Consistency and mindset are more important than sets and reps.
Q: “I’m pretty much a fitness marketer’s dream: I’ve tried every trendy diet and workout you could imagine. I’m not in bad shape, but after years of trying everything, I still have about 20 pounds to lose to feel comfortable in a bikini. I’m in my late 40s and after having three kids I’m starting to think this is just me and I should happy, but I’m not… Do I keep trying new things until I find the one that sticks? Or am I better off accepting that my bikini days are behind me?”
– Sarah K, via Facebook
A: Sarah, you’re definitely not alone! Diet and exercise requirements can change as you age, but that does not mean that you can’t reach your goals! Unfortunately, making sudden and extreme changes in diet and exercise at any age can make it harder to lose weight and can even lead to injury.
The key for you is to settle on a diet and exercise regimen that you can sustain to the point that it becomes a lifestyle choice. For example, from an exercise perspective, really ask yourself what you love to do. Do you enjoy the outdoors, or would you prefer to dance to great music in a studio? Pick something you look forward to doing, and consider choosing activities that feel good to your body rather than punishing. You will WANT to do them all the time, and your body will absolutely respond to the consistency.
I want to talk about one more thing — the “bikini body.” Sadly, that term has often meant the “perfect body,” or in other words a body that lacks flaws, cellulite, or wrinkles. I’m not even sure that exists without retouching! To me, having a body that allows me to do what I love every day — which for me means feeling strong and moving the way I choose to move—leads me to think differently about it. I am driven to use and challenge it more. And it looks better as a result, which is amazing. I encourage you to think of your body first as an instrument that can accomplish so many of your goals. And once you see it working well for you, I promise you will WANT to flaunt it. Not just in a bikini.
Editor’s Note: Just how pervasive are unrealistic body standards for women? The default Shutterstock caption on the image above—of a very thin woman pinching a healthy amount of bodyfat—identifies her as “overweight woman”.