A couple years ago I started a Facebook group for women over 50 (Ageless After 50 Women).
We share issues ranging from weight loss to hot flashes and anything relevant to health and fitness that’s frustrating enough to make you seek anger management treatments, book a flight on the next Mars mission, or start a medical (wink wink) marijuana farm.
Instead, we hash it out with each other with a lot of, “You go girl!” and other supportive fist-in-the-air morale boosting along with legit helpful tips.
We’re up to nearly 1,900 members (all vetted by yours truly, in typical control freak fashion). Members join up and drop out as they do with all these things.
I don’t have a way of knowing who’s left the group and for what reason — unless they decide to tell me.
That’s where the fun comes in.
Let me preface this by saying, as a freelance writer I am no stranger to criticism and trolling. I once wrote an article for MSN Health that motivated a reader to wish me (and I’m paraphrasing here, but only slightly), a slow, torturous death.
The worst part? She tracked me down from Spain and sent me a link to the Spanish version of my slideshow (I won’t say more about the story, but it was a controversial topic decided upon by my editor).
It was not a blog or op-ed, but an assigned piece that included quotes by various experts in the field.
Yet, people like my Spanish fan still wanted to shoot the messenger, ask questions later. Another time a reader wrote to my editor and blasted her for hiring such an incompetent writer (me). Fortunately, this editor knew me well and we both had a good laugh over her bogus accusation.
Every writer has their stories. Still, verbal assaults always sting me a bit.
More typical comments over the years have targeted my sanity (get in line), knowledge of fitness, and I once even got blasted for the “amount of plastic surgery” I’ve had — which, in reality, is NONE.
I try to ignore them but I can’t say I’ll ever get used to being stomped on. It’s too easy to hide behind a keyboard and forget (or not care) you’re talking to a real, feeling human being.
So last week when a woman quit the group and sent me a parting email, I was ready for just about anything.
People have quit my Facebook group in the past because they’ve had a disagreement with another member, didn’t like my take on something (the facts turns some people off) or because I would not allow them to sell some bogus product.
But here’s one I never heard before. She quit because the group was “boring.” Her exact note was, “Boring! Bye.”
At first I did the logical thing and told my computer to shut up. If she was talking about my life, then sure. But I like it that way. I’ve had enough drama in my life to fill five lifetimes. Boring is fine.
So I went back to the group’s timeline and ran down through all the posts to see if we were, really, a bunch of fuddy duddies.
I saw a lot of evidence to the contrary: We had engaging and very active conversations about coping with stress eating, falling off the nutrition wagon on weekends, plastic surgery: yay or nay?, simple meals and a bunch more.
Then I thought for a minute. I had questions for this person who bailed after a week.
- Who joins a Facebook group for excitement?
Answer: No one in their right mind
- How would you get excited in a Facebook group?
Answer: I don’t know and I don’t want to know
- Why didn’t you, person who quit, try contributing and stir up this excitement you crave so much?
Answer: Because it’s easier to quit and blame someone else for your misery
The group is about fitness, eating, weight loss, menopause and tightening up flabby underarms and abs. Unless you pull up the page on your iPad and take it skydiving with you, it’s not likely going to get your heart rate up.
It also made me think how often I hear this same complaint about fitness: “It’s so boring!”
So I’d like to dispel this myth right here and now: It can be true at times. But being unhappy with your body seems a lot worse, no?
Consider this: Brushing your teeth, taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning also aren’t laugh-a-minute, daredevil experiences (at least for most of us), yet, we somehow manage to do them every freakin’ day!
If I said to you, “See this little brush? Every morning — in fact TWICE a day for the rest of your life — you’re going to squirt a blob of mint-flavored paste on it and scrub your teeth with it,” how would you react? But wait, it gets worse! Then you take a piece of string and run it between every, single, tooth.
It doesn’t get much more boring than that. Ditto for bathing.
Yet, we do it because we don’t want people spraying Lysol into our mouths every time we go to speak or passing out whenever we raise our arms overhead.
As a person who’s worked out consistently for close to 40 years, and after talking to others with a similar track record, truth be told, it’s not always easy.
But here’s the thing: Like brushing your teeth, if you value the results, you do it anyway. Keep doing it consistently and you will eventually be in Toothbrush Mode, where you work out without thinking about it.
Then I’ll know my work here on earth is done. I’d say I have my work cut out for me.
In the meantime, here are a bunch of tips to add “excitement” to your workouts that may help so you no longer need to scream “YOU CAN DO THIS!” at your reflection in the mirror before every session…
Intervals! (see link below) — you burn more calories AND they make the workout more interesting
Change the scenery. Go indoors if you usually walk or run outdoors and vise versa. Change gyms. Try a new class. Anything to change the same old same old.
Try new equipment. For cardio, mix walking and biking with the elliptical trainer; if you use dumbbells try machines, if you use tubing try body weight exercises, etc.
Listen to music, watch TV or listen to audiobooks — and only allow yourself to watch or listen to your favorites while working out.
Work out with a friend. Yes, I know I’ve said this before, but it really, seriously works. Just be sure you’re both at about the same level and that at least one of you is motivated enough to get the other person going on days when you’d rather skip it.
Visualize yourself reaching your goals. You don’t have to get all woo-woo about it, light candles and burn sandalwood incense. Just take a few minutes each day to sit quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed, and “see” yourself fitting into your jeans or whatever else you’d like to wear. Focus on how it feels and really paint the picture in your mind. Trust me, this works. I do it.
Sign up my Facebook group. Believe me when I tell you we’re anything but boring — AND you get support on “off” days.
Check out the other tools I offer on my site, and be sure to sign up for my upcoming webinar, 7 Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat After 50. See details HERE, and sign up for either June 7 and 8th. More details soon!
Tell yourself you can quit exercising after five minutes. That’s it. Get your walking shoes on and plan to walk for five minutes. Chances are you’ll go for longer, but knowing you made a “deal” with yourself gives you a legitimate out if you still feel like bailing.
Remember WHY you’re making these changes. Create a reason beyond weight loss, which fades with time as you get closer to your goal. Think of being around for your grandchildren’s wedding or whatever else compels you. Keep reminders of your “why” in front of you every day.
YOUR TURN… What helps you stay on track on days when it’s hard to get going? Let me know in the comments section below…
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