Eat, Drink and Be Healthy

Losing 10 pounds before she turns 50 and keeping it off

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
Thursday, February 25, 2010

I am going to lose 10 pounds.

There, I've said it. Now I really have to do it.

I don't think anyone's first impression of me is that I'm fat. But for as long as I can remember, I've been carrying around about 10 extra pounds. They pad my bottom and my belly. They form a pair of flaps on the backs of my arms that I swear could lift me aloft in a windstorm. They give me an extra chin. And they make my jeans feel tight.

I've grown accustomed to those 10 pounds. But when I turned 49 in December, it occurred to me that I don't want to keep that extra weight into my 50s. If I don't shed it before my next birthday, I fear it will be with me forever. Given everything I've heard about how hard it is to lose weight after menopause, especially given the metabolic slowdown that starts in our 30s and becomes more pronounced with each following decade, I figure it might be now or never.

So I would like to lose 10 pounds by June 30. But I won't really feel successful unless I've kept the weight off by the time I turn 50 on Dec. 6.

Today I weigh 145 pounds. At 5 feet 4 inches, I have a body mass index of 24.9. That's precisely at the high end of healthy. Losing 10 pounds would lower my BMI to 23.2, in the middle of the healthy range.

Right now my blood pressure and cholesterol are generally good. I jog on the treadmill for 45 minutes nearly every day and take a vigorous, 90-minute vinyasa flow yoga class four days a week. Even so, losing 10 pounds should make me feel better.

Shedding this weight poses different challenges from losing the amount of weight you see on "The Biggest Loser." It's not going to require major life changes, the discipline of a personal trainer or a radical change to my diet. Instead, it's going to take a lot of small but lasting tweaks and refinements to the way I already do things.

I'm lucky that, as a nutrition columnist, I have access to lots of weight-control experts who are happy to share advice. I'll be talking to several of them as I work toward my goal, and I'll let you know what they tell me. In the meantime, I hope many of you who have your own 10 pounds to lose will join me on my journey.

I'll keep you posted on Twitter and in The Checkup blog. I look forward to your tweets and comments. Who knows? This might actually be fun!

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