Yesterday I posted a side-by-side comparison shot on my @momma_gal account on Instagram. It was one I'd shared before - the left picture being of me when Greg and I tried to do Body for Life back in 2000, and the right one being of me sometime last year.
I remember Body for Life. It was the first diet I tried that I actually saw reasonable success and felt I could keep up. I was only 30 at the time, but by then my weight had started to escalate. I was by no means at my heaviest. That wouldn't happen until much later in my 30s, but even at 30 I was easily carrying around an extra 30 lbs that I shouldn't have. That and I didn't exercise. At all. It just wasn't part of my lifestyle, and I looked at dieting as a short term solution rather than a life long commitment.
I've shared this with you before, but it wasn't until I was in my late 30s that I reached my heaviest. I was right around 170 lbs. I know that may not seem like a lot to some of you, but for me at the time on my frame it felt enormous. I was so uncomfortable at the time and I wasn't myself at all. My weight gain over the years had changed most everything about me. I'm speaking for me - not for anyone else. It hindered my self perception, my care for self, and pretty much tanked my self esteem. I just didn't like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. It was hard to take a compliment. And any attention I did give to myself was through radical curls, gaudy jewelry, or too much makeup. They were all like band-aids in a way - meant to cover up the pain underneath, but like bandages they were only temporary.
I was 37 when I finally made substantial life-long real changes. I've shared that story in length, and you can read it on Jen-Fits-Playground here.
Today though I wanted to share one of the comments I received as a result of posting my picture yesterday. Several were from middle-aged women just like me, but this one in particular touched me more than all the others.
I remember one of the first time I ever stepped foot in the gym as an adult.
Sure there had been times when I'd gone with my mom when I was much younger - a teenager - and I'd trail behind her following what she did.
But I'd never even considered having or needing a gym membership at that time. It wasn't until the weight wasn't coming off so quickly that I tried to appreciate them. The first couple of times I had a gym membership I bought them only to watch the money go to waste because I never went. The third time though I remember going, meeting with a much younger trainer, and feeling so intimidated. I hated the feeling of people watching - as if they were waiting to watch me mess up or make a fool of myself. That's what I hated.
I let that gym membership go too - as well as the training sessions. I was in my low to mid 30s.
It was when I was 37 that I finally decided to bite the bullet. I still had those same reservations. I still wore the big oversized t-shirts and baggy sweats. I still tried to avoid eye contact. I still kept mostly to the cardio equipment. I was uncomfortable. And I didn't like it.
But I DID go. I ignored the voice that told me to stay home. I made myself uncomfortable.
Now it's many years later and in a way I'm on the other side of things. I see new people coming in to the gym all the time. My feelings toward them? Completely proud. Happy. Excited. I know that for many of them the gym is the means to their goal. I am certain it's just as uncomfortable for them as it once was for me.
For every person who feels they are too old, too past the point of no return, too tired, too whatever, I say this... just do it. Go. If something is holding you back, don't let it. YOU my friend deserve to be there every bit as much as everyone else. The younger crowd. The meathead crowd. Everyone.
Ignore the voices in your head that tell you why you can't and remember that yo are every bit as worthy as those who regularly go.
We're never too old. It's never too late. Case in point...
THAT's my Momma. She's 70. Almost 71. She's fighting stage 4 lung cancer.
It's never too late.
Had I not fought that voice who knows where I'd be now. I hate to imagine.