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Friday, May 23, 2014

Sandy: Muscle has Memory… Right?

Muscle has memory….or so I hope.  In case you didn’t get to read my history, I started lifting back in the 80’s, the LATE 80’s that is, when I was 15 years old.  Sure, I wished I was one of those petite, waif type people, with thin arms, and slender build, but alas, I was not.  I was built like a brick house.  I had (have) broad shoulders, and thick legs.  And I was strong, I mean really strong.  I was probably the strongest of all my female (and some of my male) friends at the time.  I embraced my build and my strength, it was the only thing I could do because if there is one thing I knew for sure, a person cannot change the structural build they were born with. 

Fast forward to my late 20’s.  I was going to the gym consistently 6 days a week, waking up at 4:30 am to get my two hour work out in before my day began.  I remember my late 20’s, when I was tough, and buff.  My arms were pretty cut, though I was a far cry from having six pack abs, because THAT required me to eat really lean, and I just didn’t have the discipline to do it.  I could jump on a bike and just ride for four to six hours at a time.   Physically, I was a powerhouse of energy.   However, I remember seeing some older women and men, with their stomachs expanding outward, apple shaped.  They looked soft, and I said to myself, “I would NEVER LET MYSELF get to that point”.

Fast forward to my mid 30’s, I had my second child and I fell into a rut.  A rut of poor eating, very little exercise, and a whole lot of depression and frustration.  My schedule was no longer mine to do with as I pleased.  I had two children’s schedules to maneuver through my own life and work schedule.  I was no longer was my own first priority.  The weight started to creep on, slow, then quickly bouncing up 25 pounds above my comfort zone, where I leveled out for a while.  Then, within the past two years, I bounced up ANOTHER 25 pounds (much to my dismay) and it seems to continue to rise no matter how hard I work out, or how much I try to fight the battle with diet.

This 8+ year long rut has lead me to the point where I am today.  My metabolism has slowed down, WAY DOWN (which is typical after the age of 35… I guess) My poor eating habits are deeply ingrained, and shifting them has proven to be a ruthless battle, where I am fighting miserable episodes of being “HANGRY” (hungry which leads to angry).  I panic when I get hungry and my stomach doesn’t seem to want to be satisfied till I’m over full, since I have trained it to expect that. 
“It isn’t that easy, is it sweetheart?”  Says my subconscious self.  “You thought you were above the odds didn’t you?  You thought that the older generation of people that you once feared you would become were just people who weren’t trying hard enough.  Well take a good look in the mirror darlin.  You have become one of those “Older people” with the expanding apple shaped waistline, and soft hips.  And you thought you could easily maintain your 20 year old physique forever.  HA!“ 
My, my how times have changed.  There was a time when I could sign up for any class without a second thought.  I knew I could handle it no matter how tough it would get, I loved the challenge.  I used to be one of those people in the fitness classes who would whoop and holler for more, getting bouncy and peppy (or down right annoying, depending on how you look at it) in the back of the class.   
Now I worry if my knees will buckle when I walk down the stairs!  It’s crazy how age changes not only our bodies but our minds in a very short amount of time. 

Here are the lessons I want to share.   If you are young, stay consistent and true to remaining a healthier you;  through working out and eating right.  You have to fight for your healthy physique, or it will slip away like sands through the hourglass, right before your eyes. 

The other lesson I have learned is that as I age I can no longer eat the way I once did.  I have to realize that I don’t move as much, and I have less muscle mass, so I can’t justify the big meals anymore.  Also, that I have to put all else aside and once again make myself the top priority.  I have to keep myself challenged and have fun when I am working out, or I will not want to come back. 

My most significant lesson is the acceptance of change.  Acceptance, by the way,  is NOT settling.   I am not settling with my current weight or lack of muscle, but I will love it as I am working on shifting it.  As hard as it is, I will love every curve and every ounce.  I will not be so quick to judge as I once did in my 20’s, when the world was my oyster, fitness came naturally and I had all the time I wanted to work on myself. 

We are all built differently, and we all have our own challenges.  I want to look like me, beautiful, unique and wonderful me! 

I love sharing the world with all the fantastic, wonderfully diverse people around me.      

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