Middle Age Woman Pleads Guilty - Part 2

In my last post, you heard about getting called out by a young PT, my epic fail with years of unhealthy living, and how an unforeseen injury prompted my turn around. You can read Part 1 here.

Today I will talk about some of the challenges, and how we need to listen to good advice when it’s given to us!

You can have your cake and eat it too… just not every single day.

Holidays, vacations, and trying to follow a healthy lifestyle in a household where others aren’t exactly on board with what you are doing can be challenging. I was six months in, and still had trouble allowing myself certain foods because I was afraid I would fall off the wagon again. I eventually started letting things back into my diet in small increments. I mean…. come on….you should be able to have birthday cake at a birthday party without completely falling apart! Healthy foods became the majority of my diet, and planning and preparing were a key factor.  I made a lot of modifications, learned new ways to cook, and just bypassed a lot of great looking junk food! I planned my workouts and had to get creative with this when not at home. I had to disregard other people’s opinions, negativity, and unhealthy choices, and just keep doing what was good for me regardless of where I was or whom I was with. I had to stick with this ALL the time……not just SOME of the time.

A rough patch came when I had some unexpected health circumstances that took away my ability to workout at a high intensity for several months. All I would be able to do was walk at a slow pace. I was upset… to say the least. I had done all this work, and now it was all going to go down the drain!  How could I maintain what I had done if I couldn’t run or strength train? Oh……I had quite a pity party for myself, thought about giving up and throwing it all way.  In the past, it would have been easy for me to quit…... “Hello TV and Doritos, here I come”!  I would need to make additional diet modifications, and also adjust my attitude. The last thing I needed was an attitude problem getting in my way…… and boy did I have one…..

However, something was different this time.  Yes, I was mad at the circumstance, but I had busted my butt, reached goals that I never thought possible, and wasn’t about to let all this hard work go to waste. I had changed my mindset so much so, that I didn’t feel like giving in so easily this time. In a sense, I had “retrained my brain”. This turned out to be a very beneficial experience, because it forced me back into working on my mindset and dealing with issues when things don’t go perfectly. I am one of those people that want everything to go as planned, but life doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you have to “adjust” your path… not just give up. I did what I could, and eventually started working my way back to up to running and lifting weights again.

Funny…. I didn’t gain any weight back during that time.  I really worked myself up into a frenzy worrying about that. Apparently, all the work I had done prior to that had been enough to keep my fitness level stable with just the light walking and diet modifications. If I had a dime for every time I got worked up about something, and then it all worked out…… I’d be a wealthy woman!

This was the point in which I realized that I was truly ready to keep this up for good. I didn’t let emotions or circumstances run my decisions, kept pressing on…… and everything was fine.

Regardless of what the bad habit is, changing something you have been doing the same way for 25 years is tough, and when you have your heels dug in… it can be hard to pull them out. I just had to find a good balance and stay focused. It has been two years since I started, and the way I live now feels normal to me. My brain and body crave the good foods and exercise now… but I still allow myself some junk food from time to time…. just not “every” time.

If you don’t use it… you lose it! 

Now I don’t know about you, but if I am lucky enough to get those additional 40 years, I plan on feeling the best that I can during them. I want to be able to walk up and down the stairs, travel, play with and lift up grandkids when I get them, and do all the activities I love to do. Cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet boosts your immune system, can help relieve stress and anxiety, improves mood, and gives you the strength and energy that is needed to live life well.

I’m not going to lie… it is hard work getting started. The thing is though…. it’s absolutely, unequivocally, entirely up to YOU to do it. Nobody else…. and I mean nobody else……can do this for you. You have to want it for yourself and do it for yourself.  You are worth it…. and you deserve it.

Think of it this way…. We take our cars in for oil changes, tune-ups, and new tires to keep them running properly. Our body is like our “vehicle for life” and we can’t trade it in for a new one. We need to treat our body well and keep it maintained or it’s not going to run right.……or maybe not at all!

Yup, the physical therapist was right. There is nothing that will stop us from aging, but there are proactive steps we can take to help ourselves. It is inevitable that we are going to sometimes have aches and pains, possibly get an illness, or maybe need a surgical procedure. Who do you think will recover better and more quickly from a knee replacement?  Who do you think has a better chance of fighting off a serious illness or preventing injury?  Well… the polls are in and the individual who has a healthy diet, exercises, and strength trains has a clear advantage. I want to be prepared for battle, not just fall down and surrender to getting old!

No matter your age, ability, or current fitness level, there are always things you can do to improve your overall health. In addition, getting PT first can help address any pain or movement issues that you may feel are preventing you from starting a fitness program, and would definitely be a great first step!  If you want to move more, feel better, and stay active then find a physical therapist, personal trainer, or other trusted healthcare professional to help you get started. I guarantee you won’t be sorry that you did.  The only regret I have about changing my lifestyle, is not doing it sooner.

It may serve us well to listen to the advice of this younger generation of healthcare professionals, as I happen to have met one that just may know what he’s talking about!