I’m in my 60’s and I’m an athlete. No, I don’t do anything amazing like running marathons. I’m just really fit. It wasn’t always that way. Born pre-Title Nine, I wasn’t exposed to sports; there were no teams for girls. I grew up smoking with friends at the mall. In my 30’s I quit smoking and began working out. Over the years I ran, lifted weights, and was physically active.
In middle age, working full-time, raising kids, I didn’t make time for myself. I gained weight, lost weight, and began years of yo-yo dieting. I tried every weight loss program available, losing 25 pounds then gaining 30, losing 30 then gaining 35. In my fifties, I topped out at 174 pounds! I’m barely 5 feet tall.
As my weight went up, my physical health deteriorated. I experienced stiffness in my joints, difficulty bending down and getting up off the floor, high cholesterol, and nagging, constant knee problems. After surgery in one knee, my doctor said I had severe arthritis and I should limit strenuous activities. Luckily, another wise doctor suggested I begin biking to strengthen my quadriceps to take pressure off my knees and to lose weight. I followed her advice. I wanted to change, but where to start?
I decided to make a long-term lifestyle plan combining healthy eating and consistent exercise that continues to this day. I decided I would never diet again, I committed to eating healthy most of the time, and not to deprive myself when I really wanted to eat something. By reading books about healthy food like Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Food Rules by Michael Pollen and watching documentaries like “Food Inc.” and “Forks Over Knives”, I began to consistently make choices to eat fresh, wholesome foods because they were good for my body (and good for the environment, too).
With a long road back to fitness, I committed to exercise, no matter the duration or type, at least 5 days a week, making it the most important thing I did each day. I began walking, at first listening to motivational tapes, just to keep my discouraged voice silenced. Miraculously a young yoga teacher-in-training established her first yoga class at the elementary school where I worked. We were a small group and I couldn’t let her down by not showing up. My weight gradually dropped. I joined an obscure gym where I wouldn’t know anyone! I took spin classes and rode a hybrid bike around town. Eventually, my weight was down 40 pounds. I began taking Pilates mat classes three times a week which helped develop a strong core, then, eventually, body toning/bootcamp kinds of classes. Over time, I gradually lost more weight, 2 to 3 pounds at a time, until I reached my goal weight. My pain and physical limitations disappeared. I began feeling so much fitter and healthier, I was motivated to become a Personal Trainer to share the joy of transforming one’s fitness.
Feeling already pretty fit and strong, I began progressive strength training, stepping up my weights along with daily mobility exercises. This has been a life changer, like taking a youthfulness pill. Day-to-day life, activities and sports are so much easier! I keep changing it up and doing all sorts of things I never dreamt I’d be doing again. The trainers at our gym signed up for a 5k run. I hadn’t run in 20 years yet with a few months of minimal training I came in 2nd in my age group. I did Crossfit with people half my age. I’ve dabbled in masters swimming, road biking, golf. The strength training gives me a base of fitness that enables me to jump in and make a decent effort at whatever I try. Rather than declining with age, I have continued to get stronger. I enjoy participating in a variety of activities and am satisfied to be just really fit!
Now I am enjoying helping others become their healthiest self, FIT FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE!