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I'll be 35 later this year. It's strange to think that in just a few months I'll be considered of "advanced maternal age". It makes me feel old just typing those words. Which is silly, of course, because one is hardly old in her mid-thirties. I have started to notice some changes in my body recently that remind me that though I may not be old, I'm no longer young anymore either.
For instance, I've been wanting to lose about 10 pounds. Those pounds have been hanging around since Clara stopped nursing and it's high time they went away so I no longer have to squeeze into my clothes. I'm not a fan of dieting--I'd rather establish good, sustainable habits--so I've been focusing on tweaking what I eat, getting back in line with good nutritional habits that I've gotten a bit lax about. I'm also back in a good exercise routine, working out for about 30 minutes on average about 4 days a week. I'm very happy with my new routines and habits and I feel physically better with less back and knee pain.
But, there is one thing I'm not happy about: the number on the scale.
It has not budged a bit in the last 6 weeks. In the past a similar regimen has yielded a slow, steady weight loss of about a pound a week. This time...nadda!
I like to tell myself that I must be building muscle as fast as I'm losing fat and that's why the number on the scale hasn't moved. A look in the mirror, though, contradicts that since the jiggly area around my middle hasn't diminished a bit.
Maybe the reality is that at my age I'm just going to have to work harder to get results.
I've never worried about portion sizes, I've usually focused on nutritional balance at meals instead, but maybe I need to be a little more conscious of how much food I'm putting on my plate. Maybe I need to up the intensity or duration of my workouts. Maybe I've been eating a bit too much chocolate (please say it isn't so!).
Or maybe I just need to be satisfied with myself just the way I am.
It's hard to find the right balance between properly caring for oneself and not making health an obsession. I want to do what is good for me physically and emotionally. But, I also want to have a realistic understanding of what my body, that of a 6' tall 34-year-old mother of 4, should look like. That is hard. Just what is realistic and reasonable? Should I judge myself based on a number: weight, BMI, waist measurement, dress size? Or by what I see in the mirror?
I don't know what the answer is to any of these questions, but I do know that I want to be both healthy and content with the body God has given me (flaws and all) at the same time. The only way I know to find that balance is to question periodically where I'm at and make any adjustments that seem prudent. I guess if I know I'm making healthy choices, I should be content with the body that results from those choices.
Or maybe we should make a few less homemade double chocolate chunk cookies.