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Wearing Color Over 40
Wearing Color Over 40 – My Refined Style Linkup #5
February 4, 2016
Patterned Pants - What I Really Wore
Patterned Pants – What I Really Wore
February 8, 2016

Today, I’m talking about midlife perspective on weight.

Midlife perspective on weight

If you know anything about me, then you know I am passionate about fitness at midlife. I do believe that freedom from the “weight” of excess weight is possible and I encourage people to rethink their relationships with food.

I have written a lot about food choices, mindful eating and fitness. But I have also worked hard to put out the message of self acceptance and a healthy food perspective. Every now and then you read something that resonates so much with your own thinking that you’ve just got to share it!

I came across a post by Cathy Lawdanski at My Side Of 50.  At 57, she finally came to that aha moment wMidlife perspective on weight, Cathy Clawdanskihere life’s priorities fell in line and she could finally gain realistic perspective on her weight, her fitness and her life.

I decided to talk to this gal, because I think she’s got something to say that you just might need to hear.

Midlife Perspective On Weight

So many women fall to the pressure of wanting to fit into a particular size. What finally shook you out of this compulsion to chase a size?

When a realized that nothing IMPORTANT TO ME would change whether I was a size 14 or size 8. I would still be me – wife, mother, grandmother, friend. I would have the same gifts and talents. I would still be loved by God, my friends and family.

I was blessed with good health. My cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure all were great. No doctor had told me to lose weight. I was a 3 times a week Crossfitter and 2 times a week yoga girl.

I decided to celebrate all the things I COULD do and all that I had instead of being so bummed out constantly about what size I was.

Why do you think diets have failed you so many times in the past?

Because being on a diet is just stressful. And being stressed about what we eat is the opposite of what we should be. We were designed to be hungry when our body needs fuel. And we were designed to feel full when we’ve had enough.

Diets had me on edge all the time – food lists, tracking, meetings, what time to eat, don’t eat in the evening, no carbs after 4 p.m., buy this, don’t buy that… and it goes on and on and on.

If we are stressed about what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat all the time, we cannot relax and enjoy the PLEASURE of eating. I find that when I slow down & enjoy food I really want, then I don’t seem to need as much.

When I diet, I am stressed about eating “approved” foods and I eat way too much of them, looking for the pleasure, which I never seem to get.  So I usually end up binging on something “forbidden”.

In terms of fitness, what do you prioritize now?

Being kind to myself  – which means not being hard on myself and beating myself up about things like – “You ate too much chocolate last night”. “You didn’t go very heavy on that workout”. “You sure didn’t get much done today”.

Rest – getting enough sleep at night and not scheduling every minute of every day in the quest to be productive.

Eating food that nourishes me – which about 85% of the time is whole, unprocessed food with little sugar.

Exercise – Because my body craves it. It feels good and I miss it when I don’t exercise. I do Crossfit and yoga the most, with a run here and there. And I don’t exercise EVERY day.  My body needs about 2 days a week of total rest.

Midlife perspective on weight

You talk about how your nutritionist and life coach gave you a tough assignment to move you along in your fitness journey…what was it and how did it help you come to a point of acceptance?

She told me to  “Look at yourself naked in the mirror every day for a week.” Gross. But I did it. The first couple of days, I started at the top and it was ok until I got down to my stomach. Then I had to look away. I carry most of my excess weight in my stomach and hips. It grossed me out. Then on day 3 I said to myself “Ok, what are you looking at here that is so disgusting to you? It is fat. Fat. A substance that everyone has on their body somewhere if they are healthy.  Yours just happens to pool in this particular place. It is not the end of the world.”

“It does not change who you are one bit. Not your character, personality, love for others, how your friends and family feel about you, your ability to serve others…not one darn thing.

Cathy, I write a lot about changing our thinking in relationship with food. I love that you finally had that “lightbulb” moment where things finally clicked for you. Could you tell us more about that?

When I realized that there was not one person in this world (that matters anyway) who was looking at my fat, evaluating my fat, hating my fat, spending precious time and money trying to get rid of my fat but ME. So I decided to let it go.

Then I calculated how many years I had spent being on a diet and focusing on my weight. I had been focusing on weight and fat in some form or fashion since my youngest child was born – 27 YEARS AGO. That’s a long time. And I weigh more than I ever have.

I am 57 years old. If I live as long as my Mom did and die at 82, I have 25 more years left. Do I want to spend the next 25 years obsessing over weight and fat like I have the last 27? Heck no.

If you could leave midlife women with one thought in regard to your journey, what would it be?

Your size is your size. It is not who you are…just  like your hair is not who you are, or your skin or the way you sing or walk or talk. It is just a part of you.

Don’t spend one more minute of your life focusing on size and weight as the standard by which you measure yourself and others.

And quit talking about it – to your mom, daughter, sister and friends.  How much of our conversation focuses on diet, size and weight? Let’s focus our conversation on the things that matter – our love for each other, ways we can build each other up and ideas that are important; things that nourish us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The dissatisfaction we feel over our bodies doesn’t do any of those things. Let’s make the choice to stop the cycle now.

You can also catch Cathy’s original post – I’m NOT Losing Weight In 2016.

Catch all my posts by subscribing with your email in the right side bar, Follow with Bloglovin’ or you can subscribe to just the weight journey posts feed. Also, check out the other fabulous lifestyle linkups I’m joining this week – My Linkups!

Learning It, Shellie


  1. Kathleen says:

    Shellie that was a great interview. I had read Cathy’s original post and I loved it. You have brought out more good attitude that goes along with the way you look at and write about the subject.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Thanks Kath, I just knew I had to share it when I read her post the first time.

  2. This is an excellent article! Thanks so much for sharing. I am a former certified fitness instructor who has struggled with weight since “the change”. I still work out 5 to 6 Days a week and really push myself. In every other way, I am healthy. Women do need to quit beating themselves up!

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Donna, I am so glad this article could bring some encouragement! It’s something we all need to hear.

  3. Sarah-Ann says:

    Really love this article. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Just took the time to read the comments. Love the perspective of the ladies in their 60’s, 70’s & 80’s on this topic. I hope we can all eat well, move & love ourselves!

  5. Evija says:

    Love your post it is such an interesting read.. thank you for being such a fantastic co-host each week! x

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Evija. I am equally thankful to have you as a co-host.

  6. Ashleigh says:

    This is such an eye opening posts and one that really touches me. I have a feeling that I will be one of those people that is always worried about my weight and will always have issues with myself {no matter how hard I work on my fitness and healthy lifestyle}. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Ashleigh, I’m so glad this spoke to you too. I thought it was something a lot of us needed to hear.

  7. What a great perspective! You are so right!

  8. Well written , at 68 I have days I dont feel my age and others everyday of 68, but I have a good outlook on life and its challenges at this stage, eat healthy and I do watch my weight, not just for size but for the joints and how fast I can move. I always was called the Energizer Bunny, no quite so much now though.

    Thanks Shellie!
    Have a great week!

  9. thanks for the interview. Interesting perspectives indeed and can’t agree more. Your size is your size, not who you are 🙂

  10. Miss Cellany says:

    I read this post with interest and approval. I’m in my seventies and often look at blogs by young and lovely women who are unhappy with one or other aspect of themselves. I want to tell them to enjoy exactly who they are at the moment, to smile and be happy and to eat for health, not just to be able to squeeze into a size ten dress. My concerns are not about wrinkles but about maintaining health and happiness. My mother lived to the grand age of ninety-five, so I’m hoping to give old-age a run for it’s money!

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      You do, Miss Cellany! Age really is a state of mind. I’m so glad you stopped by to say hi!

  11. Celia says:

    I love this post. Yes be healthy but do it for the right reasons and do what works for you. Love that we can find empowerment in so many different ways from so many beautiful ladies!

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Thanks Celia, we can definitely draw inspiration from each other! Glad you stopped by.

  12. Diets and all the mental agony that so often comes with them can be really damaging to enjoying life.

    To me, it’s important to feed my body mainly whole foods and to move every day. When I don’t do these things, I know things are “off” in my life. However, there is so much to focus on in life other than my size… Making peace with where you are at right now I think is very important.

    Great post!

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      I’m with you on all that, Andrea! It sounds like you have got your head in a good place.

  13. Kristin says:

    Really good!!

  14. Mrs. AOK says:

    I think I’ll take the mirror challenge. I look at myself some days and cringe & other days I’m proud of where I’m at. Currently, I’m on the couch waiting for my turn at Just Dance, I want to make sure my family & I move even on rainy cloudy days. 🙂

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      If you are moving then you are on the right track! Self acceptance is an important step, because we are often our own worst critic.