Spring into Action

I have progressively added approximately 30 pounds over the last seven years or so. I weighed 140 when I turned 50. Now that I’m almost 58, I saw the scale tip at about 175+ right before the Holidays.

Every week, I would start my diet over, trying everything from diet apps to counting calories. I reluctantly went to my local gym and would either go on the stationery bike or treadmill for my standard 30 minutes, not even breaking a sweat. But nothing happened. I just kept adding on the pounds and started to feel more and more out of shape.

It was right around the Holidays that I looked at picture of me that was taken at a Happy Hour. Gosh, I was fat. The bulky dress I liked to wear really didn’t hide my rolls. But since the Holidays, I have now officially lost 15 pounds. I started Weight Watchers again, something I’ve done off and on throughout my whole life. I’m not going to meetings, because quite frankly, I don’t think any of those leaders really understand what I’m going through, and they talk about the same thing every time. No offense, but I know that the chocolate cake I had last night is why I’m up on the scale, and I know why I ate the chocolate cake–I was either upset, tired or bored, or maybe all of the above. The only thing to get me to not eat the chocolate cake was the ability to change my thinking.

In addition, I dropped going to my fitness center. I needed a variety in exercise, and I signed up for the Daily Burn and started the exercise plan New Beginner. It mixes stability, mobility, cardio and core exercises, and I never thought I’d feel the effects of a video workout, but I am. Not only am I losing the weight, but I’m actually trimming down the stomach bulge due to the core exercises. And, if I can do it, just about anyone can.

It hasn’t been a fast process, but every day that I’m down even .2 pounds on the scale, I’m doing the happy dance, and it gives me incentive to keep going. Overall, my mood is better–I’m happier, more confident and when I look at myself in the mirror, that double chin and belly roll is getting smaller.

So, tips for losing that weight, which we all know gets harder and harder to do the older you get–

  1. Look at yourself in those pictures and be honest with yourself–how do I really look, and remember that image in your mind and remember how you really feel when you see yourself like that.
  2. Weight Watchers–tried and true, as boring as it may seem sometimes, it most definitely works. The plan has changed so much and when I compared some foods in calories to number of points, it was no wonder I wasn’t losing weight when I was counting calories. Remember the 3-point McDonald’s ice cream cone? It’s 6 points now.
  3. Workout variety–switch it up. The Daily Burn has lots of different exercise videos/programs that last for 6-8 weeks, ranging from beginner to advanced. I’ve never liked to work out, but the fact that I have a different video to watch every 3 days keeps me engaged.
  4. You can’t cheat–no matter what! Every time I think I can just go out and have that special treat or elaborate meal at a restaurant, I work 3-4 days to get back to where I was. I like to cheat on my Weight Watchers points, thinking that the fat-free Ranch dressing I’m using for my carrots is so low in calories, it can’t possibly have points (it has 1/tablespoon). Also, I would never count those beers at bowling–it’s liquid, but my particular beer is 19 points. I’ve started counting them.
  5. Don’t eat out–cook at home. There is no excuse not to cook at home. I’m single and only have myself to cook for. I’ve signed up for Home Chef and have chosen their low-calorie meals. For about $59, I get three meals delivered weekly, two servings each, so I have leftovers for the next day. That price includes all the ingredients except for salt, pepper and olive oil. You can’t buy it cheaper in the grocery store. These meals are fresh and healthy and usually fall within the Weight Watcher 10-15 point range.
  6. Be patient–the weight doesn’t fall off quickly at this age, but know that every tenth of a pound adds up, and that’s why I’m down 15 pounds now.



Setting High Standards

This article from 2011 came across my FaceBook news feed this morning. It rang very true for me, especially when I wrote earlier that I believe I suffer from low self-esteem and that is why I settled for the men I did when I got married.

The article is entitled, We Date At the Level Of Our Self-EsteemThe article states, if you don’t love, honor and cherish yourself, you will settle.

As women in our 50s, whether married or not, we need to love ourselves, know who we are, set high standards and not settle. Whether it’s in a romantic relationship, a friend relationship or even relationships at work.

If you are still trying to figure out who you are and what it is that you want for this latter portion of your life, start by making a list of your goals or things that you want in your life. Then break this list down by years–what do you hope to accomplish in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10. Then break that down–in order to accomplish this in 1 year, I will need to do this each month or have this accomplished in 3 months, etc. Here is an example:

One-Year Goal: Lose 35 pounds: 3-5 pounds/month

  • Exercise 6x per week for 30-40 minutes: start with 3x per week for one month, add one day for each month thereafter, building up to 6x per week by six months
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables/day: replace nightly snack of ice cream with an apple for one month, then replace another unhealthy snack with carrots and humus in second month and so on

So, if you break it down, it doesn’t seem to be quite as overwhelming. At the end of every weekend, I say to myself, “I am going to start my diet tomorrow, and I’m going to the gym every day and working out for an hour.” I do it for one or two days, and then I’m back to my old habits. Realistically, who can go from barely working out at all to working out 6 days a week? It’s like giving up every bad habit you have cold turkey! That’s enough to send anyone into a tail spin! Set the goal, break it down and work your way up (or down). Yes, it takes a while longer to get there, but the result will be one that will stick.

Then, once you’ve reached your goal, you will love and cherish yourself, knowing that you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do. When you continue to slip back into old habits, you beat up on yourself, which leads to the thought process of “I’m no good. Can’t succeed at anything,” and if you don’t think highly of yourself, who will?

Finally, make sure you revisit your goals–write them down in a notebook that you can carry with you. Read them daily, weekly, monthly. Remind yourself what your intentions are and then seek to obtain them!





50 and Divorced

Referred to as the “Gray” or “Silver” divorce, the number of divorcees in their 50s is on the rise. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 17 percent of people age 50+ were either divorced or separated as of 2011. A 2014 Bowling Green State University study indicates that more than 1 in 4 people who are in divorced are 5o years of age or older.

According to these studies, our baby boomer generation doesn’t hold the same beliefs in the sanctity of marriage as our parents did. Baby boomers want to have it all–follow their hears, so to speak, and with new medical procedures, we can look younger longer. While part of the baby boomer generation, if you have read my story, I didn’t get divorced because I “wanted it all” or was a restless baby boomer. I divorced because of addiction and abuse.

But, the repercussions of divorce in your 50s are numerous, especially for women. Financial hardships being the most obvious. I, for example, am divorced and still have a child to put through college. I don’t envision being able to retire at age 65. Many lose their support systems–couple friends that they have had most of their married lives are no longer there. Many end up feeling lonely with no one to call should they need company, support or physical help.

It’s important as women that we find a strong support network. Just the other day, my back went out on me, and I literally had to crawl to my bed. The fact that I was alone was scary, and my son joked that he was going to have to get me “life alert”. I didn’t find that any too humorous.

But the realities are there. Being single in your 50s, you don’t have the same resources as single women in their 20s or 30s. Our health will begin to fail, and we don’t have as long to build a retirement nest egg. Keeping yourself healthy by exercising and eating right is essential, and keeping your mind young and your business skills fresh, particularly in the area of technology, is also essential.


And Now, the Rest of the Story

So for 13 years, I was married to a man with an addiction, and it was after my mother died, that I decided to move on. Divorce was considered taboo in my family, and now that both my parents had passed away, well, there was nothing stopping me from finally moving on to greener pastures. I had a wonderful son from this marriage, who was only five-years-old when I decided to leave. He was my main concern, but I knew at the end of the day, this was not a healthy environment for him to grow up in.

The time was before Internet dating, and I was fortunate enough to have some friends introduce me to another friend of theirs’…someone they had known their whole lives. That being said, how could I go wrong. He was funny, didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. He seemed very nice, but as time went on, there were some red flags. He was a bit controlling, overly jealous and he had no real love for my son. Regardless, once again, I thought this was the best I could do, and definitely an improvement over the last.

But, this marriage was filled with emotional and verbal abuse. Both my son and I were victims of it. In addition, he sexually assaulted me throughout our marriage–blackmailing me to have sex with him. If it wasn’t blackmail, it was put downs or insinuations that I was having affairs and that’s why I didn’t want to have sex. I, unfortunately, did not recognize what was going on until my daughter brought home information from her health class at school and said, “Dad does every single one of these things,” as she pointed to the characteristics of verbal abuse. I literally thought everything was my fault, and I kept trying harder and harder to please him so that he wouldn’t get mad. I covered for my son–taking the garbage out if he forgot so that my husband wouldn’t yell at him. We sought out numerous counselors, all of which told him and me that HE was the problem. He would agree, say he wanted to change, but nothing changed. Then one night he accused me of having sex with my son. He accused me in front of our 12-year-old daughter, and I said, “That’s it–get out,” and I never looked back at my decision.

Yes, we had a daughter, who is actually now 17. She’s amazing–actually both of my children are. Given the circumstances that they have had to grow up in, they have beat the odds and have turned out to be just about perfect. People tell me all the time what a great job I have done and that I am a wonderful mother. I would like to take all the credit, but somehow I think it’s God’s way of giving me sunshine through the darkness.

So, that’s my story. I have now been officially divorced from my second husband for about three years. He had a girlfriend before our divorce was even final, and he’s still with her today. I often wonder if she has to deal with the same treatment that I did. I, on the other hand, have not dated at all. I’ve been busy raising my daughter, but I’ve also been scared. Scared that I don’t even know what a healthy relationship looks like. Scared that I’m not attractive to the opposite sex. Scared that I will settle again.

My daughter will be leaving for college in two weeks, and now for the first time, literally, in my entire life, I will be alone. It’s my time now to figure out who I am, what I want and then get it and become what I aspire to be.



How Vain are You?

While I take a short reprieve from telling you my life story and how I got to where I am today, I wanted to talk about all those things that people start to do as they get older to help them look younger. Botox? Liposuction? Dying your hair? Facelift? Dental implants? Cabinets full of anti-aging creams?

Truthfully, I haven’t done any of these. First of all, I’ve been blessed with some pretty good genes. I have no gray hair (seriously, none) and wrinkles on my face are slim to none. I’m not exaggerating here, either. Most people I meet think I’m in my mid-to-late 40s. The fact that I’ve raised a teenage daughter during my 50s has also kept me young and “hip”, particularly with social media. Not only do I Facebook, but I Instagram and Snapchat.

But, I do have one feature that has plagued me most of my adult life. Apparently my mother took some type of medication when she was pregnant with me so that she would not miscarry. Remember, she was 45 years old and also had three prior miscarriages. That being said, apparently the medication caused a darkening of my teeth from the inside out, something that no white strips or polishing will ever correct. My teeth are not yellow, just a very light shade of gray. When I was younger, well, quite frankly, I don’t think teeth whitening was a thing, and so it really wasn’t an issue for me. But, as time went on, teeth starting getting whiter, and mine continued to not only stay dark, but also started to shift.

In my late-30s, I investigated what it would take to have a perfect mouth. First, I would have to get braces, have approximately six teeth pulled in the process and then have the braces on for two years. Twenty years ago, this would have cost me $7,000. Then I would have to have veneers made for my teeth to make them be white–another $7,000–for a total of $14,000. I resigned myself to say, I’m not that vain.

Sometimes I wonder if this has contributed to my overall lack of self esteem. When I meet people for the first time, I often wonder, “Are they looking at my teeth? Do they wonder why I don’t get them whitened?” I’ve contemplated going through the process to fix them now, twenty years later, because I think, with a perfect smile, well, maybe I could land a hot date with a 30-something! Other times, I think that the pain (teeth being pulled, tightening of braces) and the cost–well, is it really worth it at this point in my life? Will a perfect smile make me feel better about myself, make me feel more youthful and add enjoyment and pleasure to my later years in life? Is there a price tag that you can place on that? Is it really vanity, or just wanting to feel good about yourself?

So for you, maybe it’s not your smile, but you might be struggling with something else–gray hair, wrinkles, cellulite, whatever. Expensive procedures to help slow down the aging process or change what isn’t quite right–is it about vanity? Or, is it a means of sanity for the last quarter of your life?


How Did I Get Here?

Have you ever woke up one morning and thought, “How in the world did I get here?” Here we are, in our 50s–well, I’m actually pushing 60 (3 years and counting), and is life everything you imagined and more?

For some of you, life may be great. Amazing (or close to amazing) husband, loving marriage, successful children, grandchildren, mortgage is paid off or about to be…wow! Life is grand. Sure, you’ve had your ups and downs, but for the most part, you’ve been “blessed”. Which, by the way, I detest the phrase, “I’m so blessed.” Really? And the rest of us haven’t been?

Then for some of us (and I include myself in this category), life did not turn out how we fantasized it would be back when we were in our youth. I always thought I’d find Mr. Right, be happily married and ready for retirement, traveling the country, and maybe even the world, with my husband. My children would be grown, successful, and I would have in-laws that I adored and grandchildren galore.

So, I have one of the things I listed above–successful children. Or, at least one is. (“I’ve been blessed.”–UGH!) My other child is just ready to begin college, but has high aspirations and the potential to be a successful musician one day. (Yes, musicians can be successful, but that’s a discussion for another time.) Everything else–notta. I suppose I can also say I’ve been reasonably healthy, which I am very thankful for, so I don’t want to sound like my whole life has been a crap hole.

So, how did I get here? This is where I go into the psychoanalysis of me and why I made the not-so-good choices in my life. For whatever reason, I, like many women, suffer from extremely low self esteem. Why? I’m not sure (subject for another blog). As far as I can tell, my parents adored me. My parents were farmers, and they didn’t have much time to spend with me. To add to the lack of attention that I felt, my parents were quite old when I was born. My mother was 45, and my father was 51–pretty unheard of in the 1950s. Having much older siblings, I grew up as an only child.

I was fairly shy among strangers, although very outgoing among friends–often the life of the party. But, among the opposite sex, I had very low self esteem, believing that I wasn’t attractive. Part of this could have been the fact that every one of my high school friends had a boyfriend and was married within two years after high school graduation. Or, maybe I really wasn’t attractive….(see, I still believe it was me). I was the only one who went on to a 4-year university and obtained my Bachelors’ degree. Truthfully, I would have been happier to stay in my small town, marry a farmer and raise children.

So, at the ripe old age of 21, I thought I was an old maid. I was getting ready to graduate from college and no boyfriend or any prospects of marriage. Good lord, what would I do when I graduated? So, one night, I met a gentleman (well, not really a gentleman), who was interested enough in me to call me after a night of 25-cent beers, and continued to call me, until finally he whisked me off to a jewelry store three months later to pick out a ring. Wow! He must love me, I thought, and I had little to no regard as to how I felt or even who he was, but I can tell you, I wasn’t feeling love, and I didn’t know anything about him.

So why would I marry him, you ask? Please tell me that there aren’t others out there who didn’t do the same thing? You’re well-educated, smart, successful, but maybe no common sense, rose-colored glasses? Maybe didn’t believe you could do better? Yes, that was me. For better or for worse, I married a man that I didn’t love, a man who was addicted to alcohol, drugs and gambling. A man who had been married 3 times before me (yup…you read right…I was wife #4). For 13 years I stayed in this relationship, because for better or for worse, it’s what I chose, I believed it was all the better I could do and so I needed to live with it.

And later this week, the rest of the story….


If you have arrived at this site, it’s probably because of one or two reasons…

  1. You are a woman, and/or
  2. You are at least 50 years of age.

If so, you are at the right place. Now, let me introduce myself….

  • My “pen” name is Marti Lynn Lewis
  • I am 57 years old
  • Married at age 22
  • Had one child (boy) at the age of 28
  • Divorced at age 35
  • Remarried at age 37
  • Had one child (girl) at the age of 39
  • Divorced at age 53
  • Soon to be empty nester
  • Not in a relationship = single
  • Always wanted to be a writer (who doesn’t)
  • Tired of talking to myself and writing depressing entries in my journal
  • Now sharing my depressing journal entries with others 

So, if you’re single, married, empty nester, no children, grandchildren, whatever your circumstances are, the only requirement to enjoy this site is that you are a woman and are over the age of 50. Be prepared to laugh, cry and reflect on what your life has been and all the wonderful possibilities your life still has for the future. Hopefully we will learn some things along the way as well, like how to take care of yourself (eat right, exercise), travel tips, financial advice, dating in your 50s, care taking and so much more. I want to make every day of the rest of my life the best that it can be. Won’t you join me? (P.S. Article suggestions and comments are always welcome!)