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Almost 50, fat and depressed!

edited 30 June at 8:15AM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
39 replies 2.7K views
johojoho Forumite
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edited 30 June at 8:15AM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
Apologies in advance for the misery, self-pity and mixed up waffling. I know there are people who have things a lot worse than me, but, well menopause and depression don't work logically like that!
I'm on the verge of 50 and (fingers crossed, Covid dependant) will be able to take a long planned holiday in September to celebrate. However, I had wanted to lose some weight (about 1.5 stone) in time for the holiday because I wanted to be fab not fat at 50.
But it isn't working out.
What with Covid lockdown, working from home, the gym being closed, the onset of the menopause and a new bout of depression, I just can't seem to find the motivation. I'm tired all the time and just downright fed up.I start each new week with new plans, ideas and vigour and by the Friday they're all forgotten and I'm back to square one. I can't get into and stick to a routine.
I don't want to do WW or SW (neither has been very successful for me in the past), and can't really because I think, maybe, one of my biggest obstacles is my husband.
He does most of our shopping and cooking, which is really nice usually, but he is going through a phase of wanting to cook and eat nice curries, pies, all the tasty bad things and not really caring about weight control for himself or me!I can't get him to (consistently) cook stuff to help me (and him) lose weight and I can hardly refuse the food he does make.
I am not blaming him for one minute - after all I am lucky that he does all that. I guess I could cook more or cook my own food, but he is retired and I still work so it makes sense for him to do it, and it would work out pretty expensive the two of us cooking and eating differently all the time. I try to cook more at the weekends, but he enjoys a Sunday roast and is good at them! (Lots of excuses, when I read this back to check it makes sense!)
He also likes to have a drink of an evening (he is not an alcoholic though I do worry about the amount he drinks) and I don't have the will power to not join in when he cracks open a nice bottle of wine - so that isn't helping me much either, esp with the menopause!
I started Paul McKennas hypnotherapy thing 'I can Make you Slim', and I've actually put weight on since starting it! I'm thinking of trying a meal replacement programme for a few weeks just to give myself a kick-start (any recommendations?) and have ordered a new phone which I can put some apps on, like Couch25K. But I'm truly depressed by it all and am sat here crying, at 2AM, not being able to sleep. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and at the moment I probably have about 3 items of clothing that fit me, that I just keep rotating. With a wardrobe full of clothes I can't get into.
I know the menopause doesn't help and am on HRT. Husband wants me to see doc about depression but I can't - I don't want more tabs and don't feel that I am a worthy, or urgent, enough cause for any counselling. There are people who have it worse and need the limited assistance more than me.

I guess I'm asking if anyone is in, or has been in, the same situation and can offer some advice or encouragement.
Thank you.
EDIT: OMG! When I woke up I realised this had turned into a bit of a husband bash and that is NOT WHAT I MEANT! Just this morning he has suggested I go back to WW and he WILL help and cook and eat to their system! He is supportive. If I can do the exercise, grow some will power and fix my head, I can have what he cooks and some of what he drinks!

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  • SocajamSocajam Forumite
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    I am sitting here reading what you posted and it's really sad, but not the end of the world.
    You need to take small steps and work from there.
    Regarding the shopping and cooking, sit your husband down and explain that you need more fruits and vegetables/salads.  You can have a small amount of what he cooks and then fill your plate up with lots of vegetables.
    I would try and cut back on eating too much meat/dairy and choose more chicken and fish.  Also try to have some days where you eat only vegetables - vegetable curry is one of my favourites.
    I use have a large salad with: good quality lettuce, apples, peppers, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, cheese (not every day) and olive oil for dressing.  You can also add a couple of grapes or banana for sweetness.  I also add chickpeas or black eye peas or lentils to the salad - all three are very high in protein
    Since you are still working I would have what he cooks for my lunch the next day (that will become your heaviest meal for the day) and then have a salad with him in the evening.
    Menopause is a *itch, I was very lucky that I did not have to take any tablets or suffered at all.
    This is what I did: every morning  I went for a walk - 7 days per week - at weekend I would over 8 miles - but I find that is really helped me to relax, took away all the burdens that come with menopause and I lost 24 lbs in the process.  I got complacent and put it back on, but at the time when I lost it, I felt like a queen because I was able to wear all the clothes in my wardrobe - and I did dress to kill.
    If it's safe and you can walk to work, I would do it.  Within a couple of weeks, you will notice small changes in your mood, body and overall well being.  It also helps you to sleep a lot better
    If walking to work is not possible, try start a walking program for Saturday and Sunday - leave the household chores and do this for your well being.  We as women tend to think that the house must be kept spotless etc, whilst our health is falling apart.
    Have a check to see if your vitamin D is low - I had that problem and wanted to cry at everything.  I had a blood test and it was found out that my Vitamin D was extremely low. 
    The doctor put me on 2000 iu and it was like a fog was lifted from my brain and I could see clearly - my body and mind did a 180 and I have never looked back.
    Yes, the gyms are closed, but if you get out there early, you can get a hour's walk and return home in no time.
    Try and stay away from white flour, white rice.  If you have to eat bread, buy a decent whole wheat one and start to love brown rice.  I love pasta, but had to give it up and move to pasta made from chick peas.
    These are just some ideas, you are going to have to take the bull by the horns and do what best for you because all the doctor will do is give you more pills and before you know it, you are taking 6 or 7 daily - not a good idea.
    Try this website: - I lost my 24 lbs there.  It's a US website, counting calories, but it's pretty good.
    Finally, also youtube have some really good exercise videos.  These are the ones that I use:  live sonima and brightside - check them out.  There's also fitnessbender.
    You are not alone, there are a lot of women out here suffering from menopause etc. 

  • johojoho Forumite
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    Thank you socajam! Exactly the sort of thing I needed. I will look into the Vitamin D issue ASAP. I thought it was iron I was lacking and have been taking a supplement, but didn't know anything about vit D.
    There - in that place; they're - they are; their - owned by them.
    If you have nothing constructive to say, just move along.
  • StaffieTerrierStaffieTerrier Forumite
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    I would echo the idea about walking when you can. Steps can soon add up. We recently bought smartwatches with fitness trackers on them and they're encouraging us to move more. My partner is going for a walk at lunchtime, which also gives him some fresh air and boosts his mood. I'm recovering following cancer treatment and trying to get my fitness levels up while battling fatigue. I was warned that the less I do the less I will want to do, so I push myself to be active even if I don't feel like it and usually feel better for doing so.

    With food, can you cut back on the portion sizes? Most people will fill a plate but it's not necessary. Modern plates are much bigger than they used to be.  
  • ruby_eskimoruby_eskimo Forumite
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    Really glad to see that your husband is being supportive; don't worry it didn't come off as husband bashing, just that you were frustrated and getting everything out.  I'd second the vitamin D thing and Iron with B12 will help too.  Also I really love the fitness blender videos on youtube.  They have so many options, lots of low impact options or they show modifications to make things less impact and Daniel and Kelli while looking amazing and doing all these crazy things, show their human side and that they struggle with some of the moves too.  There's also some walking workouts on youtube you can do if the weather is tricky which my mum has had some success with.  Wishing you all the best.
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  • edited 1 July at 9:27AM
    johojoho Forumite
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    edited 1 July at 9:27AM
    Thank you StaffieTerrier (great name!). I love that phrase 'the less you do, the less you want to do'. And that is me to a T!
    And thank you ruby_eskimo.
    I will check out all these recommendations from everyone. I have used MyFitnessPal before - am getting a new phone that I can put some apps on and connect together - MFP and Pacer and MapMyWalk and all those sorts of things.
    Part of the Paul McKenna thing is about eating till you are full, putting your knife and fork down and chewing. So that also helps with the portion control side of things. I can do it most of the time!
    Best wishes to you, Staffie, with your cancer. Puts my woes and concerns into perspective.xx

    There - in that place; they're - they are; their - owned by them.
    If you have nothing constructive to say, just move along.
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  • olgadapolgaolgadapolga Forumite
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    I would second My Fitness Pal, it's a fabulous website with a great community forum. 

    You need to weigh your food so that you know what your intake is. The website will help you log the weighed food so that you know how many calories you have consumed.

    There's not a problem with eating the food that your wonderful husband is preparing, it's more about how much you eat, so you will learn about portion control.

    Exercise is good for CV health but isn't strictly necessary to lose weight. Weight control happens in the kitchen and there are some inspirational stories of people who have lost loads of weight whilst being unable to exercise on the My Fitness Pal website.

    Don't try to do too much in one go, ie, weighing food, walking a marathon a day, etc. Start off small then once that has become a habit, add something on. When I lost a lot of weight, I started by weighing everything I ate. After a couple of weeks, that was an ingrained habit so I added walking. Once that had become a daily activity, I wanted to do something else so I started cycling as well. The weight fell off.

    A lot of it is about feeling in control of your life again. But you can do it, menopausal or not. Best of luck 😀
  • johojoho Forumite
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    Thank you Olgadapolga. Very nice words.x
    There - in that place; they're - they are; their - owned by them.
    If you have nothing constructive to say, just move along.
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    In terms of routines, we tend to beat ourselves up if we attempt something and don't stick to it every single day and write off an entire week if we missed some days instead of celebrating the days when we did do it. Any extra exercise is better than none, and you can start small. Can you run up the stairs, or take them 2 at a time instead of walking like we normally do? If you do that any time you remember (so might do it a few times one day and forget to the next - no problem, just do it again next time you remember) it's more than nothing. Can you power walk from your car into work, or get off the bus one stop early, or any other little thing like that? 
    ^ these are rhetorical questions, by the way, not an interrogation!

    Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Something is always better than nothing even if consistency is really difficult at first! They may not have the same effects as a workout but you'll be doing *something* positive.

    If you get your Vitamin D checked, ask for the actual numerical result, not just 'normal' or 'low'. The threshold for 'not deficient' is nowhere near the same as having optimum levels for your body and mind to function well. More doctors seem aware of this but not all, so it's always good to know for yourself. [Below 70 my GP advised taking supplements, whereas the actual threshold for deficient is 25 or 30!]
  • edited 1 July at 8:26PM
    belfastgirl23belfastgirl23 Forumite
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    edited 1 July at 8:26PM
    All of the tips on diet and exercise are great!

    The thing I would add though is that reading your first post, knowledge isn’t your problem, actually DOING it is your problem. Believe me, I can recognise that a million miles off. I’m the same age as you and have been through more diets than you can shake a stick at. The biggest problem for people like us is that we don’t actually really know how to manage our weight. Of course we know how to diet. We know how to exercise. And in my case I certainly know how to eat and drink!! But this is not the same as knowing how to manage our weight and in particular to manage our energy and motivation to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

    I’m going to recommend two resources to help you with the mind element of it. One is The Beck Diet Solution - Train your brain to think like a thin person. I used this book about 10 years ago and found it incredibly helpful, I still use many of the techniques in it. It isn’t a diet book - and all of the info and resources others have posted will still be really useful to you - It’s more about getting your head in the right place and teaching yourself how to eat in a way that will support your good health. The other resource is a podcast called Half Size Me. It’s American and it breaks the issues down around weight loss and weight maintenance and offers really practical, implementable advice. The host talks to a lot of people (mainly women) to either interview them about how they have lost weight or to coach them to help them to lose weight. A lot of the issues really resonate with me and with your message above. And she is also really good on encouraging people to focus on slow and maintainable weight loss rather than quick fixes which might work short term but make you miserable and lead to longer term gain.

    I lost a good bit of weight (about 30lb) at the time I first used Beck and more or less maintained it over the years. I have had a couple of significant gains at times of severe stress, most recently three years ago. I’ve re-lost most of that weight again now and I’m focusing on trying to maintain my weight in lockdown. 

    My belief is that the most important thing in losing weight is getting to know yourself, what works for your body, and figuring out what the real issues are. I still have points of struggle (especially with wine and cocktails!) that I’m trying to figure out, but when I look back there is just so much I have learned that I know the journey is getting easier. I am also a lot more mindful now. For example I know that walking will take me out of a bad mood as well as being good for weight loss. I know that if I slip up there is zero point in beating myself up about it, yes it’s worth understanding what the factors were that contributed to it but no point in flogging myself about it, it just leads to more overeating. These things took me years to learn. But the learning has been enjoyable. 

    Good luck and keep posting here if it helps!

    **edited for honesty** I could do with losing another half stone or so, my BMI is still 27.5 and could come down a bit. But I’m not stressing about it in lockdown. I know that I need to really learn weight maintenance (when I say I maintained it before what I mean is I went up and down half a stone, which has the effect of maintenance but isn’t the same as mindfully maintaining). This is something else I’m figuring out!

  • edited 1 July at 9:07PM
    BananaRepublicBananaRepublic Forumite
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    edited 1 July at 9:07PM
    I think you have to decide to act rather than finding excuses, most of which seem to be wanting to be nice to your husband, at the cost of being unpleasant to yourself. It sounds like you give in to his needs and look after your own. 

    I’m no diet guru, I’ve never followed a diet. I lost several stone by regulating intake, and eating sensibly. The weight has stayed off for quite a few years now, probably due to sensible eating and lots of exercise (inline skating and roller hockey at present). I don’t eat salads or dull food, just sensible food that tastes good and is filling. Things like risotto, dahl and homemade pizza (no oil, modest amount of cheese). Basically low or moderate fat, no added sugar, lots of veggies, whole meal bread etc. Alcohol on Saturday only. Almost no cakes, biscuits or sweets, so one kitkat a month say. 

    If you eat what sounds like stodge, you’ll not lose weight unless you restrict the amount. Alcohol is bad news big time. 

    Incidentally, look at couples and they tend to have the same body type ie thin, average or tubby. It isn’t easy to break away when living with an unhealthy eater. 
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