If you have never even tried a diet to lose weight, raise your hand. Wow, not many boomers have their hands up! Which makes many of us like Jen Todd, who blogs from Bend, Oregon, about self-improvement ad transitioning into retirement. As she writes for BoomerCafé, she tried diets, lots of them, but ultimately opted for something else: life!
Baby Boomers must be the most experienced generation of dieters in history. I don’t believe our grandparents or parents embarked on all the diets we weight-watching Boomers have tried. If the Guinness Book of World Records has a category for the greatest number of diets attempted, and allows whole generations to enter, we’d surely be the winners.
Although I never had a lot to lose, I wasted whole decades gaining and losing 10 to 20 pounds. I personally tried calorie counting, carb counting, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Atkins, the Cambridge Diet, Slim Fast, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Beverly Hills Diet, the Rice Diet, the Egg and Grapefruit Diet, and the Bananas and Skim Milk Diet, to name all I can remember.
For those who were living their lives rather than dieting, I can assure you that these are, or once were, all legitimate diets. In addition, I went on a number of diets published in women’s magazines with names like The 7 Day Busy Woman’s Diet and The Lose 5 lbs in 14 Days Diet. And I tried a few of my own invention. My favorite was the “Beer and M&Ms” diet, which I went on to fit into my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding. Incredibly, I lost weight on it, even though, as you might imagine, I felt and looked terrible.
If you’re a Boomer who’s also been a chronic dieter through the years, I am betting you have a diet list that looks something like mine. Perhaps, like me, you lost a little or a lot of weight on most of them. In that sense, they worked. But in the end, they all failed because they never kept the weight off. I must admit, it wasn’t necessarily the diets that were at fault (apart from the Beer and M&Ms diet). Some of them I could have used to keep the weight off, if I hadn’t always abandoned them as soon as I lost the weight, and returned to the junk food and shoddy eating habits that made me fat in the first place.
Finally, at age 62, I’ve decided enough is enough. In March I lost 23 pounds by eliminating flour and sugar and eating three sensible meals a day. I have been maintaining my weight for the last few months by slightly increasing quantities of the healthy foods I ate on my weight loss plan. I also exercise moderately with a walking program and light weights.
Thankfully, with age has come wisdom and acknowledgement that all those crazy diets never worked. I am ready to let them go in favor of adopting healthy habits that will free my body, mind, and spirit to enjoy the rest of my life. And allow me to fit into my favorite pair of jeans as long as I like. Some things never change.