I remember turning my cat calendar over to July 25th this year and joking to my husband, “Only five months until Christmas!” We both laughed at how fast time flies.
That was five minutes ago.
And once again, here we are, bringing the cat to the vets for her annual holiday ornament eating emergency.
This year it was curling ribbon (she’s fine).
Time not only flies, but as we age it apparently accelerates faster than a penny dropped off the top of the Empire State Building.
As a kid everything seemed to take forever. Certainly the time between Thanksgiving to Christmas lasted 400 years. Now I barely have time to buy gifts before it’s time to plan New Year’s Eve.
I wrote on this topic for NextAvenue.org a while back. In it I interviewed a neurologist who told me this warp speed time passing situation is “not all in our heads.”
He talked about how significant events in our life create “memory bumps” that slow down time: Getting married, having kids and other major life events act as speed bumps. As we age, we have fewer of these “bumps” so, therefore, time appears to go faster.
I respect this expert but am not sure I’m buyin’ it.
I’ve gone through some pretty hairy events in my adult life and time did not slow down one single nanosecond.
For example, using this theory, selling my business and picking up and moving from Connecticut to California and getting married within two days of each other should’ve catapulted me back to the Jurassic Era.
But it didn’t.
In fact, the trauma involved with the move itself should’ve been enough to make time stand still. (I may write about that whole incident one day, but it’s only been 15 years and I’m still not fully recovered.)
My point is this…
Ask yourself: Where are you in your life compared to last year at this time in regards to your fitness goals?
If you accomplished everything you set out to do, congratulations! You may now play quietly by yourself as the rest of us talk behind your back.
Just kidding. We’d never do that. But some people would be envious of your progress, rest assured.
But seriously, why do some people get results when others do not?
Great question. It’s such a great question that I’ve spent an entire year of blogging attempting to answer it and have come to one, overarching eyebrow realization: It comes down to living an active lifestyle.
Before you suggest I change my name to Captain Obvious, let me explain.
I’m not saying “active” in regards to exercise, although that’s part of it. I’m referring to leading a pro-active lifestyle versus a passive one.
The easiest way to explain this is by an example…
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF PASSIVE POLLY
Passive Polly doesn’t shop or prepare anything ahead. So she gets up in the morning and grabs cold pizza out of the frig from last night and/or stops at Starbucks and gets a ginormous muffin. It’s high-fiber so that should cancel out the 500 sugar calories, she figures.
She gets hungry mid-morning and grabs a snack out of the vending machine. Whoops, she forgot her walking shoes so no exercise today. Maybe tomorrow if it’s not raining. But it’s cloudy so who knows.
Lunchtime is a co-worker’s birthday, so hey, can’t say no to cake, right? Dinner is grab-and-go, too, but hopefully she’ll have time to shop before the morning if she’s not too tired. She gets home and a friend calls for drinks so she skips yoga. She justifies it by convincing herself one class a week should be enough to lose the weight she wants, although it’s not budging so it must be her genetics.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ACTIVE ANNIE
Annie sets her alarm for 30 minutes early so she has time to exercise before work. She’s set up the coffee the night before so it’s ready when the alarm goes off. She’s packed her gym bag ahead of time and only needs to pick it up and head out the door. She keeps a stack of high-protein bars on the counter to grab if she’s short on time. Otherwise she takes five minutes to down a fruit smoothie with whey protein.
She’s also prepared a salad ahead of time in the frig, already in its little tote bag. If she forgets it she knows the closest fresh market near work that uses organic everything or she’ll get a Greek yogurt and piece of fruit. That does in a pinch. She celebrates with her coworkers but opts out of the cake. If she feels like treating herself, she’ll have a couple of forkfuls but would rather skip it than worry about burning it off later.
You get the idea.
The only New Year’s Resolution you need to me is this:
TAKE AN ACTIVE APPROACH TO YOUR LIFESTYLE DECISIONS.
Taking a passive approach to eating and exercise guarantees you’ll never do it, at least not for long. It’s not always convenient. It’s not always easy.
But it’s always worth it and it always works when you give it enough time.
The key, of course, lies in not leaving healthy eating and exercise to chance.
Spoiler alert! It’s almost never convenient. It’s why so few people stick with it.
Here are three ways to become a more active participant in your weight loss and fitness journey…
Totally off-topic, but I wanted to toss in my new video here in case you are not a subscriber (which you can change by clicking the YouTube button and subscribing!) Add this to your upper body workout for a tighter, toned back and arms (you’ll need a piece of medium to strong exercise tubing with handles):
Always keep healthy food out and in plain sight and plan for breakfasts, lunches, dinners as well as snacks. Left to chance, you’re likely to go for convenience and all good intentions go out the window. Limit treats to single-portion sizes and only on occasion (once a week or so).
As for exercise, plan your week ahead. Decide which days work best for cardio and when you will squeeze in resistance training sessions. Contact a friend to meet you on days when it may be tough to follow through. Take out your workout clothes the night before. Pack a gym bag and keep it in your car.
Get up early, get it done and be on your way. People who exercise first thing in the day are way more likely to stick with it. After work or later in the day gives you too much time to find a reason to skip it. This goes even if you’re not a morning person. If you can get in a lunchtime walk, set your phone alarm to go off as a reminder. Same goes for getting up and out of your chair at least every hour.
Ever hear of the famous marshmallow experiment with kids? You can read the details by clicking on the link, but basically it showed how people who are able to delay gratification for future gains end up more successful than those who act impulsively.
In other words, when you’re striving to get fitter and/or lose weight, and someone shoves a piece of chocolate mousse cake under your nose, you have to make a decision. One gets you closer to your goal and the other takes you farther away. It’s an easy decision when you keep your eye on your end goal. Saying, “no, thank you,” gets easier each time you do it.
What steps will YOU take to become a more active participant in your exercise and eating choices? Leave a comment down below…
P.S. Due to popular demand, I am extending my 90-Day Ageless Body Plan sale through this Friday. So if you’re waiting for a sign to join, this is it! Click HERE for more info and to sign up. Or send me a note at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you with any questions.
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Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.