I’m turning 48 years old this year. I am not really that hung up on “age”. But I am aging. I have been consistently inconsistent with exercise and diet throughout most of my adulthood. I have engaged in fitness and diet routines and then would fall back into old, bad habits. My story is not unique. I bet all of us have experienced this at least once. Well, I’m back on the fitness train and this time I feel even more motivated and determined. This is why.
Aging brings with it some unpleasantness. But it shouldn’t be. It’s a fact of life and those of us who reach old age should be grateful. Past decisions and habits are catching up with us. I am fortunate to have not fallen into seriously destructive habits but nonetheless, some bad habits have manifested. My nearly 48 year old body is now envious of that 30 year old body I never thought was good enough. I weighed about 100 pounds then. But it was not a healthy 100 pounds. It was a 100 pounds brought on by stress, working three jobs, and a diet of red wine and Spaghettios. I kid you not. I was going through a divorce. Nuff said. 😉
What got me going this time? Last year I injured my back. Not a serious injury. My back had been messed up for awhile from birthing a child and a car accident. I had some issues that had never been properly corrected and aggravated by my activity or lack thereof. I actually injured it pulling weeds in my garden. No joke. My right hip/low back hurt like crazy and I could hardly walk. I took an over the counter anti inflammatory which didn’t help much. Later, I experienced a panic attack. I have NEVER had a panic attack before in my life. I blamed it on the meds since I rarely ever take them. I thought that was the cause. As time went on though I experienced more of them. I ended up at ER once. I felt as though I’d pass out at home and went into a panic. It was so frightening not knowing what was going with me. I also felt “electrified”. Like my whole body was experiencing restless leg syndrome that could not be alleviated. Many times I cried just wanting it all to stop and be normal again. I wasn’t able to do my usual activities like mow the grass, work in the garden. It was hard to focus on my family. Housework and dinner prep was such a chore. I was depressed.
I did more research and while no doctor could really tell me why I was experiencing the symptoms that I was, I had theories. One was that my psoas was injured/aggravated, which can cause all kinds of crazy symptoms. My car accident injury caught up with me. But I also had fears that something more serious was going on. I had an MRI done on my spine and was told I had some inflammation and that they could give me some shots. I declined because the procedure itself sounded awful and painful and temporary. This was not what I was looking for. This didn’t sound like a solution to me and it also did not explain my other symptoms. I was prescribed, once again, an anti inflammatory and muscle relaxers which I didn’t take because they did no good. The MRI also revealed that I had gallstones.
I looked into the gallstone matter further and found some symptoms others experienced that I was also experiencing. There apparently was so much going on with me yet I had no idea. It’s as if everything came to a head at once. I had the gallbladder looked at and it had to go. So I was dealing with a jacked back causing all kinds of unpleasant issues along with a bad gallbladder. I couldn’t really eat anymore because it made me feel ill or caused horrible heartburn. I was feeling defeated and depressed. I know these were not serious problems. I wasn’t terminal. I didn’t have a “disease”. Yet these issues invoked some introspection and deep consideration about my health like how I’d taken my good health for granted. These issues were giving me a little insight to how people with serious or debilitating health problems must feel everyday. I had a very hard time seeing the silver lining or an end to it. But, eventually it came. I sought treatment for my muscoskeletal imbalances, surgery to remove my gallbladder, and as I started healing, I was able to get back to those activities that brought me happiness – gardening, mowing, landscaping, cooking, quality time with family, even cleaning!
After over a year of being sedentary, I was feeling weak and not very healthy at all. After my gallbladder issues finally started to heal and my body adjusted, I wanted to eat! I wanted to eat all that good stuff I had been missing out on. And I did, and I gained weight. I finally hit a point where I wanted to change this and I wanted to be strong and healthy again. I made a conscious effort to be mindful and grateful of my health in every moment.
Around September of 2016 I started walking. I’d just get out and walk everyday around our property. I had a fitbit and I clipped it on my hip and kept track of my steps. I would set walking goals and increased them frequently. The weather was turning colder and I was not enjoying the walks outside anymore. I started to do more yoga inside. My husband had started a bodybuilding program and that inspired me to start some bodyweight training.
We have a tiny home and limited space. While he trained at a gym, I trained at home. I started out with some bands and bodyweight. I was feeling good. My back was feeling better. I was getting a little stronger and that’s what kept me motivated. I focused on what I was gaining. I focused on what little progress I had made.
As a Christmas gift, my awesome husband bought me a set up Powerblock dumbbells. These were awesome! In our tiny home, there is no place for a set of traditional dumbbells. The Powerblocks nest together and I can keep them out of the way so easily. I stepped up my game a bit and I was getting results.
My husband joined the local gym here in our small town and eventually he talked me into going with him as a guest one day. He coached me through a workout and it was great! A week later, we upgraded to a family membership.
Previously, I had created my own workout plans but I started following his plan, MI40.
In the three months I started bodyweight, I’ve gained muscle, strength, endurance, vitality, energy, focus, self confidence, and a healthy lifestyle. What I have lost is fat, self-consciousness, weakness, bad habits. As many people like to do, I was wanting to share my renewed enthusiasm from the starting gate but experience told me to wait because I’ve abandoned such things before. The enthusiasm wanes. Three months in now and I have only gained momentum. I have a vision, I have goals, and I have discipline so it seemed safe to proceed with sharing. I have a much different mindset than I have had before.
I don’t read about or hear about too many women in my age group embarking on a bodybuilding journey and I hope to inspire, encourage, and motivate more to do so. I also hope to share information with you that I have not found so easily in my own research.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this blog!