How and Why I’m Finally Becoming "One of Them"

May 28, 2015

I turned 40 this year. Shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone. I’m also at my highest adult weight. Don’t tell anyone that either. And while I can’t do much about being 40 (other than learning to rock the hell out of it); I’m doing something about the latter. I’m often told I don’t look my age (good skin care and sunscreen, folks!); now I want my body to match.

I started working with a registered dietician to improve my eating habits and find a nutritional balance I can live with. She is fantastic but she’s shown me the nutritionist crystal ball of aging gloom and doom. Muscle tone melting before my very eyes. Joints and bones deteriorating at a Lance Armstrong Tour de France pace. Much like every car my husband has owned, bodies break down, too.

I’m terrified of being feeble. Falling scares the crap out of me. Immobility is terrifying. Aging slows most of us down. I’m okay with being a bit slower. I begrudgingly accept that I am aging and have an expiration date. I don’t accept that I have to go into it crumbling like a sleeve of cookies I may (or may not) have enjoyed.

I’m looking for that delicate balance of Ernestine Shepherd (a badass 78 year old body builder) and not ending up in a Hoveround . My days of wearing a bikini are NOT over. (Yeah, I just said that.) I am taking a gamble with genetics, putting in the physical work and doing the best I can to be as strong as possible as the calendar continues to roll. I don’t need six pack abs. I don’t need radical diets or restrictions.

I want to be healthier and in better shape than I am today. I want to be stronger.

So I’m learning to eat well. I’m exercising by walking my beautiful neighborhood. I’m taking advantage of my wonderful and affordable urban YMCA (7 floors, modern, clean, tons of classes, all ages, sizes and a very supportive environment.)

I’m learning new words like: protein, dead lifts, chia seeds, P90X, BMI, BMR. I’m learning what triceps are and where they are located. Reps and sets are making it into my vernacular. I’m drawing the line at cottage cheese. I’m not some crazy person.

I’m working on becoming one of ” those” fitness people.

I have teetered on the very edge of their world and now I’m going all in.

I’m investing in myself.

Finally, I’m declaring love for the body I created from a few extra Pop Tarts and quitting smoking. I’m declaring love for the body I’m creating with nourishment and movement.

I’m creating leaner arms (for more tattoos, of course), stronger legs, a stable core and overall strength. There are zero guarantees that any of this will prevent anything, but I’m hopefully setting myself up for healthier golden years.

And maybe a bikini at 50.