Next to weight loss and belly fat, “ways to stay motivated” tops many Ageless Women over 50’s wish list.
Whenever I hear this question I wish I could climb a mountain somewhere in Peru, seek out a bearded guru wearing a multi-colored sarong and offer him a plate of figs in exchange for the answer, which he would provide in a gold-lined box. I’d open the box and a beam of light would emanate from its center with a booming voice that said… I don’t know, because that hasn’t happened yet.
First, if you’ve read a single of my prior posts you’d know this is an unrealistic scenario. For one, my arthritic knee would likely flare up halfway to the top and I’d need to call EMS to bring me back down before I even reached the guru.
So that would be enormously embarrassing.
Plus, I don’t know that figs are available and in season on mountaintops in Peru. And what if he doesn’t even like figs? He’d call one of his bodyguards to send me back down until I came back with a bushel of kumquats.
But assuming it all falls into place, the guru would have to ask anyone who made a similar pilgrimage at least a dozen questions before he could reveal the answer.
Because here’s the thing: Motivation is an individual endeavor. What works amazingly well for one person could do the exact opposite for someone else.
For example, if I suggest you sign up for a class to hold you accountable, if you’re an introvert (like me), that may be the last thing in the world you want: to be sweating and dancing around a crowd of strangers.
In order to discuss motivation, it’s also important to take a look at de-motivating factors that surround you every day, especially situations you may discount or be unaware…
It’s a funny thing, because when you decide to get in shape, lose weight, save the whales or basically do anything positive, naysayers seemingly crawl out of the woodwork like relatives after a lottery win.
The same people who you thought would support you now try to derail you. (I wrote a whole article for Health magazine about this exact phenomena, so it’s not just my own paranoia.) Why would they do such a thing?
Here’s why: Because you shine a light on things they know they should also be doing but aren’t.
How to stay on track: Check out my Health article link above for specifics, but in general, be polite and keep moving forward. Only YOU know what works best for you. Say, “No thanks, I’m good,” and but do not engage, make excuses or cave in to the dark side. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who DO support you and have similar goals.
I blame social networks like Facebook and Instagram for a big part of this one. Let’s face it, people post their best stuff, not their worst. Shows like The Biggest Loser also set unrealistic, unhealthy, weight loss expectations.
How to stay on track: Not everything works the same for everyone, plus, people lose weight at different rates. Don’t compare your results with anyone else. Challenge yourself to make positive changes and maybe share with supportive friends (see above), but avoid feeling discouraged because you’re not losing weight at the rate of a reality show contestant. Do the right things and it will happen. Promise!
For a lot of people, getting older means talking a lot about “the good old days.” I admit, I’m at an age where I catch myself talking about what I used to do at the gym. “Oh, I remember the days of walking lunges while carrying 20 lb. dumbbells.. doing back-to-back aerobic classes wearing leg warmers and a Jane Fonda high-legged leotard…” (Okay, some of this stuff is best left in the past.)
Well, guess what? That days are over, and it’s fine. Time to move on.
How to stay on track: Focus on what you can do TODAY, work around aches and pains and learn to adapt. You can still be fit and active if you take it slow, modify and be patient with yourself.
I recently asked my 30-year old hair stylist what she does to stay in shape. “Nothing, I just worry,” she answered. “I worry about gaining weight [she’s thin] and getting flabby but I don’t do anything about it.”
Worrying and fretting does nothing, but I hear this one from women of all ages, too. This belongs in the same category as, “I know what to do but I’m just not doing it.”
How to stay on track: Do something right now. Today. Stop overthinking it. Seriously, stand up while you read this and walk in place. I’ll wait. See how easy that was? You just burned a few extra calories. You’re on your way!
What stops YOU from making progress? Let me know in the comments section below…
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By the way, if you’d like to surround yourself with other Ageless After 50 women like yourself, please join my Facebook group HERE. It’s a supportive, fun bunch!
And please tell all your friends! I’d be forever grateful.
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.