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Old 06-06-2007, 03:10 PM   #1
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I'll admit that I am a little hesitant about the future.

I am 37

I run marathons

I am nursing

I am not too afraid of how my maintenance needs will change when I stop nursing. Actually, the way timing may work out I may slide into maintenance as part of the weaning.

Its the other stuff. Aging. Marathons. I dont know that I will WANT to keep marathon training levels for the rest of my life. I'll run as long as I am physically able, then walk, then crawl, then shoot myself (j/k) .

But I do struggle a bit with HOW FAR would I be willing to cut calories to maintain a weight as aging catches up with me.
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Old 06-06-2007, 03:53 PM   #2
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Well, I'm 54 and I eat between 1200 and 1400 calories on a good day, and I'm still losing weight, although slowly. Even if you aren't training at a marathon level, I don't think you'll have to cut your calories too much. What I do notice at this age is that having even one off day, and sometimes one meal that's too carb heavy, can hurt my weight loss/maintenance efforts. I do exercise more than most women my age, but that's okay with me, and I'm betting that will be okay with you as you age.
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Old 06-06-2007, 03:54 PM   #3
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Ennay - I know what you mean. While I was losing, and originally maintaining, running (though not marathons!) was my major form of exercise. Then I got injured. While it's not an excuse, I didn't look for another form of exercise, and slid back to some of my old eating habits. And here I am trying to get a good portion of the weight back off again.

So, here's some advice from a relapser! Rather than contemplate cutting too many calories, find another form of exercise, not to replace running, but to supplement it. Weight lifting will help you build muscle overall and muscle is more metabolically active. It will help you maintain good bone density as you age (I'm 62, but my bones "look like" those of a younger woman - at least my doc says so ). I do a lot of walking, esp as I've been training for a half marathon - now just over 2 weeks away but I also like to bike, and am looking forward to getting back to it once I don't need to walking 2-4 hours at a stretch.
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Old 06-06-2007, 05:55 PM   #4
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See sheila, I would die at 1200-1400 calories a day, I cannot fathom EVER being ok with that little food. That is my fear, that I will someday have to choose that route.

Oh water, I do, I bike swim and lift now, thats why sometimes I feel like I couldnt possibly do more later, but by then my kids will be bigger so I'll have more time too.

I suppose I will just deal with it as it comes - and, well, I'm not bad as I am, I suppose if I lost 10 more pounds now and it crept back on in my 60's I could live with that
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:07 PM   #5
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Ennay, the reason that we tend to need fewer calories as we age is due to a loss of muscle. Muscle is metabolically active tissue - it's the furnace that burns calories in our bodies. As we age, we lose muscle: 30% of our muscle mass between the ages of 20 and 70 wastes away.

The only way to counter this loss of muscle and subsequent slowing of the metabolism is by actively maintaining and building muscle through weightlifting. You say you're lifting now, so keep it up and you may never see a metabolic slowdown. It's not inevitable!
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:57 PM   #6
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I run too (not marathons, 5ks, moving up to 10ks this year) and do weight lifting and I know I can eat a lot more in maintenance than I ever could without all the exercise. But, I also think the exercise makes me hungry though. I wonder if I would feel I need as much food as I feel I need now if I weren't exercising as much.

I don't know the answer.
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Old 06-07-2007, 02:03 AM   #7
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Yeah, Ennay, but I'm still losing at that calorie intake. I know I can eat more if I just try to maintain. Plus I, too, was thinking that if you're not exercising at marathon level, then you won't be as hungry. Sometimes I don't even feel like eating up to 1300 calories just because I'm not hungry. In fact, after I broke my arm, and for a week I wasn't exercising as much, I sometimes wouldn't even get to 1,000 calories because I just didn't feel the desire to eat.
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Old 06-07-2007, 10:15 PM   #8
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Ennay, I'm 52 and maintain on about 1400-1500 clean calories. Bulk is my friend. I eat TONS of fibrous vegetables, some fruit, more vegetables, lean protein, did I mention vegetables? and some healthy fats. Like Sheila, one high carb or high glycemic carb meal or treat can derail my week.

I do about 45 minutes of intense elliptical every morning...my knees and hips have had it from doing distance running for too many years and while overweight. I weight train 40-45 mintes 4-5 days per week. I pretty much lift as heavy and as many compound exercises as I can.

I've never been like Sheila and not wanted to eat- at least not while I was conscious. But I have found a way to eat that keeps me mostly satisfied and still wearing tiny clothes. Muscle mass is truly your friend as you age. not only does it burn more calories, and protect your bones, it just makes you look younger

A lot of my friends who used to run marathons have swithed to triathalons because the running distance is less and they enjoy the cross-training. There are "mini-tri's" held throughout the summer and early fall. Do you swim and own a bike?

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Old 06-08-2007, 06:42 PM   #9
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Ennay - I know what you mean.

I'm 29. I run marathons. I run them fast, even. I can keep this up for a few years. When I'm 35 I can run decent marathon times, and that will motivate me. But realistically, (or hopefully) I've lived less than half my life. I want to make 60 at least. At 59 will i still be doing enough to keep myself healthy?

What helped me was thinking in terms of percentages. I started exercising and eating properly nearly 3 years ago. that's nearly 10% of my life. If (when?) I make it to 35 still doing the right stuff it will be nearer 30%. Plus the time when I was a kid when I didn't realise that the fun stuff I did was energetic. So by then I might be reaching the stage where I've spent more time being healthy and fit than being obese.

Even though that doesn't help the day to day decisions on whether I should eat another slice of cake, it puts it into perspective that THIS is the person I am, and even though my activity levels might go down, I'll still be fit for my age, at whatever age I am.

I also agree that mixing things up might help. Tri is something that I might move into, or just judging my race times by age grading rather than PB times. I've got a few years yet, but it still worries me, and I'm glad in a way that I'm thinking about how to deal with it.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:19 PM   #10
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Realistically, though, our bodies DO change throughout life, and they are MEANT to. We tell people that they're being unrealistic and should change their goals when they say things like, "When I was in high school, I was this height and weighed __," maybe part of being realistic is to accept that there are multiple points where your body changes, and that a normal weight for you at 35 may be different from a normal weight for you at 55, and that is OKAY.

I would rather have health goals than weight goals. . .JMHO.
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Old 06-13-2007, 09:30 PM   #11
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This is a great thread, as I have been thinking about a lot of these issues lately. Here I am, 41 years old and finally, for the first time since I started college, in decent physical shape. Heck, I'm better off physically than I've ever been, even if I did weigh less than this once upon a time.

But I've not even been at this 2 years and run into knee problems, and back problems and shoulder problems. And I keep thinking how it's going to get harder as I get older and my body can do less.

Sometimes I want to get mad at myself for basically losing many of the best "physical" years to obesity and laziness, but regrets don't really get you anywhere...

I'm definitely scared of the future, but I know I'm laying a good foundation for the future and don't feel I'll squander it as I did my past!!
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Old 06-13-2007, 10:03 PM   #12
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Su-Bee, I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, our bodies change but the changes don't have to be negative for a very long time. I see strong, active people in their 70's and the two of the main of the differences between them and their fat or frail counterparts are level and intensity of activity and protein intake.

Discounting major illness, there is no reason to willingly accept getting fat and frail. "Meno-pot" is not inevitable. Yes, you can accept it if you want, or you can work to avoid it. Muscle loss is not inevitable- one of the biggest contributors to muscle loss and the usual resultant fat gain is lack of weightbearing exercise and not eating enough protein.

I've been doing this for just a month under six years now. I'm in better shape than I've been in my entire life, even when I was a competitive athlete in high school. I'm slower, but stronger and leaner. I weigh more, but I'm smaller. My nutrition is a lot better!

Unfortunately, a lot of us wore out our bodies while we weren't using them. Most of the back and knee issues probably were caused by years of being overweight and now that we (this seems to be a collective problem here) are actually using these joints, we're discovering that we wore them out just standing around on them. There's usually a creative way to workout around chronic injuries...you just have to find it or find a good enough trainer or sports medicine specialist to help you.

Mel
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Old 06-14-2007, 01:51 AM   #13
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Ennay, you are a fit and active woman. You run marathons. You are a triathlete. You strength train. It is obvious from your posts on other boards around here that you get the whole lifestyle change thing. You are a busy mother of two young children and are still making it work. I think you are going to be fine.

As to the far future, will you really care if your weight is 135 instead of the 129 on your ticker when you are 60? Menopause will come and change your metabolism. Strength training will help, but it just ain't gonna turn back the clock. Does it REALLY matter to you to be at a goal weight, just a number remember, that you set in your 30s? Somewhere in the ballpark sure, but there are large ranges of weight that are healthy, and a person does not need to be a size 2 to have an active, healthy, and happy life. If the answer to the goal weight is yes, you'll find a way, like many of us here have, and you'll make the sacrifices you need to make. If the answer is, "Well, I'm keeping up with my grandkids, and I just did that 10K, and yeah, I'm having that slice of pie" then you are maybe a few pounds up, still healthy and get to have pie once in a while. Not the biggest tragedy in the world, and I for one will not be pointing a finger. There is a happy medium out there for most of us.

Life is full of trade-offs and the balance changes as life goes on. Bodies change, priorities change. I've seen this happen personally, as I had my first child. I expect my next in about 10 years as menopause hits. I don't really see it as a problem. Maybe I'll weigh a little more, maybe I'll weigh a little less, but I sure am not going to be morbidly obese again. Like most of the people on this particular board, I am in this for the long haul and changes will inevitably happen, and some amount of flexibility is necessary. Ennay, you've got your head in the right place, and your fears and concerns are normal, but I have no doubts you'll be able to find the balance you need as time passes.

Anne
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Old 06-14-2007, 02:13 AM   #14
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Great post, Anne!

I feel as though I should print it out and save it to read when I turn 40, and 50

You should be very proud of the balance you have found with your health and your body.
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:15 AM   #15
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Thanks baffled. I was also thinking after I posted last night, that my personal trend is that I'm able to be better at self-discipline the older I get. So it isn't all working against me, even if my metabolism is making things a little harder. Perhaps some of you are the same way?

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