A Better Body at 45 Than at 20

As we age, it gets harder to keep weight off and stop once-perky parts from heading south. But sinking into the couch with a big bowl of gelato isn't the solution. Kathryn Gordon is one of five women we featured in the July/August 2012 issue who reshaped her body and life—at 45, she traded apathy for action. Now she can help you do the same

by Shelley Levitt
fit woman image
Gordon today (above); Gordon at close to 225 pounds, wearing what she calls a Pucci-inspired "moo-moo" (right).
Photograph: by Melanie Acevedo

MY BODY IN MY TWENTIES I wore lots of harem pants and loose tees in college, so my weight, 200-plus pounds, didn’t bother me. That changed when I got a job in publishing and needed to wear work clothes. One day I bent over and split my suit pants. Each morning I threw a tantrum in front of my closet. My pants and skirts were too tight; my blouses gaped. I’d try on 10 outfits and be in tears by the time I walked out the door. 

THE TURNING POINT Walking around my neighborhood with my two little girls, I noticed a few other overweight moms. They looked uncomfortable and unkempt, and I imagined they ate fried food, fed their kids doughnuts and lived in sloppy apartments. And then I realized, people may be thinking the same thing about me.

THE MAKEOVER In January 2010, I went to a party for the opening of a Soul Cycle Spinning studio near my apartment. I signed up for a class. Canceled it. Signed up for another class; canceled that, too. Then on Valentine’s Day a friend came over for a Champagne brunch, and later that day, still giddy from the bubbles, we took a Spin class together. I wore yoga pants and a big T-shirt so nobody could see my flabby arms. But I loved the energy in that room, and when I finished 45 minutes later, there was a huge puddle of sweat in front of my bike. I started going three, four, then five mornings a week. In a year, I dropped 40 pounds. I also began changing how I ate. I wasn’t a big overeater, but I ate mindlessly, pickingmac-and-cheese or chicken nuggets off my kids’ plates. At the end of the day, I’d unwind with a glass of wine—or three. So I cut out cheese, bread and all but the occasional glass of wine and added more fish and greens to my diet.

THE MILESTONE One day in Spin class, we were pedaling fast to the song “Proud Mary.” I had my eyes closed, and when I opened them, everyone was laughing. I had gone so fast, I’d actually moved my bike across the room.

MY BODY TODAY I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve reached 156 pounds, have added years to my life and am a better role model for my girls. Sure, my abs could be more toned and my arms more defined. But that’s fine-tuning. I’m proud of what I look like. I may not be a supermodel, but I walk with my head high, and I swagger.

Next: A Better Body at 33 Than at 20

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First published in the July/August 2012 issue

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