For most of my adult life my weight has oscillated between 200 and 215 pounds. Being on the lighter end of that range meant that I was eating fairly well and exercising often; the heavier end indicated I was either overeating or underexercising. When I found myself drifting toward 215, I cut back on my calories and hit the gym more often until I got back down to around 200. Then, as summer ended and the winter months ensued, I would slowly rise back up to the 215 level again.
I accepted this range as a part of who I was and didn't give it much thought because I was sure that I could always lose the weight whenever needed.
Then something funny happened.
I turned forty.
Drifting back down to 215 suddenly became a chore. It didn't matter how many times I went to the gym or how many calories I cut - the weight refused to come off. Those extra pounds clung to me like an amorous, coiled python (shit, that is one crappy simile)!
For a year or two I resigned myself to the idea that this was middle-age and that I had reached that point in my life where my body would simply deteriorate or swell of its own accord regardless of the preventative measures I forced upon it. But try as I might, I could not throw in the towel that easily.
Now, before I go any further I must state that I am not narcissistic about my body. I have no interest in posting pictures of myself on Instagram or attracting attention at the beach. For me, working out was always a means of compensating the lack of physical activity inherent in my work. I have always been more interested in how I feel rather than how I look. Truth be told, after I turned forty, I did not feel to well physically. I was lethargic. I had aches and pains. I slept poorly. My gut incessantly pushed up against my belt. Oddly enough, going to the gym slowly became a game of diminishing returns. I contemplated a course of action for months, but I was oblivious to the changes I should make.
Then one day toward the end of this summer I had a revelation. I decided I would try eliminating refined carbohydrates and sugar from my diet, and I would quit the gym and take up calesthenics. Both represeneted major changes for me. For one, I love refined carbs, especially bread and pastries. Secondly, I had been going to gyms since I was sixteen, so I could barely conceive of what I would do to substitute what had become an integral part of my life.
Eliminating the carbs proved easier than I anticipated. Though it was odd to eat eggs in the morning without toast and forgo pasta at dinner, I quickly became accustomed to eating only meat, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. As for exercising, instead of the gym I began routine of old-fashioned bodyweight exercises: push-ups; chin-ups; pull-ups; sit-ups; squats; dips; and so on. I completed these outside regardless of the weather. When I started, I could barely manage three pull-ups on a bar, which made me wonder just what the hell all those years in the gym had really accomplished in terms of fitness and physical strength. Undeterred, I kept at it throughout the autumn.
The results? Well after four months, I have lost more than twenty pounds. I am now 190 and have never felt better.
I am not a doctor, or a fitness guru, or a nutrionist. I would not go so far as to say making the changes I have made would produce similar results for you, but for me the transformation has been quite remarkable. If you are pushing forty and are having trouble staying fit, give low-carb + calesthenics a try. It could be the thing for you, too. And you can do it without expensive programs, memberships, and products. I have saved a couple hundred dollars in gym fees alone since I switched to at-home body weight exercises.
A ton of free material exists on both subjects on the internet, but I only researched the basics. The trick is to know your own body and discover what works and does not work for you. For the calesthenics part, I did only the most basic reading up. As for diet, I don't think you have to go full tilt keto or whatever they call the latest fad. Your body will tell you what it needs - all you have to do is tell your body it doesn't need pancakes and muffins. Simply get out there, start exercising, cut the excess carbs from your plate, and you are sure to see results rather quickly.