In the too-many weeks I’ve been missing in action from BoHo Home (the blog, that is, as I’ve been very present in my actual boho home!) I got a year older.
I hesitate to admit I was already 61 and just today turned 62. But with full knowledge I’d soon be qualifying for Social Security, I decorated my patio in a midcentury modern style, which revolves around this wonderful pillow.
I prefer to say I’m NOT old. I’m midcentury modern.
That’s how I think about it, though I may be kidding myself about how I look. Renewing my drivers license a few weeks ago gave me a wake-up call! My husband diplomatically said the BMV camera probably exaggerates bone structure and the like since it works in tandem with facial recognition software.
But then a few days later a snippy 40-something at our local Fourth of July celebration burst my bubble again by guessing my age on the nose at 61. I tried to take into account we met waiting in line at the port-o-potty, and he claimed “the Lord” had personally conveyed this information to him. But you can see why the age thing was starting to get me down, right?
Given that this is a selfie taken just today, you can judge for yourself. Take into account today IS a bad hair day, unfortunately, but I’m just not worrying about it. A clerk in Target last Friday told me how pretty I was and how I could still pull off some “out there” clothes she showed me. So hers is the opinion I’m sticking with. As Popeye famously snickered, “I yam what I yam.”
However old I may look, the reality is I’m a happy and healthy 62. My 61st year was the best yet, and I’m looking forward to more of all life has to offer.
Here are some things I’ve accomplished and some things I’m working on…
Loving my body as it is because it’s stuck with me, literally, through thick and thin.
Up until about two years ago I’d weighed 350 to 400 pounds for 25-plus years. The photo on the left was taken in the mid-1990s and the one on the right this past May. Thanks to diet and gastric-sleeve surgery, as well as the support of my husband and daughter, I lost more than half my body weight.
You’re thinking “all good,” right? But the dirty little secret of bariatric surgery is that you lose the fat, but all the excess skin that stretched to cover it hangs around.
And mostly doesn’t go away.
I’ll skip the specifics of what’s sagging where, except to say that many bariatric patients have tummy tucks, and some go so far as to put upper arms, breasts, and thighs under the knife. Sounds like carving up that Thanksgiving turkey dinner, doesn’t it?
While I never truly “approved” of plastic surgery before, now that I was the one sagging, I reconsidered. For a moment anyway. Then I saw the before and after photos, complete with horrendous scars, and got mired in the six pages typed front and back in miniscule print describing what might go wrong.
End result: I decided not to disapprove if others chose this path–in fact, they should get a medal for bravery–but plastic surgery still isn’t for me.
I’ve also been observing how people of various size dress. And since I live in Indiana (the eighth most obese state in the nation), I see lots of people weighing as much, if not more, than I used to weigh, dressing for comfort and fun with little regard for what shows.
I’m not judging them, mind you. I’m just trying to decide what’s right for the “new” me. And while I’m not ready for a swimsuit, I do now wear sleeveless blouses with reckless abandon in what’s been one of the hottest summers on record. My body is very, very happy about that.
I bought a gym membership, and I’m using it!
My body is happy about that, too.
The plastic surgeon told me I’d lost all the fat in my arms, but I could still lose some in my abdominal region. I was 20 pounds away from my goal and getting discouraged. I’d weighed as much as four pounds less, but had regained and relost those four pounds several times over the course of a few months.
What she said got me to rethink my exercise program. I’d been doing resistance-band chair exercises for over a year, five days a week. Now I do 6 miles on a stationary bike (30-35 minutes), work on a variety of weight machines, and do 15 minutes (500 meters) on a rowing machine. And it’s all FUN!!! Can you believe that?
It also works. I’m losing again–inches AND pounds. I’ll never be rid of all the sags and bags, but now I know I can still make realistic improvements that will help me age with even more grace.
I allow myself some food treats, in moderation.
When you exercise more, your body hardly takes notice of a few glasses of wine or an ice cream cone now and then. My uber-wise daughter recommends treating yourself (food-wise) once a week, and that seems manageable.
Through months of working with a dietitian I’ve learned to focus the lion’s share of my eating on high-quality sources of protein. Protein is more important than anything else you eat. A good rule of thumb is to read the labels for EVERYTHING and stick with items that have MORE grams of protein than fat (with the exception of that once a week treat, of course). That way the protein consumes what fat is present. You’d be surprised at what you’re still allowed and how much it will help you lose.
PS: The orange-pineapple dreamsicle ice cream I had at Sundae’s yesterday was worth the wait!
A new wardrobe is another reward.
I love clothes almost as much as home decor (though, I confess, ice cream is STILL #1). Last October my half of this closet was pretty bare. I was still losing weight rapidly and owned fewer than a half-dozen outfits that fit me. As you can see, as my weight stabilized I lost no time making up for that lack.
It’s been fun rediscovering what I like and don’t like in the fashion world. I still hate ruffles, lace, puffed sleeves, and any fabric that itches. I LOVE layering, all things gray, and lots of stripes. It’s actually fun finding styles and fabrics that disguise some of my figure flaws. There’s so much I CAN now wear that I don’t worry about the stuff that doesn’t work out. I no longer have to choose something I don’t really love just because it fits and nothing else does. I hold out for the good stuff.
My favorite fashion discovery? Sports bras. I haven’t worn anything else since I put the first one on. Great for layering, comfort AND support. Whoda thunk I’d discover THAT one post-60?!! I can tell you, my tatas are doing a happy dance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My biggest dilemma is how to focus my energy.
Remember, just a few months ago I had no energy. Could YOU carry around 200-plus pounds on your back all day, every day? My body did just that for way too long, so pardon me if I’ve neglected this blog while I’ve been busy exercising, buying clothes, building my ebay/Etsy businesses, and gardening again to beat the band.
I have been THINKING ABOUT the blog, though, and planning any number of “how-to” posts. I completed these projects AND took photos in anticipation of sharing on the blog eventually:
- How I spruced up my master bedroom for summer, including…
- Pillow shams made from scraps,
- An existing throw lengthened and embellished with huge gigantic tassels,
- And a wall-hanging made from an inexpensive throw rug I embellished with yarn and hung with pottery and plants;
- A custom cord corral constructed for hubs’ office;
- A wall-mounted combo ironing board/folding table for my laundry room;
- And where we began this post, with the midcentury modern redo of my patio.
So look for these stories and more on BoHo Home in the very near future–I promise! Consider them my birthday gift to you–one for each of my decades!!
Meantime, remember that anything I’ve accomplished you can, too. It’s never too late to get out there and take a big hungry bite out of life!