I hesitated long and hard about posting a photo of myself in a bikini at age 54, but I’ve paid my dues – in the form of sweat equity. I’ve worked hard at getting in – and staying in shape, and I’ve tried just about every diet imaginable. There will be haters who will say I’m not in the best shape, and they’re right, but I’m beyond thrilled that I can fit into a two-piece swimsuit and qualify for an AARP card at the same time!
The truth is, I’ve struggled with my weight nearly all my life – starving myself and wasting money on stupid diets and every imaginable exercise – from step, to Spinning, to slide, to kickboxing, Zumba, yoga and everything in between. All for the sole purpose of looking “ok” in a bikini. Trust me, I knew I’d never be a fitness model, or any type of model, I just didn’t want to embarrass myself if I had to jump in a pool at a party, if that ever happened.
But there’s another reason why I did it.
If you’re interested in my fitness and nutrition tips I’m happy to share. If you want to know what provoked me, read through to the end.
1. Be Selfish. Although I’ve been a group fitness instructor for more than thirty-five years, I can think of an absurd amount of excuses for why I don’t have time to exercise: There is work to do, errands to run, dust bunnies to vacuum, and Netflix shows to watch – (have you seen The OA or The Crown?!) The one thing that people with amazing physiques like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, J-Lo, and other well-chiseled celebrities have in common is that they put in the time – they do the work – a LOT of it. If you really want to get in shape, spend an hour a day, five days a week exercising. At least. Many of us who are parents put the needs of our children first while sacrificing our own health. Of course, I’m not suggesting to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but carving out even a measly few minutes every day for YOU can make a significant change in your body, keep you healthier, happier, and teach your kids about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re an empty-nester, like me, it feels a little strange to put quality self-care at the forefront of your life, especially if you’ve spent twenty, thirty or even forty years taking care of others.
But you need to….
2. Schedule It. Make an appointment with yourself as if you had a doctor’s appointment and would be charged if you failed to show. Schedule time every single day to focus on planning healthy meals, snacks, and exercise. Four minutes a day can be the motivation you need to make significant change in your life. The secret is that four minutes can turn into 10, 20, 30 minutes or more. You have to start somewhere. Make a commitment and stick to it!
What exercises are the best?
3. Do Something, ANYTHING. It doesn’t matter what the exercise is or how well it works for others, if you don’t like to do it, chances are you won’t do it. However, you have to suck it up and do something, anything every day! Get in the gym, swim, bike or dance! Find the thing that makes your heart sing and you’ll do it more often. Make sure you combine these three elements in your weekly fitness regime: strength training, cardiovascular training and stretching. Working out at least 30 minutes a day five days a week is optimal. Obviously, a little more goes along way in this case. Take a look at HIIT Training: High-Intensity Interval Training is short bursts of intense cardiovascular training combined with small pockets of working-recovery, usually strength training, that will sculpt muscles and leave you sweaty in a short period of time. Many professional athletes and celebrities are using HIIT training. Mix it up! Dance, swim, walk, bike, lift weights, play with your kids or your dog. Anything to get moving! It’s important to strike your muscles in different ways to prevent injuries, increase flexibility and maintain cardiovascular fitness, decrease stress and increase bone density. Increase the intensity, duration and frequency with which you work out. Work out harder, longer, or faster!
What about food?
4. Trash the Junk. All the greatest workouts in the world won’t give you a lean and toned body if you’re only eating pop tarts, cheeseburgers and sodas. Fuel your body with superfood nutrition. Having struggled with my weight all my life, I think I have it figured out after 54 years of searching. I’ve gained and lost over one hundred pounds throughout the decades, but finally, I am at a weight with which I am happy. No starving or denying myself either! I have boundless energy, no cravings during that three p.m. lull, and yet I still have ice cream, cake and chips (on occasion). I owe it all to Isagenix. The system has simplified my life, while giving me incredible vitality and made losing that last ten pounds easy. Is the system a magic pill? For me, it sure does seems like it. For the first time in my life, I’m at my goal weight and have tons of energy throughout my day – especially during workouts.
For more information on the products that have changed my life, click on this link.
5. Take a Selfie. Take a photo of yourself in just your undies. Is there something you don’t like? Guess who can change that?You can! Find a photo of someone who has a figure that is similar to what you’d like to achieve. Put your selfie next to your goal photo. During the next 30 days, look at the two pictures every morning and whenever you’re hangry (hungry + angry). Imagining the future can be a very potent prescription for positive change! Isagenix has a program called the ISA Body Challenge, which gives you daily motivation and inspiration to stick to your goals and get in shape.
With nearly half of the American population dancing toward obesity, and health-care costs sky-rocketing, staying physically fit isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good, too. We can’t afford to take our health for granted, as those of us who’ve had life-threatening illnesses know.
Why I did it.
Fifteen years ago I was sucking on oxygen, barely able to crawl up a flight of stairs. Looking good in a bikini was not even a consideration. Living through the day, was. Having suffered with pre-emphysema caused by toxic mold exposure, I remember thinking once that I just wanted to be healthy enough to watch my son’s track meet. There was a time when the simple process of getting dressed, leaving the house, driving a car and climbing up outdoor bleachers was unthinkable. Now, I can run up and down the bleachers, and that’s all that really matters. So, now that I think of it, the best part of the bikini photo for me is the smile on my face. If you’re not healthy, you can’t be happy, and that’s really all that matters.