DAY 144 – 02/05/2013 – Reality Check!

Without meaning to, I have definitively demonstrated the fat burning potential of man vs woman. David and I have, in the vast majority of instances, had the same amount of physical activity over the last 5 months. During the Voyage of the Tramper, we have hiked the same mountains, kayaked the same rivers, biked the same trails and skied the same mountains.

And yet, David is losing weight. And me? Well, I seem to be gaining!


That was not one of the anticipated benefits of the Tramper Voyage. New, exhilarating experiences? Check. Beautiful vistas? Check. Meeting new, fun people from all over the country? Check. Lots of outdoor fun? Check. Getting slimmer and healthier? NO!

I do believe I am stronger. Especially, I am stronger than my cancer-treatment all-time low. I can now bike or hike up a mountain and ski moguls (and powder!). But, what’s missing from my fitter-self picture is this: My clothes are now more snug than when we left Baltimore! I am, frustratingly, gaining a bit of weight.

Here's the fat-a** Julie Andrews climbing the Alps to flee the Nazis.

Here’s the fat-a** Julie Andrews climbing the Alps to flee the Nazis.

How is this possible? Well, a number of factors seem to be at work here. The two standouts are these: I am middle-aged and I am a woman.

When I was working and looking forward to our trip, I anticipated how much more fit and slim I would get. No job to take all my time and energy so it was a given that my clothes would get a bit baggy on me. This has not happened.

So, I believe it’s time for me to acknowledge the differences between men and women, as far as weight goes. According to WebMD, men, because they have more muscle mass than women, burn more calories, even when sitting still. Women have a greater amount of fat, naturally. And, this article from the Mayo Clinic explains that women lose muscle mass after menopause. Muscle burns  fat, so the equation is quite simple, really. Men are much more efficient than women at fat-burning at any age.

Iris's figure stays slim and girlish

Iris’s figure stays slim and girlish

According to, “the bottom line is that if a man and a woman recline in a field and stare at the sky for an hour, the man will burn more calories than the woman.” Aargh! That’s frustrating as heck! To make matters worse, middle age slows down metabolism.

I really can’t expect to get more physical activity than David. He’s just so capable of putting more into every bike and ski ride than I am.  My level of activity is so high right now, if I try to ramp it up too much, to lose weight, I might hurt myself!

So, the advice of Weight Watchers to “Move More”, won’t really help me. Because I’m moving plenty!

The second tenant of losing weight is to eat less. There! That’s where I have erred these past months! I am eating the same foods, in the same way David does. And me with my fat-conserving, slowed-down metabolism!

It was a bit hard to find these chunky photos of me. I usually delete them all!

It was a bit hard to find these chunky photos of me. I usually delete them all!

We eat well. We pay attention to good nutrition. We eat for energy and rebuilding and good health. But, we love butter as well as spinach salad. Ice cream as well as an apple a day.

So, while David can go on eating Ben & Jerry’s, I guess I need to have an orange instead. If I don’t soon pull myself up short and stop eating so many fats and so much white sugar, we are going to look like Jack and Mrs Sprat!


It would be just sad to weigh more at the end of the Tramper Voyage than at the beginning!

– Jane

29 responses to “DAY 144 – 02/05/2013 – Reality Check!

  1. It’s just not fair and never has been! We also get a different distribution of weight, regardless of how careful we may be. Waistlines expand and we just don’t maintain the same shape even if our weight never changes from our 20s (I wish)! Gutsy entry! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. livingstonfamilyadventures

    I am sorry. I am surrounded by a fat burning man and 4 boys. I understand how you feel. I sit and sip my tea at night while gabe puts his spoon in the ice cream for “just one more bite”.

  3. My mom has hit a similar wall. No matter how much and hard she exercises, she can’t lose weight. She’s been really frustrated about it, trying everything from gluten-free dieting to dubious weight-loss supplements, to even cutting out alcohol. It sucks to hit that point where your usual plan of action just doesn’t cut it. — She succeeded in losing a bit of weight recently, when she stopped eating enough because her job was stressful. Not ideal! I guess I’m just trying to empathize… It’s great that you’re so active though, and having an enviable time!!!

  4. I feel your pain… truly! You are not alone in the snug clothes dilemma. Rick won’t accept menopause as a reason for weight gain (even though I tell him repeatedly its a proven fact that most women gain). He says its just an excuse for eating too much. I gained 15 pounds in the past three years and it seems near impossible to get off. Starvation is my next remedy. Those men-types sure have it easy in this arena. geeezzzz….

    • Ricky needs a reality check! He was made a fat-burning machine by no effort of his own. Our men are wonderful though, in spite of their svelte-ness, aren’t they?!
      – Jane

  5. Jane, Enjoyed the links. I’ve been lucky in that I have not gained much weight though I am definitely heavier than in my youth. I’m 59. All the articles say the same thing about muscle and Kenneth Cooper (who wrote the “The Aerobics Way”) also says the same thing. As we get older – we must lift weights and do more strength training. We need more muscles which will increase our metabolism. Try some modified push-ups (against picnic tables) and you can also emprovise some weights for other upper body exercises. Maybe some squats and lunges. Assuming you are not already doing that – but yeah . . . probably need to eat less too and/or different foods w/o sugar and fat. Still . . . as I think Jacqueline Bisset said, it’s good to have a little extra fat into middle age. It will fill out your wrinkles. 🙂 The great thing is you are feeling strong and health. Yea!

    • That’s a good tip, Cathy, and adding a bit of weight training is something I should do. I think about how I’ll hit the gym when I get home but you are so right that I can start right now with stuff that’s available!
      I sure will miss having cookies & ice cream & butter. Making a change in eating habits is hard.

      – Jane

  6. Doggone it. I took those picture highlighting action from the woman I love; now she’s got it all turned around. Well, my theory about why women gain is part physiology and part species survival. If men wither away the species will survive. If a woman loses too much, she becomes infertile (see marathoners cease menses) and there wont be any more people. Anyway, Jane stay who you are. If you are in fact, carrying anything extra, perhaps that’s what helped you survive chemo and the rest…
    -Love, David

  7. I feel your pain 😦 I thought I’d lose weight on this trip but the knit pants are getting tighter…yikes!

  8. I’m enjoying your posts and adventure. Also thanks for stopping by my blog. I was going to leave a comment here yesterday but I didn’t. My thought was, “Life’s not fair is it?” 🙂

    Peace and happy travels.

  9. Jane, as I approach 50, I can completely relate…..I’m more active than I’ve ever been, eat about the same, have eliminated my nightly glass of wine and alas, my waist line has continued to expand. It IS so unfair! But you’ve gained so much more than a little weight – my theory is that the weight gain is due an enriched spirit and zest for life – it’s all making your heart grow bigger (like the Grinch) which of course (!) would make your pants tighter – duh! Have a good damn time – and enjoy the ride…..We all love you just the same, no matter a little more jiggle. xxoo

  10. That sucks so incredibly bad. Garrr to our bodies (insert angry face) and these unfair differences! You should definitely be losing weight (or being at whatever your goal weight is) — you have clearly earned it!

    I think that the next time he goes and gets his Ben and Jerry’s, you should let him order it…then slap it to the ground and scream “NO-ICE-CREAM-FOR-YOU-THIS-IS-NOT-FAIR!”

    Okay, I’m totally joking 🙂

    Good luck with trying to manage your weight!

  11. Smile Jane, your a Knock out. Just hope Dave doesnt kick the bejebas out of me for saying so. Later Jason Shields

  12. First: you are BEAUTIFUL!!! (And FUNNY, which is more important.)

    I like The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. My stepdaughter and I are making awesome progress growing muscles. I use, a free app, to track nutrition to make sure I’m hitting the protein ratios (provided in the book, 30% cals, I think) and not overeating. The protein bump has made me feel better and start to really see some muscle gain. I, too, am experiencing the challenge of aging and know that muscle is your friend in the battle. This book has helped learn to feed my body instead of starve it.

    You’re an inspiration.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.


    • Thanks for the book recommendation, Nia! It sounds like a good one to pick up when we get home. Interestingly, one of the websites I got background info from for the post said that men crave protein and women crave carbohydrates, so adding some protein and subtracting some carbs might be just what I need.
      – Jane

  13. Pingback: DAY 152 – 02/09/2013 – POW! | The Voyage of the Tramper

  14. And just to clarify…..I meant that you’ve gained a whole lot in spirit -not in weight. you look the same……And I agree with Jason – you’re beautiful inside and out. Love you!

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