• Wendy Lee Johnson

Becoming a Black Diamond Nana

I went skiing this week and had an epiphany. If I want to continue skiing black diamonds into my 60's and 70's, I need to invest stronger in my body now. What are your black diamonds that are worth working for?

I want this next chapter not to be one of just getting by, but rather really living and enjoying

Just Getting By

When I get asked to go to the climbing gym or on a rigorous hike, do I want to barely make it? Absolutely not, but that's exactly what I am choosing. My body definitely has a sweet spot where it loves the movement to be. If I overdo it, my joints and muscles feel awful for days and I know I am doing my body a disservice. Conversely, if I don’t move enough, my body feels stiff and sludgy, even at the end of a regular work day.

I Choose My Sweet Spot

I actually get to choose where my sweet spot is by the level of regular movement I do. If I do light yoga, 3 times a week and add in the occasional walk, my sweet spot is very low. Meaning almost everything I do above that triggers inflammation in my body. Where I used to be amazing at “making it through” in my younger years, now the toll is more significant. More importantly, “making it through” isn’t honoring my body. It’s asking for withdrawals that I haven’t deposited. What will those overdrafts look like in my 60’s and 70’s? Not pretty and eventually, not possible.

Why in the world would I give up hiking in Zions?

I Actually Love Being Active and Strong

So why have I have laid off for the last couple years? It's the thoughts I am choosing. These thoughts seem true to me, but don't serve me. They are the thoughts that keep me trapped right here.

Some of my limiting thoughts

  • Exercise isn’t an effective form of weight loss

  • I am working on weight loss, not movement

  • I don’t want to use up my willpower on working out

  • It's not that important, I'm fine for my age

  • I am slowing down a bit anyway with age, it's natural

  • I know I "should" but I just can’t make myself do it

  • I don't want to start something I am going to quit

Disordered Exercise

My exercise used to be mildly disordered, meaning if I wanted to loose 20 pounds, I signed up for a 10K or doubled down at the gym. I would look to the gym for success at the scales. I used running to “make up” for my eating. I didn't even like running. One of the reasons I would sign up for a half-marathon or triathlon was because it meant I could literally eat anything for months.

I have also struggled with “all or nothing” mentality with exercise. My thought: this needs to be an amazing workout or it won't be worth it. As recently as 4 months ago, I decided to try yoga again. Instead of something in the zone, I started with Bikram, which is an intense yoga that lasts for 90 minutes and is done at 105 degrees. I lasted for 1 month.

My Hard Why's

Now it feels much different. My “hard whys” for going starting to exercise are to strengthen this amazing body, that I only get one of. It’s an investment in me and more importantly, my future self. My 70 year old self is excited and grateful every time I do something next level. I am investing my time and energy into her.

If I were to keep going on as I am right now, with only a nod to movement or exercise, it will be no surprise that even though I am a slim 70 year old, my joints and muscles will feel their age and be very limited. I want to make deposits now that will earn compounding interest and make my body rich with mobility and endurance.

I want to do something that is maintainable for the rest of my life. Yesterday, I went for a tour of my local gym. Afterwards, I drove around for awhile to kind of test drive the idea of a gym membership in my mind. My brain definitely started looking to my recent past for proof that I would probably quit. But I decided I don't want to be "past focused" because that will only get me more of the same. It keeps me right where I'm at. My compelling work is looking to my future. This is part of my lifelong love affair with me.

My active future includes camping with the grandkiddos for the weekend

I want to be a “Black Diamond Nana”

I want to have the energy and stamina to do all the things with my loved ones. So yeah, I drove back and signed up with Reggie at the gym. I then spent 30 minutes on the elliptical. I got a little misty as I whispered to myself, "I'm back." It put me back on the map...on a section of my self care map that I have been off of. The best part, it’s because I want to to, not because I should or need to. I don’t have to make myself go. It’s part of my Black Diamond movement.

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