I confess I don’t always follow the rules.
Don’t get me wrong, I walk my talk.
But I sometimes fall victim to laziness, procrastination, and allow my obnoxious inner child to run rampant through supermarket aisles, opening up bags of flour and dumping them on my head.
For example, I write about the importance of warming up before workouts.
It’s especially important for those of us (specifically ME), who have arthritis.
Yet, I rarely do it myself.
My excuse is as lame as any: I hate taking the time.
I get to the gym super early so I can grab the machines and equipment I want before the masses make their appearance.
That 10 minutes of warm-up makes all the difference at that hour (5:30 a.m.).
I do, however, start out slowly and do a couple of sets with light weights. So I’m not jumping into my workout totally cold, yet I should take more time.
My point is this: We all have our challenges and we don’t always make the right choices. Even people who should know better, like me.
I feel justified as long as I add the disclaimer, “Don’t try this at home. Professional driver behind the wheel.”
It all goes back to the 80/20 rule. Behave yourself 80% of the time and the other 20% works itself out.
So I thought I’d share with you some of the “cheats” I hear most often that may ring a bell with you, too, and how to turn them around.
As I mentioned, I rarely warm up unless I have extra time to spare, which happens every five or so years.
If you do the same, do what I do and just be sure to start slowly. Use a smaller range of motion on the first couple of sets and only your body weight. For example, if you’re doing squats go only halfway down until you feel warmed up.
But seriously, warming up for five to 10 minutes is best.
I keep a semblance of a food journal most days or enter it on my phone or I go old school and write it down on a piece of paper in the kitchen.
And even though I know the importance of recording everything, sometimes I admit I sometimes grab a bite of something and pretend it doesn’t count.
My fat cells and I have a good laugh and it inevitably shows up on the scale if I do this often enough. In short, I end up fooling no one.
If you’re trying to lose weight and find yourself acting as if you’re 25 years old again and can eat donuts for breakfast and still fit into your cheerleading outfit, just be sure to tack on another couple hundred calories to your day’s total.
Studies show most people underestimate calorie intake by around 40 percent.
Do NOT give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
I never do this because I actually enjoy lifting weights, but I know many women who do only cardio in an effort to lose weight.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s simply no substitute.
You need resistance exercise of some type, done two to three times a week, to keep your metabolism up and your body firm. Why? Because you start to lose muscle in your 30s, which slows your metabolism.
End of story.
So if you really truly hate it with the force of a thousand suns, consider the different types of resistance: body weight, tubing, kettlebells, dumbbells, home exercise machines, suspension systems (straps you use at home that allow you to use your own body weight)… or try a combination.
Trust me: It’s worth it when you can zip up those fave jeans or show off your arms in a sleeveless dress.
I love bread. There, I said it.
“Ooooh, she eats carbs! Bread, no less. Someone quick – sprinkle this girl with holy water!”
Yes, and I’m proud of it. I will never give up bread.
In fact, if it weren’t for nutritional deficiencies, I could live on nothing but warm, crusty French baguettes quite nicely for the rest of my life.
And chocolate, of course.
I’m not completely crazy.
Here’s the deal: You need to incorporate your favorite food or drink *cough* wine *cough* into your meal plans or you will be miserable. And it’s not something you can do for life.
Yup, it’s the PC word again: PORTION CONTROL.
Boring but true.
NEWS FLASH: A treat does not have to result in an all-out binge followed by tears of regret.
In fact, it never should.
The exception to the PC rule: If you absolutely positively cannot control the intake of your favorite food you may have to cut it out completely – at least temporarily.
In other words, if you believe you can eat a small handful of M&Ms and then end up in a sugar coma with red, green and yellow fingers (they actually DO melt in your hands), surrounded by little brown bags with the corners ripped out, you may need to take a step back.
Bonus benefit: Your craving for the Food You Can’t Live Without will begin to fade with time away from it.
This starve-all-day-binge-at-night is a common pattern I hear a lot, especially from women who work in offices.
You may think you’re saving calories but it backfires in the long-run. You end up eating way more than you should at night and more than make up for the calories you “saved” during the day.
If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few ways to keep calories down to a low roar when you’re ravenous:
— Before you dive into your food with both feet, start by eating something that takes time to eat: a big salad or bowl of broth based hot soup. Fiber in salad helps you fill up and you can’t easily wolf down hot soup.
— Drink a glass or two of water first… You’ll feel full and it will slow you down.
— Eat what you want but record the food as you eat it –and be accurate. Measure and weigh; this makes you conscious of everything you’re eating and may help you stop sooner than if it were a free-for-all.
What rules do YOU break most often, even though you know it would behoove you to stick to you plan? Fess up! No judging here. Please post below in the comments…
And please share this post with your ageless friends if you enjoyed it. They will thank you a thousand times over.
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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.