Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Simple Plan

I'd love to introduce you to one fabulous and funny lady. I met Phyllis Williams at the PASIC conference in March. Just sharing a table with her over dinner convinced me I liked this person. She'd funny, witty, and a great writer to boot.

Take it away Phillis.

There’s nothing I love more than a string of good writing days. Unfortunately, as the pages stack up so do the pounds.

To combat the weight gain that comes along with endless hours of sitting in an office chair, I came up with a simple plan:

1. Choke down an apple a day.

2. Drink one glass of water per six-pack of Diet Coke.

3. Walk 30 minutes a day (laps around Target count).

4. Go to bed hungry.

Strict adherence to these rules has rewarded me with a not-so-fat ass I can squeeze into non-elasticized jeans. Not great, but I figured it was good enough for a woman in her mid-forties.

Until now.

First, our fortysomething First Lady shrugged off her prim cardigan to reveal sculpted arms reminiscent an Olympic gold medalist.

Then a favorite actress from my childhood took it to a new level by posing on the cover of People magazine in a skimpy bikini at 48-years-old.

Geez, what’s with these women and their buff bods? Didn’t they get the middle-aged lady memo? Our forties are a time to relax and feel good in our own cellulite-covered skin, not look better than women two decades younger.

I told myself it didn’t matter. Just because Michelle Obama and Valerie Bertinelli are turning heads doesn’t mean I have too.


But just like high school I succumbed to pressure of my peers.

So nowadays, instead of spending my precious non-writing time stretched out on the sofa watching King of the Hill reruns, I’m hitting the gym (you know, that place where you show up once a year to pay your dues, then disappear). I’ve gone from running to the refrigerator to running on the treadmill and lifting dumbbells instead of Pringles cans.

I’m still waiting to experience the rush of feel good endorphins that are supposed to accompany exercise. Meanwhile, I’m actually looking forward to my fifties, where hopefully women my age will be content to just let themselves go.


Babz Rawls Ivy said...

Hhmm... I am not sure I am feeling "The Pressure" But I am totally ENVIOUS of The First Lady's arms...WOW...reminiscent of Angela Bassetts role as Tine you remember how cut she looked?!!!!!!

I am thinking I want my 50's to be reminiscent of my 30's bodywise. So at 46 I gota put the work in!

Nice thought provoking post...sigh.

ChelleC said...

I'm in the same boat as you are. Even after losing some weight, there's the saggy flab skin. Toning up is tough. A belly ring is definitely out.

Phyllis Bourne said...

Lovebabz, I'm 46 too!!! I actually had those arms just a few years ago, but gave 'em up for Pringles and Cheez-it's. Trying to get them back is HARD!!!!

Chelle, Sigh, I've given up my belly ring dreams too.

Refhater said...

Welcome to K.F. Phyllis. I like that diet plan! Though I am a firm beliver that since chocolate comes from a bean it can be considered a vegetable.

I'd love to be skinny, but genetics and life are cruel. I'm doomed to be short and stumpy. (I'm on the tall side of my family at 5'3")

I say to heck with those overachievers. I may not be magazine cover worthy, but at least I'm happy. I've got friends & family who love me however I look.

Annie Solomon said...

I feel your pain, Phyllis--and I've already hit the 50 mark and going. I obsess over the weight constantly. I hit the gym and try to watch what I eat and I'm still 20 pounds over. Go figure. At some point you have to do the best you can and accept what your genes and your lifestyle have made you. And remember--Bertinelli has to look good because looking good is part of the business she's in. And Mrs. O is what--nearly six feet? Not to take anything away from her, but she'll ALWAYS look better in clothes than I will because she's got eight or nine inches on me. But I love your 4 rules. Especially the one that involves Target.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Phyllis!

Ugg! Writer's butt. Maybe if we sat on an exercise ball while we typed things wouldn't start spreading!

Thanks so much for joining up at KF today.


Anonymous said...

I just started a war against my body too. At 51 the goals change from trying to get into a bikini to trying to walk up a flight of steps without panting.

For me, the word "Hot" is now followed by "flash" instead of "body", but I've still made it my goal to be the fittest I've been in 20 years by this time next year.
Who's with me on this?

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Yeah, what Annie said. It's not my job to look sculpted and hot. Not that it's Mrs. Obama's, but the lady is definitely in the public eye more than, I assume, any of us. Imagine what the haterz would say if she weren't awesome both inside and out (like the haterz aren't already saying whatever they can think of...but you know what I mean.) That being said, it is my job to live long and prosper now that I have kids, so I eat healthy and live frugally and write romance!

Jody W.

Rowena Cherry said...

Alas, mee tooo.

The water rule is a good one. I hear that our bodies continue to tell us we're thirsty unless the liquid we swallow is water.

I'm told that munching a celery stick is negative calories and that it takes more energy to chew and digest celery than the celery provides.

My current strategy is to add turmeric or hot peppers, and a lot of wheat bran to everything. I don't look as fantastic as I feel... Yet!

Amina said...

great post!! I loove how funny the article is it!!
oh yes i understand the pressure!
I've never wore a bikini and don't intend too..
so i am letting this go

p.s: i want to look like you when i am 46

Unknown said...

Oh, Phyllis, you must've been staring in my window last night as I stepped on the scale! I know now that deadlines are deadly for my best-laid healthy living plans.

Each time something's due, I ditch all good intentions, cram in the carbs to stay awake and exit the frenzy with wonderful pages and extra weight. Yeah, sigh.

I'm 46 and this is truly the hardest of all my life goals. At this age, with so much to do, I love the simplicity of your rules and feel inspired enough to make a few -- that I can maintain -- of my own. Now, #1, up from surfing and off to the stairclimber!

Allison Brennan said...

I wouldn't be caught dead in a bikini even when I was a skinny teenager!! (and I did used to be skinny, before having five kids.) But I look at my friend Brenda Novak and think, DAMN!!! she had five kids too and she doesn't look like a pear. And then my 15 year old daughter is in varsity sports and can bench press 90 pounds. So I got a personal trainer. I had to. I won't exercise on my own. But I'm NOT happy about it. I'll be happy when my writer's butt is gone.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Phyllis,

Great blog! The First Lady is a great role model for women of all ages, IMO. I can't imagine how she does it, knowing she is in the public eye 24/70. And Valerie looks awesome for 48.

But, girl, you look gorgeous, too, so I don't know what you are complaining about.


Helen Scott Taylor said...

I'd frighten myself if I put on a bikini. When I passed the 50 mark, I decided to go easy on myself. I wouldn't say diets are a thing of the past, but I don't stress about weight as much any longer. My husband stresses about my weight on my behalf! I've just hidden a chocolate wrapper in the bottom of the bin so hubby doesn't find it tee hee.

Gemma Halliday said...

I am so with you! It's even less fair when a woman that much OLDER than you looks that much more fabulous. I chose to believe lipo was involved. And I will one day be able to afford it, too. ;)


Phyllis Bourne said...

Thanks for popping in ya'll. For some reason, I thought finally selling a book would make me instantly skinny. LOL!

@Refhater - You are so right! Chocolate comes from beans which makes it a veggie. Brilliant!

@AnnieSolomon - You make a good point about Mrs. O's height. I have some of the same outfits, but don't look nearly as cute in them.

@ChristieCraig - thanks for the invite. I'm a regular KF stalker. I advised my friend Chelle to try the exercise ball thing, but haven't attempted to balance my behind on one.

@LisaCooke - I'm with you, at least for the panting after a few flights of stairs. I'd love to be in great shape this time next year.

@Writer & Cat - You are the only person I've seen look absolutely svelte at 8 months pregnant.

@RowenaCherry - I've heard that about the water. By the time I think of it, I've already reached for the chips. And I saw you at a booksigning in Ohio a while back, you look fabulous!

@Amina - If I keep buying pricey make-up trying to look like you, I won't be able to afford a bikini!

@Stefanie - That's exactly it! I write best late at night and cram carbs to stay awake. My poison is Hershey bars dipped in regular Coke.

@AllisonBrennan - I really need to get a personal trainer, but I'm nervous about it. Oh, I loved your outfits at the PASIC conference.

@Faye - Thanks, Faye. I know they're both in the public eye. If I can't wear a bikini, I think I'd settle for a closet that didn't have more sizes than a clothing store.

@Helen Scott Taylor - My husband is naturally thin. In fact, he's eating Oreos and Snickers as I type. Grrrr!!!!

@Gemma Halliday - Congratulations to you! You know I thought I smelled a plastic surgeon. Nobody should look as great as those two at 40-plus!

Tami said...

Hilarious! Damn overachievers!

Trish Milburn said...

My days of a bikini are way gone. But I'm a year away from 40, and I want to lose 40 pounds by then. I'm exercising fairly regularly, but I need to up it and change what I'm eating.

Anthea Lawson said...

I started hula-hooping last year! No, really. These are not the hoops you think they are. They're bigger and heavier and, heck, centrifugal force works. I recommend looking up and also hoopnotica. And also? Try not to get too crazy when hooping inside. I only broke one lamp so far, and that ding on the TV? Barely noticeable...

Liz Fielding said...

Since seeing the picture of M O'B, I've been sitting on the sofa lifting armweights as I watch television.

I hit the "spreading" years at the same time as publication and still count my most serious mistake was buying a size larger skirt. The butt is now beyond saving despite putting in the hours on the wii.

Elysbeth said...

Ugh, I know, my husband took up all natural competitive body building for his mid-life-crisis and now I'm no longer excused. I'll have to stay in shape to keep up. (Who am I kidding...I'll have to Get In Shape first)

Colleen Thompson said...

Oh, body angst! I laughed at this post, because it's so true. Thanks for sharing!

Liane Spicer said...

Phyllis, I really, really wish you lived on this island, or I lived where you live so we could get together and have some of your discipline rub off on me!

I've given up on gyms because I'm the client that makes the owners happy and rich - I turn up full of motivation (usually after catching sight of my half-nekked bod in some changing room mirror), do the tour, hand over the cash and never grace the doorway again! So I go the dvd route but it's so easy to not 'feel' like doing the work and let it ride.

Why, oh why this pressure to look like my 15 year old niece in a bathing suit?

Phyllis Bourne said...

I know misery shouldn't love company, but I'm thrilled not to be the only one with a growing writer's butt!

@Tami - Sickening, aren't they?

@Trish Milburn/Tricia Mills - You look like you're a year from 30! Whatever you're doing to keep your skin looking so great, I need to follow you around so I can do it too.

@Anthea Lawson - I used to L-O-V-E hula hooping. Now I'm wondering if I can still keep a hoop up????

@Liz Fielding - LOL! I moved my hand weights to tv room too! I try to remember to use them during commercials!

@Elysbeth - Bodybuilding? Wow! Hopefully, my dh's mid-life crisis will include a red sports car.

@Colleen Thompson - I have to laugh to keep from crying.

@Liane Spicer - I'd probably be a bad influence. Instead of dragging each other to the gym, we'd go out for coffee and talk about going to the gym.

MoniMoni said...

Yeah, the "40's" are a trip...

I knew I had to lose weight when I was lying in bed and my once perky boobs went sideways and I saw my belly but not my feet.

So I cut back on eating and started dancing!

12lbs gone...8 more to go! (Actually, I have to lose 45lbs, but I figured I take them 20lbs at a time...)

Anonymous said...

Very well said. It seems as if the minute I hit 40, it all became challening (it was also the same moment I realized I needed "cheater" glasses to read the small print! Hope to see you back on your own blog, too.

Product Junkie Diva said...

As usual, i love your
An Mrs. O has some GREAT arms indeed. I know some teenagers jealous of those arms :-).

beautylogicblog said...

I'm proud of my arms too. I work hard as heck for them. The good thing is, you can work your arms out anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Great post, love the diet plan - very funny!

Beemeh said...

I am waiting for get the motivation to get back in shape too...