Many people are under the assumption that as we age (and for some women, have children) we lose our beloved bodies and simply have to accept that we will never look good again. We are told by older, more experienced women (and men!) to “enjoy your body while it lasts because as you age (and especially if you have kids) you will have to say goodbye” but this is not true! As with all changes that come with age, yes we must adapt and often accept changes that we may not be pleased about however you do not have to say goodbye to your healthy, fit body. To me, some of the most inspiring women are those who have it all: career, children, health and a body that puts 20-something year olds to shame! We can do it ladies! We live in a modern world where we can have it all! I am not saying that it is always easy, keeping fit and healthy is challenging but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! Things that are most important are worth fighting for, and that definitely includes your health and happiness (body image plays a huge role related to those two factors by the way). Life is a Journey not a Destination: As I type this, don’t worry, I feel how cheesy it sounds, but it puts everything into perspective so perfectly. Fear of reaching 30, then 40 and beyond is put into us at a young age. We are basically trained that after our 20s it is a down hill journey for our physical bodies so we just sit back and let it happen. STOP spreading this terrible lie that leads to so much negativity. Embrace aging, and do it in style with a great body and your health!
So if you have had a bad day, week, month or even year, if you are sedentary, eat badly and by the end of the day/week/month/year you are feeling defeated and ready to give up (or have given up), STOP, breath, and get back in the game. For whatever age or life stage you are in here are some tips to help you get back into the game or to avoid sitting back and watching the rest of us play:
1. Remember it is never too late! Start today. You are never too far gone to turn around and change directions in your life. Never.
2. Plan! How do you think those women (and men) have it all? It takes planning and organization to maintain your physical health and appearance or to change it. Plan your grocery shopping, meals and snacks (for at home and work). Keep things ready and prepared for when you come home starving after a long day at work. Schedule your physical activity so that it is a part of your daily routine.
3. Set goals: how can you know what needs changing and when you have achieved a change unless you set a goal? Set realistic goals that you can work towards and actually achieve. Start with smaller short term goals and work toward a larger long term goal.
4. Make it a priority. Your health is so vital to every part of your life. It gives you energy, allows you to enjoy your family more and for longer, improves mood, and results in a greater quality of life. Isn’t that pretty important? So make it as essential as going to work, taking your kids to school, and putting dinner on the table. Make it something you can’t go without.
5. Find your motivation: Only you can motivate yourself but don’t worry others can inspire you to become motivated! Surround yourself with inspirational things, places and people and keep on, keeping on!
6. Have fun & Eat right! Choose activities you enjoy and try new things. Physical activity is most easily maintained when you do something you enjoy. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a drag. It can actually be quite delicious and you feel great afterwards instead of tired and uncomfortable. Try new recipes and experiment.
7. Involve your family & friends for support. Make your healthy choices something that you can enjoy and share with others. This makes it a lot easier to stick to and means you are improving the lives of those you care about along the way.
8. Accept yourself. There ARE going to be certain physical changes as you age that you will have to accept. Don’t obsess over what you can’t change. Have a positive outlook and keep health as your main focus. Work on the things that can be improved and maintained like fitness and health.
9. Forgive yourself. This is probably the most important thing to remember. It is a guarantee that you are going to have bad days and that is okay. We are our own harshest critics. Learn to be kind to yourself, forgive, learn from set backs so you can prepare for them the next time and keep going!
10. Lastly never give up. You may fall short of your own expectations today but tomorrow is always a new day full of possibilities at any age or stage of your life. You can do it, you are strong enough!
Get it. Love it. Keep it. & keep on keeping on!