Once upon a time there was a girl who was physically fit, who played hours of tennis or softball or touch football with wild abandon without stopping to bend over, hands on knees, gasping for air. This young woman paid nary a thought to cellulite, thunder thighs, and saddle bags, and she went merrily about her way, eating whatever she wanted, as much as she wanted, whenever she wanted without any repercussions.
No, that's not a fairy-tale; for most of my life, even as I moved from girl to young woman and then to woman, that description fit me. Oh, perhaps "hours" became "hour", but for the vast majority of my life I have been active, strong (for my size), and physically fit.
Unfortunately, about eight years ago, that began to change. Long story short, between several moves, my husband's death and my lack of interest in much of anything for quite some time afterward, a physical condition that pretty much limited my exercise options to walking for over a year, and a general lack of get-up-and-go, I am now very familiar with saddlebags and cellulite. Worse yet, I now sport upper arms that flap so well I should be able to fly!
Armed with information gleaned from my son (a fitness buff and doctor), my own general practitioner (a savvy man with common-sense), my bone-loss specialist (very highly respected in her field), a friend and chiropractor, a friend and personal trainer, a friend and nutritional fanatic of the best sort (common sense), and several well-trusted books including Younger Next Year, You Staying Young, and Thinner Next Year, I've devised a very basic plan for getting back into shape and (God willing) staying there for the long haul. I shared my plan with my general practitioner and bone-less specialist, and I am not above a little shameless bragging that they both declared it outstanding.
My plan involves 6 daily goals:
1200 mg of calcium (dietary, not supplemental)
110 g of protein
4 veggies (minimum) & 2 fruits
64 oz of water
exercise -- 4 days of cardio/weight-bearing (brisk walking, riding my bike)
2 days of strength training (at the gym for now)
1 day (Sunday) - a 1 1/2 -3 hour activity (hiking a trail, long bike ride, etc.)
I've also cut out "white stuff" (sugar, flour, pastas, etc), grains, and dairy products. I easily get the 1200 mg of dietary calcium per day without ingesting a single dairy product, and my stomach & intestines are much happier. :) I purchased a heart-rate monitor and on cardio/weight-bearing days am careful to keep my heart rate in the correct range.
It's a work in progress; 6 days in, and I'm not yet to the point of achieving all 6 goals every day. On my best day this past week, I met 5 of the 6; on my worst days, I met only 3. The goals I've had the hardest time reaching are the 110 g of protein and the 10,000 steps. I was surprised that the latter presented was such a challenge because I love to walk. What I've learned is that in my day-to-day routine I don't walk nearly as much as I thought I did!
Even though I only met 1/2 of my goals on 2 days and haven't yet reached all of my goals even once, I'm pleased with what I've done so far. It took me more than a few years to develop some bad habits, and I know it's going to take more than a few days to develop healthier ones.
Even more important, to me at least, is that having these goals to work for and then working to meet them has proven to be very uplifting not only physically but also emotionally. I feel good about getting out of my rut, and I have more energy than I've had in quite some time. I feel better about myself.
Hopefully, it won't be long until I'm able to post that I went 6 for 6 every single day. I hope you'll journey along with me, read my weekly (Saturday) updates, and maybe even join me!