Joy, 57, lives in Texas and participated in my last round of the Tone Every Zone Challenge (Level 1). Even though I think she felt a little hesitation at the beginning, she won this round for Level 1!
I wanted to make sure to share Joy’s story because I know readers out there are going to relate to how she felt throughout the journey!
Before the first week began over a month ago, I received this e-mail from her:
“I’m gonna be honest – everything in me is fighting to quit before I even get started because I’m so discouraged at how terribly out of shape I’ve become these past couple of years going through menopause. But I’m trying really hard to stay positive… Fighting negative self talk today is my biggest goal.”
Don’t we all know this feeing? Maybe it’s in the arena of fitness or body image, or maybe it’s in a professional endeavor, or even a relationship. But I know we can all relate to the feeling of wanting to quit before we even get started. We’re overwhelmed by the possibilities of how many things could go wrong, we’re unsure of our ability to cope with challenges, and we worry that we’re going to put in a lot of work with nothing to show for it.
I especially see these doubts in women who have been through menopause. When a woman feels that she has lost her athleticism and confidence, it can be incredibly discouraging to work with a changed body and stay positive.
But Joy did it.
How She Did It
In terms of nutrition, Joy focused primarily on two aspects of her eating:
- She decreased her alcohol intake.
When I initially got her e-mail expressing uncertainty, this was one of the first pieces of advice that I gave her. For women of any age, but specifically those who are going through or have been through menopause, alcohol can be a barrier to both feeling and looking great.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that someone has to be binge drinking or even drinking heavily to stall out progress. Most of my female clients find that pulling “moderate” intake down to “light” intake can make a big difference – this can be as small as decreasing from a nightly glass of wine to just a few glasses of wine per week.
As Joy said of decreasing alcohol, “It’s helping tremendously to cut out the wine that I was drinking on the weekends or in the evenings. I had gotten into a habit of having a glass of wine to deal with stress. And instead now I’m back to what I always used to do, which is take care of myself. So I’m feeling mentally much sharper than I have in years!”
- Secondly, she didn’t count calories, but she planned ahead and focused on nutrient-dense whole foods.
In her own words. “I really don’t stress about counting calories as much is just watching my portions. I’ve been focused on the protein and some sort of veggie or fruit with every mini meal. I’m eating about 5 times a day.”
Having watched her weekly planning forms, I know that Joy was not kidding about focusing on protein, fruit, and vegetables. She was really fantastic about planning ahead with specific, simple meals like fish and vegetables or chicken and lettuce wraps, and snacks like hardboiled eggs and fruit.
In terms of exercise, Joy followed the Tone Every Zone Challenge 28-day workout plan. These workouts are just 20 minutes long and can be done entirely at home!
Like many of my clients, Joy found that working out in the morning before leaving for work led to the most success.
She set aside 5:15-5:45 AM as her sacrosanct workout time, and also used the Weekly Progress Check form (my planning tool for the program) to look ahead to when she would need to rearrange workouts to match unusual scheduling obligations.
All in all, Joy lost eight pounds, and built a habit of morning exercise that is going to continue to reap rewards for her in terms of health, self-esteem, and strength. Not only that – she is moving on to Level 2 of the program!
My favorite thing about working with Joy has been her focus on both physical and mental strength. In many ways, spirituality played a role for her, as well – because this 28-day challenge coincided with Lent, she experienced it through the lens of her faith, as well.
Altogether, I really admire how Joy does not see her “self” as being in separate parts – body, mind, and spirit. She sees them all as working together to make up who she is as an individual, and that improving one area is connected to the other domains, as well! This is something I try to embody myself, and I try to create this atmosphere of growth for all of my clients. Joy brought it to the table immediately.
In terms of handling the changes that menopause brings, Joy remarked, “I learned that I can still re-boot my self discipline and energy even though I’m older!”
I also love it when clients have a “why” that is bigger than weight loss. For Joy, getting fit again meant feeling motivated to pursue one of her hobbies.
“I’m getting excited to re-join my outdoor club. I had joined one about a year ago and then stopped going because I was feeling so lethargic and out of shape that I didn’t want to go to any of the events. But now since I’ve started back up exercising with your program, I’m actually going to join my outdoor club on some activities this weekend!”
Finally, when Joy dealt with a very stressful family situation in the middle of the program, she realized:
“Most importantly, I’ve felt physically and mentally REALLY STRONG and able to handle the physical demands this is putting on my as well as the mental stress! It’s been amazing!”
Way to go, Joy!
At the time of this post, there is currently just one more day to sign up for the next opening of the Tone Every Zone Challenge! Sign up today to start your journey on April 15! Registration closes tomorrow.