I will preface this post by stating, I am 49 yrs old. (WOW! Hold on… when I say it aloud it makes me a bit dizzy!) I am sharing that information because if you choose to read on, it impacts the content. I am not 20 or 30 where one’s metabolism is higher and exercise comes a bit easier… ok, now continue…
Healthier living can sometimes lead to the domino effect… one healthy swap of double veggie instead of fries with the meal is an excellent example. Water or club soda instead of regular soda or even worse, diet soda, just a few times a day has a huge impact on your sugar, calorie, and chemical intake.
At first you may think, “it’s just one meal, seriously how much can that impact my weight or attitude toward eating and food?” but it does. Your body does not want to be filled with chemicals (yes you are taking in chemicals daily, stop it!) or too much food. It was built to run at an optimum weight with a specific fuel intake, just as any amazing machine or engine does. Your automobile will run much better on high octane fuel than the very low octane fuel option. It will take several tankfuls to notice but it does indeed happen. The same idea can be said for your body. Fueling it with ‘high octane’ and healthy choice foods will allow it to run more effectively and more efficiently.
One of my mantras — if I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it. Trust me when I say this wasn’t easy for me either. Years ago I would stand in the cookie aisle and just stare at the Oreos (or ice cream pie) remembering their chocolatey goodness and devouring half a package without much thought (not in the aisle at the store, although the thought had occurred to me on more than one occasion). Present day, if I had one, it one be just that, just one. I don’t miss them and they are much too sweet. But how did I stop eating them? I stopped buying them; what a concept! What quenches my desire for chocolate these days without eating three pounds of it? Dark chocolate; not the high sugar content dark chocolate (typically distributed in the US) but something along the lines of Lindt chocolate. One or two bites and it satisfies the craving without packing on the high doses of poorly constructed chocolate.
As one small healthy choice will lead to another… you may become more aware of what you eat, how you feel, and take a second look at unhealthy foods and the price tag that comes with it. “Do I want to trade that delicious spinach/cheese/artichoke dip for an extra 2 miles walk?” “Do I really need 3 glasses of wine instead of 2? Tastes delicious now but my sleep will pay dearly for it”… It takes 3500 calories to burn off one pound of weight. EEK! Food will slowly start to become equated with exercise or other trade-offs without much forethought with that figure lingering in your head.
A body in motion stays in motion. I have started to be much more consistent with exercise this last month or so and in doing so I found it somewhat shocking that after a workout, even though I was exhausted, an hour later I didn’t want to just sit down, I wanted to keep moving in some way. I wouldn’t categorize it as having ‘more’ energy as some people do, but I did recognize that I didn’t want to just sit and watch television. It usually ended with the thought of, well guess I will do some chores that I absolutely hate (scrubbing the bathtub is always last on the list). This didn’t happen at first. At first all I wanted was to lay down, catch my breath, pray I would not be too sore to move the next day, and ultimately nap. It was a solid week and a half of exercising before I felt comfortable with it and then moved onto the ‘staying in motion’ feeling.
Looking forward to the ‘sore’. I have had to ramp up my workouts just so I can get that ‘sore’ feeling back. A feeling of- I’m not sure if I can walk let alone hold a spoon- may be alarming at first, but then I started looking forward to it because I knew it found a new muscle group that was in hiding. Simply using the treadmill (notice I didn’t say running, because I hate running, all I do is a fast paced walk and use the incline for more calorie burn), using the stair climber, or the yoga sessions plateaued and I needed to tweak it up. I needed to know I was testing and pushing my body to a different level. I didn’t want anything too extreme (I am looking at you CrossFit) but something to change things up to my weekly routine.
If you are already an avid fan of exercise, try something new. Bring your workout vertical! So here is your laugh of the day, pole exercise. It is not dancing, there are no sexy moves, it is using the pole as an instrument against your body and gravity to pull yourself vertical or push yourself horizontal against the pole. Not many forms of exercise will have you using a vertical plane and a multitude of different muscle groups, especially the tiny ones you didn’t know you had. Running, planking, weight training, all great exercise but they continue to use the typical horizontal plane that we all exist on. Start thinking pole exercise and aerial silks to change things up. Adding the new dimension of vertical against gravity in addition to requiring the extra balance (and being off the ground) is a whole new challenge you will welcome to your exercise routine.
A better night sleep. Who doesn’t want that? Once you take that first step to a healthier you, sleeping through the night can be a long lost welcomed friend. Walk up and down the stairs of your house a few times, around your house or yard, up and down the street, start small so you don’t become overwhelmed and give up with an unattainable goal. Don’t be afraid to push yourself that extra 5 steps because they will add up quickly and before you know it, you will want more; one step more is one step more.
Challenge yourself, not against others. Coming in last place means you were in the race! (metaphorically speaking) Just keep moving, that is the key to all this. The eating healthy and constant moving works hand in hand. You will find you won’t want to do just one or the other, they actually feed off each another and it becomes effortless; just be patient, give it time.
It is not easy, that is a given, but the rewards are huge. Will you live forever? Nope. But for those remaining years, you will definitely feel much better and more than likely, cut down on many diseases and health problems by doing so. The endorphins will rise to keep you feeling happier and make the tough times not so tough.
Keeping weight off is much easier than losing it. If this old body can do it, I know YOU can too!