Putting a healthy life into perspective

I want to share a story with you about a personal training client of mine (with her permission, of course!). We’ll call this beautiful woman “Evelyn”.

Evelyn is 71 years old. When she first came to me I couldn’t believe she was that age. She looked, to me, to be 60-tops. She is in fairly good health with the exception of some knee issues. And she is absolutely beautiful.

When we were going through her initial intake she told me her goal was to lose 15 pounds. It got me thinking about how many of my clients in their 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s came to me saying they wanted to lose 10-20 pounds when, in reality, they really didn’t need to. They needed to strengthen their bones and increase their muscular endurance for functionality; but they really didn’t need to lose weight.

When I ask these clients how long they’ve wanted to lose this weight, their answer is typically anywhere from 10-40 years. 40 years!!! I don’t know about you, but I do not want to spend 40 years trying to lose 10 pounds. It is exhausting looking in the mirror and tearing yourself apart every day. Stepping on a scale wishing the numbers would go down.

Evelyn and I have become very close in our 3 years as trainer and client. She shared with me recently how she had always wanted to lose that weight; and even though she’s “only” lost 10 pounds in our 3 years together, she feels much stronger, she has increased her bone density, and she just feels better about herself. Evelyn is no longer stressing over those last 5 pounds. That is when I feel like I have done my job. When someone recognizes that exercise is a life-long commitment that is amazing and wonderful and leaves you feeling happy, not down.

Finding your “why’s” are so important. Understanding that this is going to be a lifelong process is important.

Think about the following for a moment:

  • How long have you wanted to lose weight or get fit and healthy?
  • How many days have you said, “I’ll start tomorrow”?
  • How many times did you turn down getting your picture taken or going to an event because you felt uncomfortable in your own skin?

Take all of that into consideration and decide if you want to be struggling with weight loss for the rest of your life. If you wanted it 10 years ago and you still want it now, what is holding you back from achieving that goal? Do you want to spend the next 10 years trying to lose the weight or getting healthy? Or would you prefer to work on it now, make a lifestyle change, and be happy in your own skin? I know, this all sounds easier than it truly is; but it is achievable. It is a matter of taking in all you learn and applying it to your own life. Journal, meditate, make a healthy choice next time and see just how good it feels, appreciate your food and take the time to taste it, smell it, and allow your food to process before you decide to eat more to see if you’re really hungry. Once we start to appreciate our bodies and all they do for us, exercise goals change. I am so much happier now that I have decided not to focus on the scale and to be happy with my body as it is. I workout regularly and I eat healthy most days. I am still learning to forgive myself when I mess up and take it as a life lesson with a different outcome next time (hopefully!).

So here’s to a new view on exercise. Take some time to look over those “why’s” that we asked you to write when you first joined. Re-write them, if necessary, to reflect new goals or to remove some that maybe weren’t the healthiest goals. Be happy as often as you can, for the rest of your life


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