Just yesterday I was asked to share my story around weight loss & fitness. Clarification: If weight loss is your goal, you actually want to lose FAT – not just WEIGHT … many “chronic dieters” lose both fat & muscle, which in the long term undermines their results by slowing metabolism – the mechanics of which I will explain in another post.
Okay … here’s my story. The “Before & After” photos attached here were me “before” a couple of years before 50 and then me “after” at 51. The featured photo for this post was also taken around the time of my “After Shot”.
I struggled with being a little over-weight in high school and college. I was always working out and trying to lose weight, and at that time generally just a little too hard on myself and I began to believe I had a weight problem … actually I was pretty fit and lean most of the time. There were times that I tended to be too heavy though … and not knowing any better I tried starving myself and working out hard to lose weight (a recipe for failure and not the way to achieve long term results & success). Still, I’ve always had to be careful about what and how I eat because I gain weight easily and find it difficult to lose it.
I had three children in my 30’s … first one at 33 then 35 and I squeezed the last one in at 39.5. I gained a LOT of weight with my first pregnancy … and never lost it all … and finally after my 3rd child was born I gained so much that I topped out at 175# … THAT was my top pregnancy weight. I was miserable, unhappy, felt a prisoner in my own body and hardly recognized the matronly woman who stared back at me when I looked in the mirror by my mid 40’s. I tried various weight loss programs with moderate success … I was under a lot of pressure at home and had little time for myself. Meanwhile I was mentally ‘beating myself up” because I told myself “you have a degree in exercise physiology … you should be able to do this.”I was eating pretty healthy food choices but not correctly. And again, I’d try to starve myself all day … had no time for exercise …
It was Yoga that got me back in touch with myself … I reconnected with my creativity & spirituality. As my Yoga practice became more and more important to my well-being I was more inclined to continue to make other healthier choices. In the book, Yoga & the Quest for the True Self, the author Stephen Cope says, “No matter why you come to the (Yoga) mat, if you continue your practice, eventually your mat will become an altar.” Yoga has many unexpected gifts … if you are open to them.
I joined a gym … one where former professional athletes, trainers and members were very fit and getting great results (I became a Yoga Instructor & I TAUGHT Yoga in other facilities, but I avoided working out with people who had been “trying” to get results for years … and were the same or even a few pounds heavier). I hired a Nutrition Coach (best investment of my LIFE), then I worked out with a trainer … a really great trainer. I got my body fat down below 20% and was in the best shape of my life at 51!
During that time I became a certified/Licensed Corporate Wellness Coach & did quite a lot of coaching at Corporate Events. I taught Yoga regularly, and I also was asked to coach Nutrition using the same program that I had used to successfully lose weight and become strong and lean. (Yes, we want to lose BODY FAT … not just weight).
Then life circumstances changed again. Little by little my workouts became less intense until finally when I went to South America in 2012, I no longer had a gym membership and stopped teaching Yoga regularly … Still I remained in good shape, but my weight gradually began creeping up. Especially when I came to take care of my mother, for a year in 2014 and then returned in 2016 (where I live now … and she passed away in 2017) … while she became bed-bound, I became house-bound with her. The end result of all of this is that I am (and have been) carrying around 25 extra pounds and am at a weight that, frankly, I NEVER expected I would see again. I had a foot surgery last year (which was a good thing) and during my recovery it kept me from exercising and the orthopedic boot really fired up a hip issue I have … With all of that, I KNOW I can heal my hip and lose this weight. I want to be a role model for others AND I still have lots of hiking I want to do, travel, and I want to be a healthy mother (of my now adult children) and grandmother. I will do this!
I am 63 years old now … I’ve learned that you can be healthy and fit at any age, and that if you don’t USE it you will lose it. I am so grateful that my healthy choices carried me through several rough years where I wasn’t taking the best care of myself. I am actually SHOCKED that I gained this weight as I thought I had achieved mastery over my health & fitness. However, as for many, circumstances change and life challenges can throw us off-track. I have a choice now, to reconcile myself to the excess pounds and the hip inflammation as a “natural part of the aging process” (which would be a story and self-fulfilling prophecy if I choose to believe it) OR I can create an action plan, focus on some serious self-care and make my HEALTH a priority as I work my way back to Optimal Health & Wellness through optimal lifestyle choices. I choose the second option.
It took a while after my mother’s passing for me to regroup and heal … and rest. Now it is time to turn my attention BACK to coaching and teaching, and as part of that, to make myself and MY health a priority. I plan on being a good example, so in creating my new program, the 90-Day Turn-Around, What if in 90 Days Your Whole Life Can be Different? I am my first client & the example for this program … in a few short weeks I’ll be putting together a small “Case-Study” Group and looking for 5-7 participants for that. I’m incorporating self-care practices, such as mindset, meditation, journaling, nutrition and exercise … If you are interested, please message me, or just follow me along in my journey.