Dear Alma, In my 40s, I’m being hassled for my weightDaily Comfort Zone
From our agony aunt’s inbox:
I am a female performer in my mid-40’s, and a mom of three. During the pandemic, like many people, I gained weight, and have struggled to get back my former self, even slipping farther in the wrong direction. I had to buy new clothes, thinking it was temporary, and now my management has been making some (not unkind) remarks to me about my public concert appearance. I don’t think this has happened to men in my organization, but that’s a different topic altogether. I feel like I have given up, and it’s not only how I look, it’s how I feel too. I want to change.
Do you have any advice? I am trying but I just feel embarrassed and have all but given up hope.
- Missing my former self
Dear former self,
I totally hear you. I also have struggled with exactly what you are saying here. Not only gaining weight during Covid, but thinking (optimistically) it could come off after, like it used to be able to when I was in my 20’s. That didn’t happen. Feeling not well, health-wise, and enduring the occasional snide comments and “concerned” colleagues and bosses certainly doesn’t help. Unless it can piss you off enough to get you out there and taking care you again. And let’s just ignore the double standard for now, I don’t have the energy to have that suck my soul at this moment. Let’s talk about YOU!
Firstly, you are young. You are in the prime of your life. You can do whatever you want to. It sounds like you are fed up and ready to make the change. Let’s go!
Print out a calendar for the next month and tape it to your wall in your kitchen. On tomorrow’s date, write a 30, then continue down until you get to 1. This is your 30 day plan. Next I am going to give you a handful of options. I want you to pick three and do them for the 30 days. Some people like scales, some don’t. You could weigh yourself tomorrow and again on day 1, or you can put your scale in an old potato sack with something heavy (the Carl Flesch Scale Book?) and dump it into the Thames on a dark and stormy night.
If you are totally out of shape, it’s ok. All of the options below have variations for different ages and levels of fitness.
Option 1: Do a 7 minute workout first thing every morning. You can do free ones on YouTube or an app. Just set your alarm 7 minutes early and do it.
Option 2: Walk around the block one time every day.
Option 3: Do a Couch to 5K Podcast. The NHS has a nice one.
Option 4: Do a free trial at a Health club and go three times a week. When your trial is over do a different club or stay at yours for the 30 days. You can do a Boot Camp, yoga studio, zumba, whatever kind you have in town.
Option 5: Hire a personal trainer for three times a week for the 30 days.
Option 6: Don’t eat after 8 PM.
Option 7: Hands off the biscuits, croissants, cake or cookies. None of that for 30 days. This includes Victoria Sponge, bread and butter pudding, and even, yes, banoffee pie. And try to lay off the pints.
Option 8: Try intermittent fasting. Sounds strange I know, but it feels pretty good! You can get a free app for that also, and choose your level of commitment.
Do me a favor. Just pick your three things, do them for 30 days, and let us know how you feel at the end. You are a strong person – everyone who has made a life in classical music has serious discipline and focus. You can whip this thing.