Midlife can be an exciting time, but it can also bring about some changes to our bodies, that can be hard to accept—one of those being weight gain. The problem occurs not when we gain the weight, but, when we begin to accept that this is just the way things must be.
To combat weight gain, we must do two things. Exercise and watch what we eat. The American Heart Association and the CDC suggest that 150 minutes of moderate exercise can work wonders to help you lose weight, build muscle, and increase heart health. If working out for 30 minutes, all at once makes you cringe. Feel free to split it up into 15-minute increments.
The second thing you must tackle is the way you eat. No one was more surprised than I to realize that I could not eat the way I use to when I 35. I had five babies, three of them are only two years apart. I ate whatever I wanted, and after the babies came, started back to running, and the weight literally fell off.
All of that changed when menopause hit, suddenly my belly and knee fat exploded, and I went from a size 10 to an 18 in a matter of months.
A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion followed nearly 200 middle-aged women for three years, tracking eating patterns, overall health, and lifestyle. The researchers found women who did not change their eating habits as they aged were 138 percent more likely to put on about six pounds or more during midlife.
Eating healthy does not have to be overwhelming, watch your portions, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Which means cutting back on caramel latte’s, French fries, and chocolate milkshakes.
I know it’s the middle of January, but, Happy New Year, my sister, I know that 2020 is going to be a fantastic year for us, as we grow spiritually, heal emotionally, and get physically fit. Like millions of midlife women across the land, you have probably decided that it is time for you to revisit the idea of regular exercise. I don’t have to tell you the benefits of regular exercise especially for women over 40, but my momma/coaching instincts are kicking in, and I want to make sure that you understand that putting in the physical work now could save you from not just weight gain but brittle bones, compromised immune systems, loss of energy, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
But, how do you find a gym that you will love enough to use three times per week after the excitement of the New Year has subsided. You know, there are so many weight loss programs, new and exciting exercise equipment like the Peloton bike, but the hard truth is that as a country we are more out of shape today than any time in our history.
My own quest for the perfect gym in 2019 had me feeling like Goldilocks. The first gym was close to home but didn’t have the classes I loved or a pool. The second gym had classes and a pool, but the yoga classes were more like physical fitness classes instead of the quiet meditative qualities I love in yoga, plus I wanted a gym that offered more fun networking events. That led me to my third gym, it had the classes I love, a pool, and fun networking events. But again, the yoga classes felt like I was in a middle school gym class. So, you guessed it, I joined a yoga studio. By the end of 2019, I had four fitness memberships. Thankfully, they have all ended. But I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.
Here five tips that will help you find a gym that you will love or at least one that you will visit as much in July as you will in January:
First, pick a gym that is close to home. That way, whether you rock your workout at 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. You will not have to drive more than 15-20 minutes out of your way to workout. So, check out the gyms in your local area. Make sure that it has ample parking, and ample lighting, if you are going before the sun, comes out. You don’t want to give yourself any reasons for not actually parking your car and walking into the building.
Check your budget: It’s always exciting to start something new, even a new workout routine, the pull of getting our bodies ready for the beach are undeniable. But, make sure that the monthly fees fit in your household budget. Read the contract and check for additional cancellation fees. Nothing puts a damper in your motivation to workout than worrying about how you are going to pay the monthly fees. Also, if your gyms fees are being automatically withdrawn, check your bank statement to make sure that you are only being charged the amount on your contract.
Pick a gym that has activities you love: If you just want to work out on the treadmill, the bike, or elliptical and lift weights, a gym like Planet Fitness could be all that you need. I enjoyed my membership at Planet Fitness, they have enough machines and weight equipment that even during peak times you could probably get in an out within an hour. But I also needed my weekly yoga fix, so I then had to join a yoga studio. My advice is to look for a gym that has everything you need for a complete fitness routine. If you enjoy aerobics or yoga classes, then look for a gym that has a regular line up of those classes. Visit a couple of classes to get a feel for the instructor, and then choose the class you love, make a commitment to yourself to attend that class every week. Put it on your schedule, lock it in, make it a non-negotiable use of your time.
Partner with an accountability partner: most gyms have personal trainers who will help you to get back into the groove after a long fitness hiatus, but they will also act as your accountability partner, helping you get the most out of your visit each week. Some personal trainers will even give you a call if you miss a week. You can also grab a friend and pinkie swear to help keep each other motivated and engaged throughout the year.
Check out the culture: Every gym, like every workplace, has its own culture. Find one that is right for you. To do so, ask yourself the following questions, do you want a gym where you can work out and attend social activities? Do you want a gym that is oriented more towards accommodating the needs of families? Do you want that is oriented more towards adults and children persona non grata?
The bottom line is that you need to find a gym that is close to home, affordable, has the equipment and classes you need for a complete fitness routine. You will need an accountability partner to help keep you going to the gym when your motivation starts to disappear, and you want to make sure that the culture of the gym is one that fits your personality and your needs at this time in your life.
There are 168 hours in a week. We owe it to ourselves to take 150 minutes a week to get our minds and bodies in tip-top shape. Let’s face it, you may not always enjoy working out, but exercising regularly will help you enjoy your life and increase your gratitude level. I promise!
What is prediabetes? How can you delay or prevent a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis? I must admit that I had no idea there was such a thing as prediabetes, also called borderline diabetes. Until that fateful day in my doctor’s office when she informed me that I was prediabetic. I thought this was going to be a routine checkup and blood draw, but it proved to be otherwise. I was devastated. First, because I had always thought of myself as a healthy person who took pride in the way I treated my body. Secondly, because I saw firsthand the devastating results of having Type 2 Diabetes first by watching mom’s daily battles with the disease, and then losing a beautiful neighbor who passed away due to complications from the disease. I knew what laid ahead in my future if I didn’t get my prediabetes under control which could include daily insulin injections.
Today’s post is for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for you seeing a medical professional and getting a complete checkup.
Today we are talking about prediabetes. If you are prediabetic, that means that your blood sugar or glucose levels is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic. A prediabetic person has trouble processing enough insulin to control blood sugar after eating. To diagnosis you, your doctor will perform one of these three blood tests.
Fasting plasma glucose test: If your doctor selects this test, you are asked to refrain from eating and drinking for eight hours before taking the test. If normal, your blood sugar will register less than 100; you are considered in the prediabetic range if your blood sugar is 100-125 and diabetic if your blood sugar is 126 or higher.
Hemoglobin A1C or Average Blood Sugar Test: This test will provide your doctor with a history of your blood sugar levels over the past three months. Your doctor can use this test to determine if you are prediabetic or if you have diabetes. Also, if you have diabetes, this test will help to determine if your diabetes is under control. If your test results show a blood sugar level of 5.6% or less, you are in the normal range. If prediabetic, your blood sugar will be 5.7% to 6.4%, and if you have diabetes, your blood sugar will measure 6.5% and above. This test may be repeated if you have another condition such as anemia or liver disease.
Oral Glucose Test: This test has two parts. First, you will take the fasting glucose test, and then you will be given a sugary solution after a two-hour waiting period your blood will be drawn. Normal results will show a blood sugar level of less than 140 after the second test. If you are prediabetic, your blood sugar level will range between 140-199 after the second test. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar will be 200 or higher after the second test.
While getting a prediabetic diagnosis can be scary, research has shown that by implementing these three lifestyle changes, controlling your weight, exercising regularly, and improving your nutrition, you could delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. So, let’s look at each one of these tools.
Controlling your Weight: The CDC research study found that when prediabetics reduced their weight by as little as 5% to 7%, they were able to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Don’t try something drastic like going on a liquid diet or telling yourself you will never eat a cupcake again, those tactics don’t work, and you could end up regaining more weight than you lost. Start by keeping a food journal and making one small change a week. For instance, if you have a large coke or coffee every morning, start with 16 ounces of lemon water and medium coffee or Coke. When you are ready, increase to 24 ounces of lemon water and a small coffee. The lemon water will promote hydration, it’s a good source of vitamin C, it supports weight loss and improves your skin. Reducing your Coke or coffee size will help you to cut calories without that feeling that you are missing something.
Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Life: Your exercise plan does not have to be daunting, take it from someone who always overdid it and ended up sore and disillusioned. You can start with just 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity, try cycling, swimming, running, or a brisk walk after dinner. If you are currently sedentary, please see your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Get Your Nutrition in Check:
When planning your meals include lean protein, non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or steam cabbage and carrots. Consider cooking more at home and take leftovers for lunch. If you cook at home, you will know exactly how the meal was prepared and all the ingredients that went into it.
Prediabetes can be controlled by making simple lifestyle changes that include weight control, exercise, and eating more nutritious whole foods. If you need help making these changes reach out to me, I completed the Prediabetes certification program Prevent T2 created by the CDC. I can tell you this program is fantastic if you would like more information to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org The important thing is that you decide to make the change today. This decision is not something you can put off until next Monday.
Please share this post with a family or friend who could use this information; there is nothing more powerful than women helping women.
Missed an episode of the Welcome To Your Life Podcast: You can catch up on all the episodes here.
If you are looking for a group of women who understand what its like to struggle through hot flashes, self-doubt, hormonal surges, and hard to lose belly fat. Join the Courageous Women’s Network our free Facebook group, in this group you will receive love, support, and a little kick in the pants when you needed. Plus, you’ll get outstanding training from me that will help you cut out the guesswork and get to your wellness goals.
I woke up this morning not really happy about my life. It wasn’t that my candidate hadn’t won although I still question the validity of the race. It was a feeling of not having control over my life that put me in a deep funk. I had made big plans for 2018 which included starting my own business, writing several books, increasing my social media footprint and crafting a slamming body. But, as the year draws to a close, I realize that the scope of what I had imagined for 2018 might not come to pass.
Of course, I had to snap myself out of this funk because allowing it to linger would have me in a total mental meltdown lying on my sofa, eating food not particularly friendly to the girth of my hips. I had to remind myself that I had accomplished a lot this year. I did, in fact, start my own business, I became very clear on my message and what I wanted to offer my friends/clients. I stop listening to other people tell what I should be doing and decided to follow my gut. I created a workout plan for myself and lost 10 pounds without dieting or starving myself. And I built a foundation for 2019 that will take me to personal and professional heights that will be astonishing if I do say so myself. And I do!
As my aunt Maggie use to say, this is no time to waddle in self-pity. It’s time to move. What I am learning more and more as I travel this journey called life. Is that we are stronger and more resilient than we give ourselves credit. We can if we refuse to give up on ourselves and our dreams to accomplish some unimaginable feats. You many feel like I felt. Like what you wanted in your life for this year has not materialized. But you still have time to start planting seeds that will act as your foundation for 2019. A strong foundation will take you to heights you have only dreamt of, I believe in you! I believe in us!
Three things to do when your doctor tells you must lose weight!
I want to share three tips that worked for me.
1. Don’t panic: take a deep breath and create a plan that begins with a small step.
2. Start small- choose one activity, set a time, and do it every day. This will help you build momentum and consistency.
3. Don’t stop living until you lose weight. Treat yourself weekly on this journey. Choose rewards that do not center around food and go for it, it will only make you feel special and valued.
You get a bad report at your annual physical, and suddenly you realize that you must get your butt in gear and do some real work to get your body in shape. This is what happened to me, even though I lost my grandmother, my dad, and my younger brother to heart disease. I walked out of my doctor’s office in tears. At 218 pounds I was obese. I was prehypertensive, pre-diabetic, and my cholesterol was over 200.
Don’t overdo it like I did. My workout plan mirrored that of a Marine Corp recruit. Start small, I started walking 30 minutes every morning and drinking more water, I added weight training, yoga, my walking turned into a jog, my body began to tell me what it wanted. One day, I put on a dress that I have not worn for seven years, and it fits perfectly.
I was having lunch with a girlfriend the other day. Between us, we had about 25 years in social services. And as most conversations do when two people share a profession, ours turned to work. Prompted by the memory she had of a client who had overdosed. We talked about the hundreds of families we had served over the years, some successfully and some not successfully. The unsuccessful cases seem to stay with you even when you have done the best you could.
I talked about my decision to test the teaching waters and how just after a week of being in the classroom the students and I bonded.
Then our conversation turned to how we affect the lives of people every day in tiny ways that probably not even register on our emotional radar. The cashier at the grocery store, the man who almost hit me in traffic, the woman I smiled at while crossing the street after it happened.
The truth is that every time we encounter someone we leave an imprint upon their life.
Most of those encounters are probably one and done. But, we make decisions each day on how we are going to connect with someone. Will our contact be positive or negative? We make that decision! To yell at the waiter because the lettuce is wilted. To go through the door without holding it for the person behind us. Decisions!
We, humans, are powerful creatures we can create peace with a smile, a thank-you, a seemingly innocuous phrase like have a nice day or let me get that for you. It may seem petty to us but those innocuous phrases can change the trajectory of someone’s day. We meet hundreds of people each day and because of this contact no matter how brief. They and we are forever changed. How many lives do you touch in a day? Unless you leave in a cave or on a remote island, I would say hundreds. Remember your words have power, and your actions can heal.
Many of us are haunted by voices from our past. (maybe even our present) Those voices that told you that you were no good. That you would end up just like your daddy or your mommy. That you were not smart enough, enough, or talented enough to accomplish your dream. Even though you have gone on to achieve some great things in your life, every now an then in those weak moments when the mind wonders you hear that voice. Sometimes it plays on a loop, and you can’t free yourself from the icky residue it leaves on your psyche.
That voice comes seemingly out of nowhere when you are about to step into your purpose. It has stopped you from pursuing your dreams, building healthy relationships, and believing that you are enough. It reminds you of your shortcomings, mistakes, and the people you have hurt. It wreaks havoc without forgiveness. The voice, of course, is wrong. Now its time to diffuse its power.
You have the power to change the voice that plays in your head. Change it to your own voice that offers love, reassurance, and forgiveness. Take out your phone, hit the audio record button and read your favorite bible verse, poem, affirmation. Or, just say I am enough, and I will win.
The next time the voice rears its ugly head, hit the play button and listen to your voice and know that you have won.
Don’t forget to join the family- hit the follow button.