birthday?”

“They’re all big birthdays now.”

That was my response to someone asking about my upcoming birthday.  I said it with a laugh because even though for the past ten years I’ve joked that all my birthdays are big, I embrace each one.  Yes, even the big 49 this year. The last year of my 40s. The last birthday before the big 5-0. When you’ve spent most of your adult life as an obese, unhealthy person, you don’t take for granted the birthdays that come along, no matter what the number.

As kids, I think most of us thought that our 40s were when we would be really old. We would be ancient.  My 40s came and I didn’t think that at all! Even before my weight loss surgery when I was 44, I still felt young.  It could have been the my children I was running after or the frequent trips to Disney World, but I didn’t feel old. At least my mind didn’t feel that way, but my body did.  It was hard to keep up with my family and friends when I was 100 pounds heavier.

My world opened up after I lost weight, both physically and mentally.  I’m a runner now. I love walking instead of just sitting around. With each birthday, I become stronger physically.  I tried ice skating again after a 20 year gap. At age 47 I ran my first half-marathon! And at age 49 I’m training for my second.  These actions were never part of my plans for when I grew old.

The physical changes as I age are amazing, but I think it’s my outlook on life that surprises me the most.  I remember being so scared when I graduated from college. I had no clue what I was going to do with my life besides move across the country to San Francisco.  I look back now and see how brave I was, but I felt insecure and unsure of myself for most of my 20s.

I was starting to get braver in my 30s after marriage and eventually children.  When you become a parent, you have no choice but to buckle up and get things done.  For some of us, that strength comes at a price. I put my mental and physically health on the back burner just trying to get through the day, then the week, then the years.  

My 40s were my renewal. My mid-forties were my rebirth.   A cross-country move and the resulting personal issues took their toll.  I was almost 300 pounds at age 43. It took an honest friend and my ever-supportive husband to help me realize I needed to change and more importantly, that I could change.  As a middle-aged woman, I began my weight loss journey which turned out to be a journey about physical and mental health to my surprise.

So here I am looking forward to 49!  I feel like I’m coming into my own person again.  It could be that I have more time now that my children are getting older.  Seeing them grow into independent people is exciting although they still seem to need me to find where they put their clean socks. With their increasing independence, it’s giving my husband and I more time together. While mom will always be an important role, I’m relearning that there are other parts of who I am that can share the space.

This includes spending more time with my hubby that doesn’t alway involve the children or are child-centric activities.  As our children grow and spend more time with their friends, we can spend time with our friends or by ourselves. I think we’ve gone out more in our late 40s than we did in our early 30s.  We joke with the kids that we’re they’re in college, we’re downsizing to a tiny house and they’ll have to camp in the yard when they visit. We all laugh about it, but it’s really only 8 years away…and we’ll be a very young 57 when that happens!

And I’m using my new independence to define “what I do for a living.”  My 20s became the start of a fun and interesting career in the retail industry.  I went from being an administrative assistant to a buyer to a project manager running an e-commerce website until I “retired” when I had my babies and became a stay-at-home mom.  My late 40s have been me trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. It wasn’t until last year that I finally started calling myself a writer. I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years now, but I was still insecure about calling myself a writer.  And when I started working on my novel, I still didn’t say I was a writer. It took my ever-supportive husband drilling it into my head that if I didn’t believe I was a writer, no one else would. So here I am, calling myself a writer.

And this writer is telling you that getting old is not as scary as you might think.  Sure I have more wrinkles and more and more gray hairs seem to sprout up, but I will gladly take them.  Every decade is full of challenges and struggles, but now I can see that each problem, each disappointment, got me to where I am today.  I don’t believe in regret; not worth the time or effort in my humble opinion. There will always be some difficulty in life, but how I deal with it and move on from it makes all the difference.  

So this almost 49-year-old mom, wife, friend, family member, runner, and writer is proud of her age.  As trite as it sounds, growing old is a gift, especially if you do it as a healthy person. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished over the years, but more importantly I look forward to the upcoming decades as I continue my journey Down the Scale…


Engaging My Core

How could I not be engaged with these people? The ups and downs of my weight loss journey reminds me to remember what is really important: making your life a priority. For me, spending more time with my family is my top priority!

“Remember to engage your core.”

I hear these words for an hour twice a week now that I workout with my trainer, H.  Dedicating two hours a week to exercising with the guidance of a trainer is helping me improve my physical health, but focusing on my physical core made me think about my core in a mental sense.  What I mean is that for my body to work better, I need to engage my core to support the rest of my body no matter what exercise I’m doing.  It’s also my mental core that needs engaging as well these days.

The past few weeks I felt unfocused, like I was going through the motions of life, but not really feeling it.  I have all these goals in my head, but I wasn’t working toward any of them.  Sure, I’ve been eating better and exercising more, but I still didn’t feel fulfilled.  It wasn’t until my training session last Thursday when H. reminded me to engage my core muscles that it hit me.  I’m not engaged in anything.

Now, I’m not saying I’ve just ignored my family, friends, and my life in general during here last few weeks, but I haven’t felt involved.  Besides the goals of being healthy I have other goals, but I haven’t made them important.  If I don’t make my goals a priority, how will I accomplish them?  Unless there’s a magic wand somewhere that I don’t know about, I need to work toward my goals instead of talking about them.

The first step in the new engagement of my core, i.e. my life,  is to stop talking about them and start doing them.  Here’s how I’m beginning to be more active in my life goals:

*Being confident in my physical self is a must, no matter what happens.  As I mentioned in my last blog, I do feel stronger and more confidant in my athletic abilities, but I took a step, well, a run back, two weeks ago.  I was doing fast laps around the YMCA and my first one went great.  The second set was two laps, but halfway through the second lap I just stopped.  It felt like my body couldn’t go on.  I was winded and my legs cramped.  I was angry with myself.  I finished the training session, but it bothered me the rest of the day.  Normally, I would have let it go and just waited until my next training session to try again.  Instead I went to the gym early the next morning and ran without stopping for a mile and a half like I’ve been doing.    Instead of acting like I was going backwards in my training, I tackled the problem head on.  I was engaged.  I will continue to be engaged in my athletic endeavors no matter if they’re good or bad.

*Making my goals a priority, even if it means saying no.  I’ve put off building a new career for the past year.  Sure, at times, I had to put my goals aside to work on immediate issues like moving to a new state and setting up our new life in the Pacific Northwest, but we’ve been here almost six months and we’re pretty settled. Each day I come up with excuses not to make the time to work on my writing with the exception of a blog entry here and there.  No more excuses!  I am now scheduling in time to work on my writing which includes my blog and my fiction writing.  I’m doing this even if I have to say no to meeting a friend or pushing housework aside for another time.  As I type, I’m at a café while my daughter is at a theater class.  This is my dedicated writing time; no running errands or playing Words with Friends.  I am engaged in my writing, which in turns means I’m engaged in my personal and professional goals.

*Spending time with friends and family is essential.  I realize that I’m with my children a lot, but I’m not always “there.”  While I’m not quite sure which games my kids are talking about, I am trying to listen intently.  If it’s important to them, I need to make it important to me.  I’ve realized if I’m not engaged when they’re talking about everyday things, I might miss the important life stories they’ll share.  And with my ever-supportive hubby, I need to be with him in addition to our time as a family.  We’ve made the effort to go out to dinner and breakfast on our own and having this time alone with him is necessary.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in our lives as parents, so to spend time as a couple keeps us engaged in our marriage.  I can’t forget my friends, either!  So many of my friends are far away and while an email, text or Facebook post helps enormously, FaceTime is my new favorite app.  During a “woe is me” moment, I texted my constant cheerleader, N., to see if we could schedule a FaceTime appointment. We video chatted yesterday and it really lifted my spirits.  Seeing her face while talking was just what I needed and I realized much of it was because I was focused just on our conversation.  I wasn’t texting in between loads of laundry or running out the door to an appointment; we were focused on talking only.  When I am focused on the person I’m talking with and not trying to multitask, I am engaged in my life as well as this person’s life.

Now that I’m focused on engaging my core physically, I am going to engage my emotional core.  Sometimes, multi-tasking isn’t helpful.  As a lifelong multitasker, this is going to be a challenge.  Just from the small changes I’ve made over the past few weeks though, I can already feel some of the physical and mental weight being lifted.  There really is something to be said about slowing down and focusing on your goals.  Now that I’m making my core muscles stronger, I am going to make my figurative core, meaning my heart and soul, stronger.  I am engaged as I continue my journey Down the Scale…

Making the time to write is one of my goals and by setting up outside in the occasionally clear day in the PNW, I can write. No excuses, it’s time be engaged.

The “O” Word

This is a rare photo of me from head to toe without my children strategically placed in front of me.  My daughter asked to take my picture and you can't say no to a 5 year old with a camera.

This is a rare photo of me from head to toe without my children strategically placed in front of me. My daughter asked to take my picture and you can’t say no to a 5-year-old with a camera.

Am I obese? Yes, yes I am. I am finally using the “O” word. I’ve never denied I have a problem, but I’ve always used “cute terms” to describe myself. I’m full-figured. I’m overweight. I’m plump. I’m the fat chick. No, I am medically obese. I need to lose more than 100 pounds to be even considered overweight. This is the harsh reality that I’ve hidden from most of my life.

Finally, as of 2013, I am taking control of my obesity. I’m 44 years old and admitting I am not in control of my weight. I know I can control it, but it has been a struggle since childhood. Now as a mom, I don’t want my children to have this issue. I can’t protect them from everything in this world, but having an obese mother isn’t going to help them nor does it set a good example.

 Fortunately, I married a man who loves me through thick and thin and when I’m thick or thin. Not once has he complained about my weight, but I know he wants me happy and healthy. Don’t we all want that for our loved ones?

 Of course my family is part of the reason I am on this new weight loss journey, but the biggest reason is I want to feel normal. I want to run and walk and climb without thinking about my weight and having to stop to catch my breath. I don’t want to be the biggest woman in the room. I want to join conversations about clothes and exercising without feeling like I don’t fit in. I don’t want to be known as the fat mom. I want to be known for who I am – the smart, funny, cute woman, the mom of the fairytale children and the wife of a smart, funny handsome man, a good friend to people, a writer…just Jen.

 I am starting my new weight loss journey next month with gastric sleeve surgery. This isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly. In many ways, I feel like a failure in that I need surgery to take control of my health. And yes, I’ve tried every diet, exercise and drug available.

At 44, I want to enjoy my life and my body. I want to be a runner. I want to take hikes. I want to wear a bathing suit without fear or shame. I want to be normal and I know this uncomfortable, stressed, obese woman isn’t really me. Gastric sleeve surgery is just one of the tools I will use to find the person I know I am.

 I’m starting Down The Scale to share my journey. I hope to keep myself accountable to my weight loss, but I am openly looking for support and the sharing of experiences. While I feel like I’m the only one in my immediate community who looks and feels this way, I know I am not. We all have fears, struggles and dreams and they’re not always the same. Not everyone will agree with my actions and opinions and I’m OK with that. Supporting someone doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them, but when it comes from a place of love it is important to take it in.

 Thank you for reading and hopefully being a part of my Down The Scale community. Here’s to finding peace, happiness, humor and love in our lives….