Often people tell me that they hate to exercise, that its hard work, a chore they would rather avoid, something that they have a real aversion to. When we have a passion for what we are doing, when we really enjoy our activity, it no longer seems like hard work but rather something fun that we look forward to doing. What better way to spend our free time than doing something we really enjoy, which in turn is helping us to burn fat, get fit, become strong, improve our well-being and lift our mood.
When I first meet Mary she didn’t walk, she shuffled into the room, with her eyes down, her hands buried deep in the pockets of her oversized cardigan and her shoulders hunched. After some time Mary began to listen to my advice, she started to make better food choices and to walk. She hated walking but knew that it would help with her fat loss and fitness. Mary always said that she never liked going out the door to walk but was always very happy afterwards that she had made the effort. Her mantra as her 50th birthday approached was ‘I don’t want to be fat, fifty and forgotten’. She lost 125lbs/9stone/57kgs and celebrated turning fifty in style.
Last year Mary began climbing mountains with me and finally; at age 59 found her passion for fitness. She may not like walking, but she loves walking on mountains and hills. Recently I had the pleasure of celebrating Mary’s 60th birthday with her in the beautiful county Donegal. We had a birthday meal on Friday night and rose early Saturday morning to climb Mount Errigal, Donegal’s highest mountain.
Having had a late night and early morning I noticed that Mary was struggling a little, to keep up with the group. Errigal can be a challenging climb. We begin the hike on bog land, get our footing wrong and we are knee deep in a bog hole, and yes I am speaking from experience. The bog leads to a steep path of scree, which has its own dangers. The ground moves and changes with every step we take. Even confident hill walkers take slow, tentative steps on a scree path. We regrouped, caught our breath and I asked Mary to take the lead. She was reluctant, in fear of holding us up, but once I reassured her that we were in no hurry and that we all needed to pace ourselves, she agreed.
Mary took the lead, I followed closely behind, but not too closely, as every time the wind caught the foil ‘Happy 60th birthday’ balloon that rose above Mary’s backpack, I got hit in the face. As we meet walkers descending, seeing the balloon they stopped to wish Mary a happy birthday, and she even got some birthday kisses.
We talked, joked and laughed our way up the 751 metre /2,464 ft. mountain face. As we reached the summit the group held back just a little and let Mary enjoy her moment of glory. At 60 years old, Mary had just led a group to the summit of a challenging and majestic mountain.
We popped the cork of the Prosecco, clinked our glasses and congratulated each other on a good climb. I couldn’t help but remember the 49 year old Mary who shuffled her way through life, never lifting her feet, her head or her shoulders. The old Mary is long gone and unrecognisable in comparison to this confident, fit and happy woman, who floats through life embracing one new experience after another.
It is never too late to change. It is never too late to find your passion for fitness. There is no time limit on achieving fat loss and fitness. The only limits are the ones we create in our own heads.
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