When I posted pictures of me in new styles last week, several readers asked, “TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO CHANGE YOUR BODY SO MUCH!” That is why I decided to do a Lessons Learned post about my health journey over 50.
That is it…. a health journey…not necessarily a weight loss journey! It has been my doctor’s talks with me about heart health and blood pressure that prompted more determination to turn things around. As we are about to enter February, a month dedicated to Women’s Heart Health, I thought it might be the perfect time to do this. I am going to attempt to cover all that I believe has made a difference. I cannot point you to just one thing….on the journey it is a packaged deal that got me down the road. I have not reached my goals and recognize things can go south in a moment’s time, so I must keep on keeping on.
To begin with, understand these five things first. These are my foundation lessons learned:
- I cannot tell you how much weight I have lost. I have not been on scales in months. That is on purpose. Scales discourage me…they do not motivate me. A better way for me to measure things than scales has been to take measurements to see how my body is changing and tightening!
- Baby Steps are important…do not ever think you are not doing enough. Anything you do for your health will make a difference. ANY LITTLE THING. Baby steps eventually become big steps. I am proof of that.
- Perseverance is key! Through the last six years, there have been injuries, job stress, toes curling (literally), family needs, and some sickness that have set me down or caused doubt. But, I keep getting back on the horse. My son’s football team wore a shirt in high school which said, NO EXCUSES. I wish I still had that shirt. Do not allow anything to discourage you enough to quit. Persevere!
- Of course, read and learn from others, but you must pay attention and know what works best for you. What does your body respond to? We are all different and not every food plan or exercise class will work. Pay attention to what is happening.
- Finally, do not compare yourself to anyone. It is your journey. Discouragement comes easily when you begin to compare yourself to other women.
I AM NOT ON A DIET
In my past, I have been on Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Whole 30, this fast, that fast and always gained back weight and sometimes more than when I began. So, I am not on a diet….I am on a healthy eating plan and paying attention to what my body responds to and doesn’t.
Healthy eating for me has been:
- More Protein – mostly chicken, salmon, shrimp, eggs and lean beef. Morning protein drinks after workout. More protein has helped to alleviate my hunger and desire for sweets.
- More green veggies…especially broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and salad
- Less sugar – way less sugar. I still eat it and would never be a KETO girl unless the doctor said you have to do this to live. But, I do not desire sugar like I did in the past. In the afternoons at work, I may have a small cube of dark chocolate. I really do not feel deprived. I LOVE ice cream, but when the craving sets in I go for frozen yogurt. I highly recommend KEMP’S FROZEN YOGURT…so good, I would rather have it than ice cream. Also, when I need a little something, I snack on Honey Nut Cheerios (Gluten Free, Whole Grain), or the bread in the next point with no sugar added fruit jam. I do not do that every day.
- I rarely eat bread. I do eat Ezekiel Bread and muffins….sprouted grains, gluten free and yummy.
- In the mornings, when I want a snack I eat roasted walnuts. Occasionally when I want to crunch…I will eat a few Van’s Gluten Free Fire Roasted Veggie Crackers.
- I eat in the mornings and at noon. My largest meal of the day is at noon. On workdays, I take meals for lunch that I have prepared at home. I honestly believe this has played a major role into getting rid of the rolls around the middle!! When I need to grab and go, I keep frozen meals by Atkins and WW in the freezer just in case. I eat something very light at night around 5. During the weekend, I encourage my husband to eat earlier…doesn’t always work. But, five days of the week, I am not eating after five. I drink a little wine occasionally, but do not drink any alcohol.
7. I drink water….and water…and more water. I fill up the cup pictured above at least six times a day and guzzle it over ice! Occasionally I might do green or black tea, unsweetened. AND, yes, I drink coffee in the morning, unsweetened. I love my coffee and do not desire to ditch it just yet.
8. The supplements I take are Vitamin D, Omega 3, Super Vitamin B Complex, Melatonin, and three types of Juice Plus. I do these every day…they are divided into a pill organizer and that is what works best in morning and night.
NOTHING HAPPENS, UNLESS I DO THIS…
I work two jobs every day and both are sitting on my behind in front of a computer, so I have to make sure I MOVE or nothing changes! I began going to the gym 6 ½ years ago right before my 60th birthday. During that time, I have had stretches of time, when I did not go. But, I have to thank my group of gym friends…they keep me going and it has paid off. Strength training has kept me off of Osteoporosis medicine though I was diagnosed with it six years ago. Working with a combination of weights and the treadmill has removed the inches faster than a diet would.
Over a year ago, my cat decided to hit my ankles and throw me into a wall shoulder first. At that time, I could deadlift over 100 pounds. This is where perseverance and not comparing yourself to others is critical. Though I cannot do near what I was doing with my injured shoulder (I have elected not to do surgery), I still go to my weight class as often as possible and modify and do what I can. I now need a shirt that says, I AM ONE BIG MODIFICATION! I do not try to be the superwoman that many of the ladies in my class are…I do what I can.
After a hip strain early on, I learned that it is important for me to stretch at home before I go to the gym and that has helped me stay injury free. I have results from the treadmill and I do not push myself to do what others are doing on ellipticals because of knee issues that occasionally can pop up if I try things I shouldn’t. However, I use stairs at work often during the day. I pay attention to what my body responds to and my body responds to walking and light weight work. So, I will keep on keeping on. On days I start at the gym and do two miles on the treadmill, then take breaks and walk throughout my workday, I can easily hit 10,000 steps or beyond on my FitBit. I need the FitBit though to get me up and moving. (OOPS…it just said FEED ME, I guess I have been typing here too long!)
I wanted to show you the equipment I have at home. I can do a good workout at home with the Kettle Bell and this 10 pound ball. I use the ball for sit-ups and weighted bridges. I mostly do hip swings and weighted squats with the Kettle bell. You don’t have a gym? No worries…it is easy to do a workout at home.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just MOVE. Start with small walks. Make sure you have good athletic shoes for the type of work you want to do. Shoes are more important than a cute little workout outfit! PERSEVERE and do not be afraid of the gym. Just take the plunge and you will be so glad you did. When I first began to work with a trainer six years ago, he said…the rolls in the middle are the last to go, so do not get discouraged. He was right. It has taken me awhile to see these results…but I am thrilled to finally see them. It is really my fault that it did not happen sooner. I allowed work stress for almost four years to affect my eating and made horrible decisions during that time….but I kept going to the gym as often as possible. Do I still have work stress? Yep! But, I reacting in good health ways now and not sweating the small stuff as much as I did before.
But, here is the key…I haven’t eaten correctly every day…I haven’t worked out every day…but consistent baby steps and perseverance have brought results!
A NOTE ABOUT MY SCHEDULE
In every possible way, I am a morning person. I function better in the morning…love the morning…get more done in the morning. I most often wake at 4 AM and I am at the gym by 5. During the week that gets me to work a little before 7. In order to do this and get the necessary sleep for good health, I must be in bed by 8:30. On the days I work out, I sleep so much better!! I do not respond well when off my schedule…still a baby I guess. It takes me awhile to bounce back if I am off my schedule for even a week. But, when I am on…I can accomplish just about anything. There are classes at my gym I would do, (Yoga being one), if I could fit it into my current schedule. I just keep telling myself…it will happen someday.
I think I covered it all. My changes have not happened through just one of these things and I do still have more progress to make in order to please me and my doctor…but the combination of all has brought results. You have to be willing to make some lifestyle changes, but I promise you will feel so good, you will not regret it. Doing these things affects our attitudes and how we enjoy and see each day. Do not delay to start your own journey! Within this post you read about conversations with my doctor. I have annual appointments. A journey should begin with a good tour guide and that would be your doctor.
Any questions? I have a good health slideshow below in order for you to see some of the things I am talking about. Please feel free to ask me about any of this and may you always
By Pamela Lutrell