Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovment newsletter.
As we wind down the year, let’s finish with an inspiring story. To me it’s a story of leaving behind a self image, a lack of confidence, and a huge comfort zone. It’s a story of determination and perseverance in a quest for better health and better fitness. More than that though, it’s a story of how one woman came to see herself in a whole new light! I love to celebrate those stories and I’m hoping you do too.
I call this story: Deborah Flips Her Fitness Switch
My friend Deborah understands there are no shortcuts to fitness, rather it’s personal. It’s an internal switch that no one can flip but you. And when you’re north of forty, or north of fifty, it can take a huge amount of effort just to get started. You may avoid the switch for years, but it’ll always be waiting for you to flip!
Fitness may be personal but it’s also a responsibility. I’ve seen many times that one of the nice things about flipping your own fitness switch is that it often connects you with the kid you used to be–the one who rode bikes, climbed trees, hit tennis balls, surfed waves, tapped danced, and cartwheeled.
My wanting to share Deborah’s journey with you all started a few months ago when one night after meeting her for dinner, Deborah and I were walking to our cars and I told her she was looking good. I asked, “Are you still working out?” To which she most emphatically replied, “Of course, I have no choice, it’s non-negotiable. I have to take care of myself.” I kept thinking about her answer over and over again because she had what some of us might call a year from hell.
With an already packed schedule and major job responsibilities as a high level college administrator, she and her husband had purchased and moved into a new house, their first one ever. Her best girlfriend had suffered a stroke, so Deborah was called upon to be a major source of support and care-taking both physically and mentally. Both she and her husband have parents that are alive and need care and support. And on top of all that, her husband’s chronic low back pain had reached a tipping point and he was having some major health challenges and needed to make some major treatment decisions.
No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot to deal with!
Deborah’s switch flipping fitness journey actually began about three years ago. She has since lost 25 pounds but was initially started on her current path because she was determined, at 56, to rediscover her body. She had been somewhat active doing as she says, “a little bit of this and that.”
She’s way beyond a little of this or that these days, though. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.
When I asked her what helps the most she answered, “Having someone to be accountable to and the fear of losing what I’ve gained.” Very honest answers. It is much easier to maintain than it is to regain lost health and fitness.
Deborah sets goals. She sets performance and learning goals and also builds in assessments so she knows whether she’s reaching those goals. Another excellent point. We need all three of those to keep us on the journey. Things can get stale without goals.
Deborah uses a trainer and suggests that finding the right trainer who listens to her goals, yet pushes her, has been an essential element of her success. She has been using the same trainer for 6 months and will continue to do so into the new year.
She says she has reached a point of being comfortable in her own body. I’d love to hear each and every one of us say that, especially we women. It’s an internal feeling and comfort level that brings her joy and pleasure.
She has come to see exercise as an essential part of her medicine chest! She feels so much stress from her job but she can truly feel exercise doing something for her body as she experiences a clearer head and a general sense of feeling better. She also meditates, and this helps with her stress as well.
When it comes to her relationship with food there have been a lot of changes too. She is eating lighter and paying attention to portions. She realizes she used to eat for stress relief and this usually lead to eating too much. I’m sure many of us know what that feels like.
She is bringing an awareness practice to her eating patterns and this is always the first step. We can’t change what we’re not aware of. She also felt her metabolism change, which is a direct result of the muscle that she has gained. That’s always an exciting feeling!
Deborah never thought this would happen to her, this gift that she has given herself. At 60 she can do what she couldn’t do at 20. Fantastic!
Her new-found excitement from her fitness/health journey is spilling over in fun ways to the rest of her life. For 20 years she has wanted to study hula but was reluctant because she felt intimidated and didn’t want to make a fool of herself. Now, she is studying hula and finds Joy in Dancing.
Rediscovering her body has given her an exuberance and level of confidence that is contagious!
Yoga, why not? She has never been particularly flexible and never imagined she’d practice Yoga. Now however, it’s her Saturday morning ritual with a Yoga teacher she really enjoys. She is loving both the mental discipline and the internal focus and enjoys what she is learning about herself as she practices.
What words of inspiration did Deborah have for us?
“Celebrate every little thing. Every single time. Fitness and health happen in incremental steps, so take the time to celebrate the successes. Have your health and fitness journey be a way that you celebrate yourself and your life. Have compassion for yourself. Being physically fit can give you such a complex range of benefits both physically and emotionally. GO FOR IT!”
May all of you enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season and continue to find Joyinmovement,