A terrestrial mollusk that secretes a film of mucus for protection that is as big as a human…what a revolting idea!
Nobody wants to be that…
But…how often do we feel sluggish? The dictionary states that another term for a slow, lazy person is a sluggard.
A little over 4 years ago I decided I had enough with dietary restriction, weight-o-metrics, and bullying myself through tough workouts. I took a hard look at myself and realized that I had accomplished a lot during that time endurance-wise and strength-wise, but I did not feel wise about the choices I was making to get there.
I was 54 at the time. I was lean and fit, but, in some of my pictures, I thought I looked too thin. Could it be that a few extra pounds would fill my face out more? I played with the idea of putting on 5 to 10 lbs in order to have my face look fuller.
Perhaps mainstream thought was right…after 50 it is normal to gain a few extra pounds from hormone changes, slowing metabolism, and loss of muscle mass…
I decided to back off and enjoy life a bit more. Eat a bit more bread. Enjoy that second helping of pasta. Sip a bit more wine with dinner. Indulge in a bigger piece of cheesecake…
I had also begun my 1st book, Saving Your Own Life: Learning to Live Like You Are Dying, and was really enjoying the writing process. Some days I spent 4-5 hours sitting in front of my computer screen writing everything from chapters in the book to blogs to poetry to songs.
This period of my life was productive in two ways. I wrote and recorded two EPs of original music. I formed a band and began performing locally. I got back into acting, a love of mine from high school. I wrote and self-published one book and began another. I completed an Applied Psychology program. I joined Toastmasters and began working towards my goal of working as an Inspirational Speaker. My husband and I continued to grow our successful business.
The second way my life was productive was that I reached my goal weight to make my face look fuller. I am a small-boned person with a naturally high metabolism. For me to gain 5-10 pounds is quite a feat. I cannot apologize for this genetic blessing or take credit for it. However, I did notice a distinct difference in the way my clothes fit, but most of all, I noticed it in my energy level.
I began to feel sluggish. So sluggish that my mind balked at even the thought of hiking a mountain, or taking a 50k bike ride. I talked myself out of going to the gym because it was too cold outside.
During that period I did walk the dog. I did run a few 5ks. I did go to the gym, inconsistently. I did take out my hybrid bike and ride for 20-30k, every once and a while. I did snowshoe and cross country ski in the winter, but sporadically. I did hike a mountain, but a small one.
In 2015 we also biked for 8 days in the Loire Valley in France with a company called G-Adventures. I highly recommend their tours. It was a truly wonderful trip, but it was a leisurely pace that did not challenge me physically.
Honestly, it was easier to sit on the couch most evenings, wrapped in a cozy blanket, sipping a glass of wine, and think about it. Many times, that is what I did.
As I have noted in previous entries, most of the older women in my family have struggled with their weight all of their lives. Even though I dearly love my female relatives, I do not want to have their physique. As 2016 turned into 2017, I began to see ever so slight glimpses of that beginning to happen.
This summer I turned 58. A couple of interesting things happened for me this September.
We once again hiked Mt. Katahdin in Maine (remember the mountain that will kick your butt in one of my previous posts?) up the hardest trail, across the Knife’s Edge, and down the longest trail on the mountain. This time it was truly a grueling hike, and we did it a lot slower than before. I sucked wind a lot of the way.
A couple of weeks later I ran in a local 5k foot race. I don’t like to run and hadn’t trained for this race. I wanted to see what my level of fitness would be if I ran as is, where is. Once again, I sucked wind. I still wound up placing in the middle of the pack (I am happy for that!), but my time was a lot slower than it was the last time I ran.
Could it be that growing older (hormone and metabolism changes) was causing this slowdown? Or could it be that my fitness level, more indulgent diet, and that extra 6 pounds I was carrying around were causing this kind of result?
In October 2018 my husband and I booked a trip with G-Adventures to hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu in October of this year.
I love having a goal! In fact, one of the reasons that I worked so hard to be bikini fit at 50+ was because I wanted to look good on the beaches down South. Our upcoming trip to Peru has provided the impetus that I needed!
This fall I began an experiment. I summoned the spirit of the warrior and tightened up my diet once again. I introduced intermittent fasting into my diet protocol. I began working out on an empty stomach, using Bulletproof coffee as my fuel. I began working out at the gym consistently -3 days per week. I have incorporated HIIT training into my exercise plan. I am lifting heavier than I have lifted before (I am doing the stack on the leg press machine!). In addition to our normal activities of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, I have begun practicing Qi Gong as a wonderful balance to the dynamic sports.
I have dropped the extra weight, and am tightening up the areas that need tightening. I have so much more energy that I am amazed!
The experiment is an ongoing success! I left that sluggard behind, eating my dust.
Folks, I have also realized something profound – I was contributing to the way the world views growing older! I was getting caught up in the belief that perhaps my body was beginning to slow down just because I had enjoyed 50+ birthdays on this side of the grass.
That, my friends, is BS.
I accept that I am 58. It takes longer to recover from an injury than it did when I was 28. Whatever. Play hard, but play smart.
You cannot fight Father Time and his sidekick, Gravity, but you can work with him instead of against him.
I hope you accept this challenge to follow my lead. Find your own personal physical goal and go for it!
Father Time respects the Ageless Warrior. I realized that my overall health and wellbeing is more important than how I look in a damn picture.