Is your life more than half over? Are you having hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weird cravings, knee pain, back pain, joint pain, belly pain … aaaaaaand do you feel like everyone around you has become a general pain in the you know what?
What was God thinking? Hmmmm. I’ll take a rib from this strapping man to make a delightful young vibrant woman. And for those precious fleeting years when she has the most energy and vitality… and when she looks her very best, I’ll saddle her down with a brood of needy ankle biters. Then, just at the time when those kids become independent, I’ll strip every last hormone right out of her. She’ll be a shell of her former self, completely befuddled.
I get asked all the time about my age. I’m almost fifty-two, and I run two to three miles a day and lift weights four times a week. PLUS, I juggle two very active kiddos who are 100% nonverbal, who rock an extra chromosome, and who require constant supervision and care. “Where do you find the energy?” “What’s your secret?” “Would you train me?”
I had to find the energy for survival, and so I did.
Of course I’ll share my secrets.
Hopefully this blog will sort of be a training tool for those who wish to be trained.
I’ve lived this plan for four years now, tweaking it as I go, so I know it works. If you decide to follow along, know up front there’s a method to my madness. While I do love my family, and while I also believe my mom is one of the most beautiful women in the world who doesn’t look her age at all, I wasn’t born with great genes. The health history in my family isn’t the best, so I couldn’t rely on genetics. I’ve worked hard, I’ve studied, and I’ve figured out a combination that works. It’s not difficult, by the way, but it is a way of life that requires intention and dedication. Without a doubt, if you follow along, you’ll see positive results. Here are the first five foundational steps:
First things first. To reverse the aging process (yes, I did say reverse), scientists say intermittent fasting is a key. What does that mean? It means you only give yourself an 8-10 hour window of eating per day. For example, your window might be 8am until 6pm or 9am until 7pm. During those times, you eat. Outside of those times, you don’t eat food, but you do hydrate.
When you’ve finished the fourteen hour fast, it’s important to think about the first thing you put into your body. This is an opportunity to give your body nutrition and energy. I like to begin my day with a glass of fresh juice. Packed with nutrients that purify your blood, prevent disease, improve circulation, strengthen your immune system, improve cognitive function, and make your skin more radiant, my favorite green juice is a mixture of apple, spinach, celery, cucumber, and lime. Once you get your juicer, make this a priority. I’ve been juicing for nearly fourteen years, because it’s a quick and easy way to make sure I get my daily fruits and veggies. If you’re not a person who regularly eats fruits and veggies, you’ll notice improved energy within days.
Along with drinking fresh juice, I eat one or two protein balls as a first meal. I make them on Sunday and keep them in the refrigerator for the week. My protein balls are made with crunchy peanut butter, honey, oatmeal, coconut, raisins, and dark chocolate chips. You can use almond butter or cashew butter if you have a peanut allergy, and you can have fun with your protein balls by adding different flavors of protein powder, cinnamon, flax seeds, etc. It’s a quick bite and helps you begin your day on the right foot. For lunch and dinner, eat sensibly, meaning limit carbs, sugar, and processed food, and stop eating before you feel full if you want to lose weight. Avoid snacking. And remember, while you can only eat during your 8-10 hour window, you can (and should) hydrate all day.
Hydration. Drinking water is life. IF you don’t already have an insulated mug or tumbler, you can find them anywhere, and you need one. I’ve never been a fan of water, but I drink one-hundred ounces of water per day. I know you’ve heard the analogy of the grape that turns to a raisin when it doesn’t get hydration. Well, once I hit fifty, that analogy got real. I choked down water in an effort to not become that said raisin until I discovered Crystal Light Flavor Packets. And like the fourth stanza of ‘Just As I Am’ at a tent revival meeting, those little flavor packets have changed my life. With only 10 calories per packet, it’s a no-brainer for me. I use one packet per mug of water, and my mug holds 50 ounces. So yeh, I drink at least two mugs of water per day.
And next, of course, is exercise. Twenty-five minutes a day, five days a week, is a must. Find something that motivates you to move. There is a free app called Charity Miles, that will track your walking, running, or biking miles and will donate money to your charity of choice based on your mileage. It costs you nothing, but it gives back something tangible. What can be more motivating than knowing your work is going to help fund a cause that means something to you? Last year, I made a commitment to run 1,000 Charity Miles, and I accomplished it. Some days I ran two or three times a day, and it felt so good to cross that 1,000 mile mark.
There’s another app called Achievement , and it will literally pay you for being fit. If money motivates you, then be sure to download that app.
Commit to run a 5K this summer. There is no better time to begin training. Check out the Couch to 5k App, which will give you a plan on how to make that 5k goal a reality.
I recently purchased a Fitbit Charge 3 , and it has offered extra motivation for me. I use it to log food and water intake, my exercise, calories burned, and sleep.
Bottom line, find something that motivates you to move. Then stick to it. If you’re new to exercise, begin by walking twenty-five minutes a day. Don’t stroll, by the way. You should walk fast enough that you find it difficult to carry on a normal conversation with someone else. Get those arms to pumping and move. Next step, advance your walk by jogging for a minute and then walking briskly for three minutes, interchanging the two, back and forth until the twenty-five minutes is up. Advance further by jogging for a minute and walking for two minutes, interchanging the two … then jogging for a minute and walking for a minute … and so on and so forth, continuing the interval process until you’re able to jog (or run) for twenty-five minutes straight. The tabata app is helpful for keeping up with your interval times.
You might think you’ll never become a runner, but as soon as you start running … guess what? You’re a runner. I wasn’t a runner until two years ago, and would’ve never thought I’d run like I do now. The key is to just do it. I’ve tried it all, interval training, group exercise classes, elliptical machines, biking, running, etc. For me, running has produced the best (and fastest) all around results. It’s definitely worth a try.
Last step, if you are smoking any type of cigarette or if you’re vaping, stop. Smoking has been proven to age our bodies faster than anything else. You’re in menopause hell anyway, so what better time to give up the habit?
To recap, the first four foundational steps are:
- Intermittent fasting
- Hydration with water (and juicing)
- Limiting (controlling) carbs, sugar, and processed foods
- Don’t smoke
As a special needs momma, I was guilty of neglecting my own care. One day I had a light bulb moment and realized God doesn’t discriminate, which means He isn’t going to give me a health pass just because I have two kiddos who need me. It’s up to me to put in the work by doing the best I can to take care of my health so I can be with my kiddos for the long haul. It’s the same for you, whatever your circumstances are.