If only I had started exercising in my youth, but I did not…neither of my parents exercised, and in our Armenian household we were encouraged to “eat slow so you can eat a lot”! Meals were heavy and desserts were served regularly. Clearly genes were in my favor since I never had a significant weight problem – pic below was just before menopause, in my late 40s – not awful, but definitely not toned or ‘fit’. When two years later menopause hit, the pounds piled on and my waist noticeably thickened…there are no swimsuit pics to be found in those years, and I am sure that was no accident! It was time to take action…
For the first time in my life, around the age of 50, I joined a gym. My focus was initially with Zumba, then tried weight and Spin classes here and there…I also started paying closer attention to diet – thought exactly what I ate then, who knows, but the combination and commitment worked. I lost weight and I could definitely see a difference in my muscle tone…I was hooked.
Fast forward to the pandemic. Age 62. With the gym no longer an option, I tried running. Not a fan. I worked out with weights at home and did so 5-6 times a week for three years…I cut way back on carbs, and tried to also cut way back on portion sizes…for as hard as I seemed to be working, in April of 2023 I felt as though I had reached a plateau and it was time to kick it up for better results.
So here it is – what I have been doing for the past three months:
About 5 times a week, I work out at home in the morning for 30 minutes, starting with 120 jumping jacks and a 2-minute plank. Then I do a variety of exercises with weights, primarily focused on the ‘Triple A’: abs, ass, and arms. Some of these are sit-ups, Russian twists, Romanian deadlifts, bicycle crunches, front raises, and leg work with resistance bands. Never more than half an hour.
On April 30th I joined Orange Theory, and now do that 4 times a week in addition to my home workouts. It is not easy to say the least. It is scary to me at times. I am lifting heavier weights than ever before. (Peer pressure!) On the treadmill I push myself, hoping that I don’t fall and embarrass myself. At the end of each class I feel exhilarated and empowered. Hooked again. 🙂
With the intensity of my workouts now, I eat very healthy, but with less concern about carbs, and less concern about tiny portions. Breakfast is usually two egg whites (sometimes the yolks too!) with spinach and other veggies, and a slice of Ezekiel toast with real butter. Snack is low-fat cottage cheese with berries, lunch is a salad with protein, avoiding cheese and cranberries (fat and sugar)…quinoa is sometimes a salad addition…dinner is usually a protein (fish, chicken, steak, lamb) with salad and a carb! Yay! Generally it’s half a sweet potato or a half cup of rice. Allowing myself these ‘good carbs’ makes a big difference in avoiding unhealthy snacking. As for sweets, I generally avoid them, except on vacay or on a special occasion…as for alcohol, I do enjoy it almost every night, mostly tequila or vodka, because wine has too much sugar…but I don’t avoid wine altogether. Other ‘go-to’ snacks: watermelon (instead of ice cream), berries, a handful of skinny pretzels, wasabi almonds.
Since the onset of menopause I have been taking HRT (Activella) as well as DHEA 100mg (over the counter)…they helped with the initial symptoms of menopause, and seemed to have prevented all other unwanted ‘female’ aging issues…these may not be good choices for everyone, so do your research and talk to your physician if you are considering. 🙂
Here’s another blast from the past pic, not long after I met hubby…while we do not workout together, we constantly support each other, learn from each other, and make fitness a big part of our lives…having the same mindset with your spouse is definitely a win-win for both!
It has certainly been a journey to be FIT AT 65. You never could have convinced me fifteen or twenty years ago to lift heavy weights – to me, a “clean and press” meant to do the laundry. Get my heart rate up so I felt “uncomfortable”??? Why in God’s name would I want to do that??? Turn down an opportunity to get an ice cream cone??? Are you crazy??? Hahaha. Well, it may have taken me awhile, but better late than never!
Hope that this inspired you in some way, wherever you may be on your fitness journey…glad to answer any questions!
Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy every day.