I never thought to write about my quest to become physically fit in my 50's. When I was young I was a good weight and had a nice figure but I am not sure I could say I was physically fit in the way we talk about it today. Although I have always liked to walk I haven't made it a point to do so over the years or take up any other form of regular exercise beyond housework and chasing after my children. I also love to cook and eat so the inevitable happened. From the time I married until this past fall I gained 60 pounds. Some of that was gained during pregnancy and then never shed so which each new pregnancy I started out a bit heavier. The rest just added on due to my lifestyle. I am one of the fortunate few whose husband loves every bit of me but I have always disliked being heavy. I just did not dislike it enough to head for the gym.
This past summer I broke my ankle and this event in combination with watching my in-laws become less and less mobile transformed me. I realized that I was fast approaching my senior years and that I was no longer very strong nor was my balance good hence the fall that led to me breaking my ankle. Also for the last few years arthritis has been creeping up on me making my ankles and knees painful and less flexible. As I watch some of the older members of my family become less mobile I knew this was my opportunity to work on gaining back what I had lost; my strength, my flexibility, and my aerobic fitness. This was a time when I was in good enough health to fight back and mentally prepared to do so.
So in September of 2007 after my ankle healed and I finished with physical therapy I signed up to work with a personal trainer. My goals were to improve my overall strength and balance and to lose those 60 pounds I put on over the last 23 years. I stay focused on this because for our 24th wedding anniversary I would like to be able to wear the dress I was wearing when my husband and I met. I not sure if I will make it by our anniversary but I will continue to work toward being able to wear all the size 12 dresses I still have in my closet.
So what is the tale of the tape? When I began I was a size 18 and now I am a size 16 having lost a total of about 7 to 8 inches from various parts of my anatomy. I have lost 15 pounds for an average of about 1 pound per week which is my target since one is likelier to keep weight off if it is lost slowly . I am eating better and have more energy on most days. The days where I have a very tough session I may crawl into bed early but otherwise I am not as tired anymore. I am also much stronger and my balance has improved. The most significant change I think is mental. I no longer have to force myself to go to the gym. Now I want to go and work out. It helps that occasionally I can convince one of my kids or my husband to go with me but whether or not they come with me I go.
I am 25% of the way to my weight goal and I am not sure where I will stop with cardio fitness and strength. What I do know is that I am developing a new lifestyle which will serve me well now and through my senior years. One that includes not only my love of reading, cooking and eating, and needlework but one that includes one more thing I love, exercise.