New Book Offers Hope to Women Over Fifty Feeling Stuck

Lynn Weimar’s new book Be Free Beyond Fifty: Stop Hiding, Unlock Your Dream, and Step into a Vibrant Life opens with the powerful words the author was told by a counselor: “You are enough.” It’s a message too many women need to hear, as Lynn knows well. Lynn works as a coach who helps women who struggle with emotional eating, food addiction, obesity, feeling stuck, and feeling unfilled. Often that feeling of being stuck is tied to a sense of low self-esteem or hopelessness, a sense that they can do nothing to make their situation better.Because Lynn has learned how to get unstuck herself, she has now written this book to assist other women in stepping into the vibrant life she has found and knows they deserve. Be Free Beyond Fifty is not a book about weight loss, but as Lynn states, for many women, being stuck takes on the form of extra pounds, spurred on by emotional eating to cope with the issues in their lives. Sometimes the weight then becomes part of why they are stuck, making them more stuck. Other times, they are stuck due to shame, guilt, regret, maybe a failure to forgive a past wrong, or just simply believing they are not good enough to succeed.Rather than focusing on calories and how to lose that extra pound, Lynn challenges her readers to look at the problems that underlie the symptoms. We do this by looking into what Lynn calls the “mirror of reckoning.” She explains: “This is the mirror to help you begin to understand, for you and you alone, what you have been clutching as a security blanket to help you get through another day. This mirror leads to your freedom, because once you understand what you’re doing to keep yourself trapped, and why you’re doing it, you are on the path to a beautiful life.” She adds that in looking into that mirror and seeking to change, it’s important that you “Understand you are worth this journey. You are a woman of worth.”Looking in the mirror means seeing the real us. Too often, we hide behind various identities-mom, wife, perfect wife, churchgoer, etc. We also hide behind our failures, letting them define our identity. We can hide behind a desire for perfection or a fear that causes us to procrastinate. In either case, we learned that behavior through our interactions with others who made us start to think small. One of my favorite moments in the book was when Lynn told the story of when she had to work on a school project with a friend in third grade. As they were getting started, her friend remarked, “You like this, don’t you?” Instantly, Lynn felt it was not cool to enjoy doing schoolwork, and this led to her trying to be cool in everything, including procrastinating at doing her homework. Too often, we let others’ judgments determine who we are, what we like, and how we behave. Today, Lynn has learned to stop doing that, and she provides us with tools to change it.Another major revelation Lynn makes is that we have to quit focusing on what other people have done to us or the mistakes we’ve made. A mistake is just a mistake. It is not those events but our beliefs about those events that shape our current state of mind. We need to change our belief or story around the event. We also have to realize that what may have been true, or seemed true, in the past, is not necessarily the reality of our present.All these changes require a shift in our thinking, and Lynn provides an excellent example of the simplicity of the kind of shift that may be required by discussing a woman she knew who would be so busy with work and family obligations all week that she let the household chores fall by the wayside; then she would rage clean all weekend while she beat herself up for not keeping up with things. Finally, one day she realized she was not behind in her cleaning. She shifted her attitude to the idea that on the weekend she would clean so she would be ahead for the week and then have a clean house all week so she didn’t have to worry about the cleaning. This shift instantly made her feel better, and it helped all her family feel better because she felt better.There is tons of more excellent advice and words of wisdom in Be Free Beyond Fifty, but I’ll conclude with mentioning one that may be the most significant. Lynn offers here a profound realization:”Nothing happens to us; it only happens for us. When we really begin to believe this, it changes everything. It takes us out of ‘why me?’ mode and puts us into gratitude. How does it do that? Adopting this belief that everything happens for our ultimate good puts us into a different frame of mind. It puts us in the attitude of looking for the lesson in every circumstance. When we carry this attitude around with us, it puts us on the lookout for what we can learn from this situation. We start looking for that silver lining in the dark cloud.”I’ve come to believe this perspective myself, difficult as it can be at times. And now this book has come along to reaffirm it for me. Perhaps now this book has come along so that reading it and applying its message can also be something that happens for you.

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