Whatever amount of time you’re exercising – double it”.

That’s what the doctor said in response to my feeling “stuck” as I approached my 50s. I was discouraged. I was already pushing an hour of exercise daily, while working two jobs, and caring for my ailing brother, among other obligations. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of using age as a crutch, and being predisposed to family health issues gave me incentive to change that course. I also knew exercise had to be only part of the equation.

My husband and I are both Italian. We love to cook and we love to eat. Aha! There’s the problem. Not being Italian – just that I like to eat!

Initially, I adjusted portion sizes. Then added more vegetables, mainly greens, into smoothies, tried more protein, less “white” stuff (salt, sugar, flour), added whole grains, and ate healthy carbs early in the day. I didn’t eliminate a food group. I didn’t double my workout time. Instead, I incorporated weights, got rid of the “more cardio” mentality and worked out less in terms of time, not days.

What works for me in my journey, may not work for others, but being a full-fledged Over 50 club member, I’ve dispelled a few myths:

I CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT, I’M GOING THROUGH MENOPAUSE

Having worked for a national weight loss company, and now as an online health and fitness coach, that is the #1 complaint from women. While menopause puts your body through hormonal changes, it doesn’t necessarily translate into permanent weight gain. Maintaining proper nutrition and consistency with exercise before, during and after menopause is key. Something worth striving for throughout life. You don’t gain weight because you age. You gain weight being less active and eating poorly. At 51, the news of becoming a gramma for the first time created a desire of being vibrant, fit and energetic. I locked into a fitness program that challenged me physically and taught me how to tighten up my nutrition. I lost 15 lbs. and 14” within a few months. At my physical the doctor said, “Who loses weight in menopause? You look fabulous!” Mission accomplished.

I HAVE NO WILLPOWER

Everyone has willpower. What about won’t power? You won’t get lean, without eating properly. You won’t reach your goals without putting in the work. My alarm wakes me with a message: “No one’s gonna work out for you”. Cheer yourself on! Schedule workouts like every appointment. You won’t be disappointed. Preparing your meals gives you control over what goes into your food. I love using citrus and herbs to jazz up flavor, rather than sodium based seasonings. A couple hours on a weekend prepping meals sets you up for a successful, stress free week so you won’t be tempted to eat mindlessly!

I’VE EARNED IT!

Why would you pay for a 12 week boot camp, re-train your brain, and then undo all your hard work on a weekend food binge? Aside from the obvious havoc it will wreak on your system, treating yourself with food is counter-productive. A massage, new clothing, or fitness gear is much more satisfying! A proper eating plan should have an indulgence built in, so you’re not deprived, but certainly not every day. As I fueled my body eating clean, not only was the change physical, but I began to think and function more clearly. Get your mind right, and your body will follow.

I CAN’T GET RESULTS AT HOME

The luxury of a gym membership hardly felt worth the effort with 3 kids at home, so I used home exercise DVDs. As the kids left the nest, I explored more intense programs, invested in workout equipment, and soon realized that amazing results are achieved anywhere as long as you commit.

Aging is a gift. When you drop the excuses and invest in yourself, your attitude changes. Any day you show up is progress. I love being a wife, mom and gramma. I want to take care of the body I’m blessed with through every life stage - no matter what my age. Maybe that’s why my kids have always said, “You’ll be 25 forever.” I’ll take it.

Sandee Ciaccia is a Paralegal and also works as an Online Health and Fitness coach helping people through accountability and support. She can be reached at sjciaccia@ yahoo.com. For fit tips, recipes and ideas, visit facebook.com/sandeeciacciabelieveandbefit

 

 

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