The Fat Content of a Fifty-Two Year Old Woman and other News

It's corny, but in 2011 I 'heart' ME!

I know. Why do I need to spend money on a health club membership when all I really need to do is strap on a pair of sneakers and head for the great outdoors?  Except that really isn’t my thing.  I enjoy nature’s wondrous beauty standing still, not riding a bike over the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Instead, I crave stats.  I need to know calorie counts, miles tread, a hill’s gradient.  I need an elliptical.  And so, today, I returned to the place I forgot I loved.  The gym.  I confess.  I was nervous. I knew my fitness assessment was not going to go well.  And here’s the bad news:  thirty-two percent of me is fat.

But there’s good news, too.  My fitness level tests in the ‘good’ range for a woman my age.  Barely.  In other words, I can hit my maximum heart rate and still carry on a conversation, but I can only do two and half push-ups.  My flexibility is good (it better be) but I have postural imbalances that need to be corrected.

What went wrong?  Simple – like many of us, I stopped paying attention. I stopped packing healthy lunches and began grazing at the local Whole Foods.  And just because the food is from Whole Foods doesn’t mean it’s wholesome.  The hot bar has plenty of empty, fatty calories to choose from.  And I convinced myself yoga was enough.

And how can I fix it?  Easy. Mindfulness. Now where have I heard that word before…

I believe in Yoga.  I know it has helped my bone density, kept me as flexible as women half my age and helped me to manage stress levels.  But the style of yoga I love and the one that contributes most to my physical and mental health does not, unfortunately, contribute to cardiovascular health.  To do that, statistics vary, but most suggest thirty minutes of vigorous exercise five days per week.  In other words – I need to balance my Yin and Yang.  I need to regain some equilibrium.

I’m going to let you in on a secret.  I have a silly wish.  I’ve always wanted a lean, muscular body that shouts HEALTH.  It’s not about narcissism – it’s about how being fit makes me feel.  Which is fantastic.  Unstoppable. Confident.  Once – for a few years – I managed to maintain a decent enough fitness level to run 10-K’s on a regular basis. And to have been there and lost it is incredibly frustrating – especially since being physically fit is one of the best feelings in the world.

So I think I’m on the verge of doing something a bit crazy.  The trainer who conducted my fitness assessment today was good.  And I know enough about the body to know who’s good and who isn’t.  I want him to be my personal trainer.  How can I afford it?  I’ll cancel Comcast.  Or something.  I’ll figure it out.

The thing is, I’m tired of talking myself out of life.  Saying ‘no’ to the things I want because as long as bad things happen in the world I don’t deserve good things in mine.

Today the hosts of this blog, WordPress, suggested we write about our personal highlight of 2010. But how can I compare witnessing a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, or seeing my mother for the first time in twenty-eight years to joining a gym?  Yet making this commitment to myself – basically admitting that I am worth the effort – will impact my life more.  After all, I’ve heard it said you can’t love another until you love yourself.  Maybe it’s finally time for me to embrace that idea.

And now I have to ask.  What are you saying ‘no’ to? What’s your silly wish?

7 thoughts on “The Fat Content of a Fifty-Two Year Old Woman and other News

  1. starbear

    Mimm- took awhile to find you, and knew I must read… At 65 I have to say “You go Girl” The pleasures of your body fit at 50+ will benefit you far longer than the incredible edibles and couching, sitting. I still have to make myself sit long enough to write. From my heart to yours, Bravo! I do art that keeps me fit – Kinda long – yet a real work out!
    Subscribed to you – read me too, please?


  2. Not sure about gadgets – can they help you lose weight?

    I am a bit of a lost cause when it comes to dieting but I do walk, swim or dance most days.

    I ahve nicknamed myself mrsblobby as I am also in menopause and in stress!


  3. Kate McGuinness

    I’m visiting at Nathan’s suggestion however I have to say your post intrigued me.

    I’m a woman somewhat older than you who started strength training classes this year. The goal of these twice weekly sessions is to build bone to prevent osteoporosis and to strengthen muscles so that my classmates and I will be able to get in and out of chairs, walk up steps, etc.

    Are the class boring? Despite the best efforts of the instructor, they are. However, I consider myself in training for old age. Try thinking of your fitness program that way. We all have to die but we don’t always have to become enfeebled. Jane Brody of the NYT writes on this topic.

    Keep up the good work!


  4. intermittentblogger

    Stumbled across this as part of the Post a Week challenge – and I admire your resolve! I keep wishing my desire to be fit would overtake my loathing of exercise, but no luck yet.


    • Thanks, Intermittentblogger! It’s a slippery slope and what I didn’t mention in the blog was that I used to weigh almost 200 pounds – so I’ve seen both sides of the fitness spectrum. I loathe the mental effort it takes to convince me to get off my butt, but I love the way I feel when I finally do.


  5. I just stumbled across this post, read the first few lines and thought “I can totally relate to the stastics thing”. I’m a bit of a gadget geek in general and find that looking for a new kind of fitness gadget helps to motivate me.

    I recently got very passionate about my fitness too, and like you, I’ve always wanted an athletic body. There’s no reason you can’t have one, it sounds like you’ve got the right mind set!

    Anyway, best of luck, I hope you achieve everything you want to in 2011!


    • Thank you for the encouragement. Glad to meet another statistics/gadget geek. Best of luck to you, too – and thanks for stumbling upon my blog.


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