Put a group of this-generation leaders and next-generation leaders in the same room and what do you notice? Probably some differences in clothing style, hair (length, amount, style, color), and eh-hum…size! Yep, us ‘this-generation’ leaders are packing a few more pounds than our next-generation counterparts. Before you jump off that elliptical and club me with your stainless steel water bottle let me say that I am speaking in generalities. The previous statement will not be true of all this-generation (or next-generation) leaders. But it does apply to me. I am an overweight this-generation leader. As I address my own personal issue I want to offer some encouragement and advice to both my generation and the next.
Studies have shown that it is common for people to gain about 10 pounds per decade. It’s pretty easy to put on about a pound each year. If fact, it might even be considered a victory to not have gained even more weight. The reality is that some months (or even some weeks) we might gain a pound or two. So if you are 20 something and weigh in around 165 lbs you might find yourself tipping the scales at around 175 in your 30’s. Not a big deal. You can probably fit in your same clothes, you can still play the sports you want to and you look pretty good.
If I still weighed what I did in my 30’s I’d be thrilled. But I’m past 50 and have continued on that trend to add 10 pounds each decade which means I weigh more than 30 pounds more than I did when I got married. I not only cannot fit into clothes from that era, I am on the cusp of moving into my 3rd size increase. The real kicker is that just over two years ago I weighed 15 pounds less than I do today. I’ve eaten poorly, stopped exercising, and quit weighing myself. It’s more than just not liking the way I look. The extra weight has slowed me down, increased my blood pressure, and made life more difficult.
So I am on the road to reversing what I have done to myself over the past several years. I’ll post my progress from time to time. But that’s not my point. I want to encourage this-generation leaders to trim down. To stop being a stereotype of overweight middle aged leaders – especially in the church. We can do this. We preach discipline all the time. Let’s listen to our own words. And for you next-gen leaders, resolve now to hold the line. Don’t be satisfied to be active and healthy in your 20’s & 30’s while letting the pounds sneak up on you in your 40’s and into your 50’s. Unless you are blessed with one of those rare metabolic conditions you will have to change the way you eat and be purposeful about exercising.
What do you do to take off the weight or keep it off?
About one month into it I have lost 5 pounds. I have exercised a little more the past 4 weeks but have seriously changed the way – and the amount that I eat. Only one burger in January, only 2-3 McDonald’s meals (if you know we at all you know that is huge!). I would be happy with a 5 lb/mo drop so will increase exercise more diligently to keep up the momentum.
UPDATE – 2
I never imagined that losing 10 lbs would be so difficult! Partly due to my age I’m finding that weight loss is not as automatic as it was just a few years ago. I am consuming hundreds fewer calories every day with little effect. Recent routine blood work revealed that cholesterol is still high, good cholesterol is too low, blood pressur eis still high (even with medication) and my triglycerides are ridiculous. Added to high uric acid levels my doctor recommends a low fat, low cholesterol, low carb, low sodium, low protein diet. Not sure what that leaves me! I am taking Omega-3 and garlic supplements and adding flax seed to my food. Have already worked to lower sodium. At Julie’s urging I have requested to meet with a dietician to find out what it is I can/should be eating! I’ve dropped almost 10 pounds since Jan 1 and would like to drop 15-20 more. Looks like that’s going to take longer than I expected.