Fitness, dieting, clean eating, exercising, drinking water, etc..…have all been either a part of my life or at least on my mind for most of the last 60 years. I’ve tried many plans, read lots of books, and joined groups and gyms because I wasn’t what I was supposed to be or how I was supposed to look (at least that’s what I thought).
When I started on this crazy journey back in junior high and high school, I thought the thighs on my 112-pound body (I’m 5’2″) were way too fat because they spread when I sat. (Oh, to have those little spreading thighs now!) So, I joined friends doing the Grapefruit Diet to solve that problem – lots of grapefruit and hard-boiled eggs…Ewwww! (However, I still feel virtuous when I eat grapefruit)
The ‘college 10’ became a reality, but I worked hard to get my wedding day weight to 118 lbs (we married a week after I graduated). Then, the babies and the baby weight (which lasted for years), and now I am post-menopausally larger than I want or should be.
This leads me to the 6 fitness facts I’ve discovered over all these years.
Fitness Fact #1 – Your Age Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think
Being a 60+ or even a 70+ woman doesn’t mean you have to give in to extra pounds because someone told you your metabolism has slowed. Exercise helps; burning calories makes a difference no matter how old or young you are. I bought into this “too hard for older women to lose weight” story for a long time. What I was doing wasn’t working, so it must be my age. Baloney!
I’m averaging 1.5 pounds per week on my current plan, and I will be 73 in a few months. I’ve got about 20ish pounds to get to my next birthday fitness goal weight (I’ve already lost almost that much).
Fitness Fact #2 – Moving is Important
There’s no getting around the importance of fitness workouts. I’ve found I can lose weight without it, but moving my body and doing resistance work is essential if my goal is optimal fitness and health.
There are many options for exercising inside the house, including watching calorie-burning videos or those that guide you through some type of weight training. Maybe you like to walk or bike in the neighborhood or on nearby trails while taking advantage of your favorite fitness trackers. I use Apple fitness both inside and out. But there’s just something about being out in the fresh air and the beauty of nature.
Or, maybe your option is a local gym that happens to suit you. Sometimes, you can even score a free membership with your Medicare-related health insurance (Silver Sneakers type plans).
Where ever you opt to move and lift, grab your earbuds and your favorite playlist, Audible book, or podcast and enjoy your time. Track your steps or minutes, and watch your body firm and shrink! Oh, and for some of us, the weight resistance (even body weight during walking) helps strengthen our bones…a side benefit. You might also see cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, and other numbers improve. All are part of the overall goal of getting fit.
Here’s an article on The Secrets to Achieving 10 Popular Fitness Goals. It includes fun things like holding a plank for one minute and climbing five flights of stairs without getting winded.
Fitness Fact #3 – How Much You Eat Counts
And, I need to add that what you eat makes a difference. There are plans (I call them the ‘magic plans’) that focus on specific foods to add, subtract, eat, or eliminate altogether. Some magic plans include pills, special drinks, or not eating at certain times of the day. Many people love committing to a ‘magic plan’ because it is unique and usually promises dramatic results.
The Grapefruit Diet would fit into this category, but I’m sure you can think of current eating plans that are popular now that include a gimmick, aka some type of magic, and are usually expensive. Sometimes these programs can feed on the person’s guilt at getting into their current shape and therefore needing to sacrifice everyday foods and/or money to get back into their smaller clothes.
Many sensible plans work to encourage healthy eating and weight loss. I’m back to my favorite of all time...Weight Watchers, or as it’s now called WW. I’ve also done My Fitness Pal and, before it changed, Spark People.
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Let me share a little about WW and why I love it. First of all, it’s balanced and realistic. And it is doable. It’s not magic (although the results and system sort of feel that way). They continue to work hard to create a system that will be successful and healthy for people of any age and physical situation. It is for me! They call the current plan ‘Personal Points’ because it’s highly personalized.
Counting calories tends to get tedious, and you don’t always build in the balance you need. In the current WW Personal Points plan, fiber, fat, and other nutrients are factored in, as are your personal preferences. You’re rewarded for eating certain foods, like veggies, and many foods are defined as ‘free.’ It’s fun and easy, but self-control is still a part of the equation. Portion control and ingredients make a difference.
Drinking water is also rewarded. We all know by now the importance of H2O. Meeting your water goal can quickly become a daily habit. Here’s a WebMD article about how much water we need to drink daily.
Fitness Fact #4 – Focus on Your Health
Looking good, Finally being ‘skinny.’ Fitting into single-digit-sized clothes. All of these things are important, fun, and motivating. I know…getting down there so I’ll fit into cute clothes for that birthday party is hugely inspiring! But if I look longer term and a little deeper than my appearance, my focus will shift toward my health.
My current health concerns include the following:
- High cholesterol numbers (when I’m not on the meds).
- Hereditary possibilities of Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Lesser concerns but still life-affecting are balance, flexibility, and the ability to get up from the floor! Keeping up with my grandkids in the pool and doing outside things has always been a goal.
As I’ve gotten older, the healthy part has become a higher priority, which was a large deciding factor in the eating plan I chose WW.
Fitness Fact #5 – Sometimes you’ve got to Start Fresh (again)
We always think things will work when we launch a new get-fit plan. And that the journey to our goal weight and healthiness will be a straight line. Sometimes that’s the case, but most often, it’s a squiggly, jerky, stop-and-start experience. There can be movement forwards (pounds lost, endurance gained) followed by discouraging plateaus.
The truth I’ve discovered about the journey is that the straight line is usually a myth. Success happens in knowing what works to keep you getting back on track.
Most plans have some type of support built-in, whether a group, a coach, or a program buddy. The version of WW I’m doing is online. There are recorded and live trainings I can listen to and several different support groups to answer questions. I’ve found much support and encouragement in a Facebook group, Weight Watchers over 60. They include recipes, funny memes, and Q&As about the program.
Sometimes, you just need to rely on yourself, remind yourself of your goals and successes, pull up those big girl panties, and jump back in. The holidays just about did me in last year. I was okay through Thanksgiving, but Christmas was another story! 2.5 pounds came back that had been lost. It took a little while and serious conversations with myself, but I got things going again.
Fitness Fact #6 – Find Your Lane and Drive
After you’ve done your research (checked out websites, talked to friends, compared prices, etc.) and made the big decision, it’s time to commit to the plan. Embrace it. Learn the ropes, and discover all the perks you get with your membership. I suggest not relying on others for your success (I know I said we need support, and we’ll also need accountability), BUT this is your plan, your body, and your hard work. And, one day…your celebration!
Follow the rules of the plan. If things don’t seem to be working…ask for help! Don’t throw in the towel or complain. Figure it out and get back on the horse. Also, keep it going when you’re on a roll; don’t stop and celebrate for too long. Those celebrations can sabotage your journey, so be wise about how happy you are and how much you eat.
And then that day will come when you’ve met your getting fit goals. How awesome that will be! I’m excited for both of us because I can’t wait for that day for myself.! At that point, hopefully, your program will have information about maintaining your health and weight-loss accomplishments. We aren’t in the group of those who gain it back. I, for one, will stay at that fitness level for the rest of my days! And I believe you will be as well.
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Let’s Wrap This Up!
I’m assuming you’ve been on this fitness journey for a while yourself. This means you’ve been picking up facts and opinions about how to succeed in this process. Admittedly, these are my facts and were born from my personal experiences, so be sure to use your wisdom and history to draw your conclusions and make your own choices.
My recommendation for you, however, is to join WW (Weight Watchers) or something similar. (My referral link will get you a great deal on your membership.) You deserve a science-backed plan with a positive approach and helpful tools. One that will allow you to live an enjoyable life and regain your best fitness level.
Best wishes as you move forward. I pray you reach and then maintain health and wear those cute clothes! ~Kathy
Finding a new purpose in living and joy in the day-to-day was the goal when author Kathy Rowland and her entire family (adult kids and grandkids) moved from the PNW to Texas several years ago. The focus of Quiet Hollow is to encourage ‘next chapter women’ – those who are retired, empty-nesters, or have found themselves without a spouse to jump back into life. And, she shares multiple tips, ideas, and possibilities toward that end. Kathy completed her almost 30 years as an elementary teacher and hopped into over a decade of volunteer work, side hustle-type businesses, and grandchild care before discovering her unique and fulfilling purpose for the next chapter of life. What you read on Quiet Hollow is a large part of that calling. Another part is the happy life she’s leading in Central Texas in the same neighborhood as the 3 big kids and her 5 grandkids. She and her college sweetheart husband made sure to add a pool to their new Texas home, so there are lots of noisy, splashy days in their little oasis of a backyard. Come join her on Quiet Hollow in a conversation about finding and living the life you were created to live in this later stage. The chats will be full of laughter, support, faith, and inspiration to create.