My story is not that different from most women’s my age. I spent a lifetime yo-yo dieting. I tried every fad diet I could find. I lost and regained the same weight many, many times through my life, but was never able to keep it off.
My health transformation started in March 2020 at the age of 60. Time was passing me by and I was fed up with how I looked and felt and I didn’t want to live my life with regret. I wanted to prove to myself that I could make positive changes and ultimately change my life. My mantra was “if not now, when.” I was ready!
The Covid lockdown had just started and the gym I had been going to for the past 6 years closed. These were uncertain and scary times. I decided I could either eat my way through my fears or try to take some kind of control of my body and my life. Being an emotional eater, I knew the damage I could do if I didn’t take control and make some changes. I knew this was a period in time where I had the luxury of time to read and research, so I decided it was time to learn about Macros. I had tried reading up on macros a couple of years earlier, but I wasn’t in the right head space to absorb and apply the material. As the saying goes “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. Everything I needed was at my fingertips and I was ready to go!
So, I jumped in and started with an online book, “Macro Hacks by Redefining Strength”. I learned what macros were, figured out what my macros should be for weight loss and started tracking my food using MyFitnessPal. During this time, my gym offered Zoom HIIT classes, which I did 5 days a week for about 6 months, eventually returning to onsite classes 3 days a week. I also read Mike Mathews’ book, “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger For Women”. By the end of 2020, I had a good understanding of macros, but the scale had barely moved. I was frustrated, but at the same time, I knew exactly where the problem was. Although I was tracking my food, I was guessing at amounts/weights when inputting the information into the tracking program. How do you really know how much you are eating if you never really weigh your food? You can’t fake it and there are no shortcuts. You just need to put in the work. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I knew in my heart what I needed to do.
In January of 2021, I decided to bite the bullet, to be honest with myself and start not only consistently tracking my food, but also weighing it…… and then the magic happened! I lost 29 lbs. in 9 months during an emotional and scary time of lockdown, masks and social distancing. I was losing about a pound a week, which was perfect for me. I was so proud of myself!
My husband has been lifting weights for 40+ years and when his gym closed in May 2021, we decided to set up a home gym. This started me on the path of heavy lifting, focusing on my form and progressive overload. It was hard, but I loved learning to lift properly and loved how good I felt. My husband was my support system and taught me about form, logging my workouts and my progress and increasing my weights, reps etc. in a safe and regular manner. I started videoing all my lifts, which helped me see where I needed to correct my form to improve. I video tape my lifts and during my rest period I review and adjust as needed.
I also started following other women I found on Instagram who were living a lifestyle around macros and and heavy lifting. I saw Joan MacDonald (@Trainwithjoan) and her daughter Michelle (@yourhealthyhedonista) and was amazed at Joan’s transformation. This is also where I found Ilene (@silverandstrong) as well as many of The Wonder Women Coaches and their clients. The fitness support team I have built is uplifting and amazing.
I have never had an online coach, but I am seriously looking at my options and hope to have one soon. Up to this point, I have been learning as I go and I would offer this advice to anyone that wants to get started on their own health and fitness transformation journey:
- Learn about macros. Knowledge is power and once you understand the power of macros you will be in control of your nutrition.
- Find videos on weightlifting. You don’t have to start with heavy weights, you just need to start. There are so many videos from beginner to intermediate to advanced available online.
- Build a community on Instagram of like-minded women. This has been instrumental in keeping me motivated, inspired and engaged. Participate, ask questions, reach out, post your journey, recipes, pictures and don’t be afraid to speak to your struggles. No matter where we are on your journey, we all have struggles. As my Instagram name says “life’s like that.” There is no shame in being real!
- Read books that inspire you or help you grow. Some of my favourite books so far are:
- Atomic Habits – James Clear
- The High 5 Habit – Mel Robbins
- The Mountain is You- Brianna Wiest
- The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks
- Think Like a Warrior – Darrin Donnelly
- Flex Your Age – Joan MacDonald
- Listen to motivational podcasts. I like to do this when I’m getting my daily steps in.
I’ve had lots of setbacks in my journey and my weight has been creeping back up this year as I deal with healing some childhood trauma. I am giving myself grace and kindness while I work through this with a therapist. What I know for sure is I would not have had the emotional or mental strength to deal with this had I not taken control of my life and proved to myself how strong I really am. Losing weight is what most of us focus on, but learning what makes me tick, digging deep into my mindset, understanding why I self-sabotage, loving myself and knowing I am enough is what will ultimately make me successful in maintaining a healthy, strong lifestyle. This is what will build my character, my integrity – learning to be true to myself and give me the strategies and habits I will need to lean into when life happens, as it always will.
I am excited to see where life leads me. I never, ever thought I would have a positive outlook on aging, but I have lots I want to accomplish in my life and at 64, I am looking forward to what the future holds.