Friday, February 19, 2016

The Struggle for Fitness by Alicia Dean

I have never exactly been a fitness guru, but now that I’m creeping up in age, I’m in worse shape than I’ve ever been in my life. But, just because I’m 54, doesn’t mean I have to give up, right? I constantly think about leading a healthier lifestyle and sometimes make a half-ass (excuse the language) effort, but now, I’m ready to get serious. Today, I’m sharing some of the steps I’ve implemented (though, we’ll see how long I stick with them…), some of the changes I want to make, and I’m asking you to share your tips.

The steps I’m implementing (or plan to implement) so far…

  1. Accountability: Last year, I started a private Facebook group with just myself, my sister and two friends. We were to post what we eat each day, the amount of water we drink, and the amount of exercise we perform. It only lasted a little while and we all faded away. I have restarted it, and it’s been very helpful so far. We also post encouraging memes and sayings and so forth. Honestly, if I know I’m going to have to share what I eat with others, I’m a little more cautious about my choices.
  2. Better choices: For convenience, I too often have a habit of grabbing fast food. I am working on that, and when I do choose fast food, I am choosing things like Chick fil a’s grilled chicken wrap (delish!), and other lower-calories options.
  3. Zeal Wellness: I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but my sister is doing it and she has lost 80 plus pounds in the last 6 months or so. She exercises regularly and feels better than she has in years. She was also able to get off of some of the medications she’s been on. (I posted before and after pics below. She’s my youngest sister, but she was in very precarious health, and is so much better now). I am trying the Zeal also. I don’t expect miracles, but if it can give me a little boost of energy and help me feel better, it’s worth a shot.
  4. Exercise: I have a Blue Cross/Blue Shields gym benefit, where, for $27 a month, I can work out at almost any gym, any time. I’ve been paying that for a while and have yet to utilize it. I have trouble making myself get up early in the morning and go work out. By the time I get off from my day job, I am not in the mood and do not have the energy to work out. I am working to change that and will either MAKE myself get up earlier, or speak with my bosses about taking a long lunch and working out then.
  5. Early to Rise: My regular time to get up for the day job is 7 a.m. Over the years, periodically, I have been able to make myself get up at 5 a.m., which give me two hours to write and/or exercise. (I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but now, it has to do with fitness AND writing…) This is a step I have not yet implemented, but that is my plan. I’m hoping the Zeal will help give me the energy to do that.

Here is recipe for Edamame Salad, a yummy, easy, healthy snack, side dish, or you can eat it in a wheat wrap:

-1 Bag of shelled edamame (you can find them in the frozen food aisle)
-1 Can of white shoepeg corn
-1 Can of black beans (rinsed)
-1 Can of garbanzo beans/chick peas (rinsed)
-7-10 Small sweet peppers 
-Juice of 3/4 of a lime
-1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil 
-Garlic powder & kosher salt to taste

Mix it all together. I might try adding a few other things, such as capers, purple onions, cucumbers.

My sister before and after:

She was admitted to the hospital for a few days after a scary ER trip for her heart a year ago. Can you believe the difference?


What do you do to stay fit and healthy? How do you find time? What are some healthy recipes/foods you eat?

I live alone, so there is no one to cook for other than myself (my daughter is moving in with me for a few months, but she’s almost 30 and will do her own thing), so I am searching for healthy, quick and easy meals I can eat/prepare when I’m not in the mood to make much of an effort. J

You can find me, my books, my every other Friday Elvis blog, my Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip blog and other stuff about me here:


Jannine Gallant said...

Wow, the difference in your sister is amazing. Go her for losing all that weight! After turning 50 and going through the big M, I seem to have gained 15 pounds over the last three years. Granted, I wasn't at all overweight before. Still, I HATE that extra weight and can't seem to shake it! I never eat fast food, and I cook healthy meals. My exercise plan is my dog. She doesn't care if it's raining, snowing, sleeting, howling wind or a beautiful day, she expects (and gets) a walk in the woods. Usually two walks. In the summer I probably hike 5 miles a day. In the winter on snowshoes it's more like 2-3. But I do it every day. So, if you can get a dog who will FORCE you to exercise daily, I'd go for it. But then, I love being out in the woods and hate gyms. However, I still can't get rid of that 15 pounds... Best of luck, Ally. I hope your new plan works for you!

Diane Burton said...

It's good you're trying to eat healthy and exercise. It's not easy but developing a routine helps. Congrats to your sister for becoming more healthy.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Your sister looks amazing! I've lost, and ultimately regained, in the vicinity of 50 pounds over the years. It's not that I don't know how to do it.... Regular free weight work outs and jogging - now walking - were my key fitness strategies. Just need to up my game, as they say. Zeal Fitness. I'll have to try that. Good luck with your brand new, and definitely doable, goals.

Margo Hoornstra said...

My goodness. Just hit publish and these other two (Jannine and Diane) popped up ahead of me! You know what they say about great minds! LOL

Brenda Whiteside said...

You go girl. But I have a few years on you and finally know what I will and won't do. At your age, I would rise and head straight to the coffee pot. While it perked I did a 20 minute workout in front of the tv, then write for 15 minutes while I had my coffee and then go to work. I tried a gym once but never used it. I'm better on my own or with one partner. I don't have the day job anymore but still rise early to write. What I can't do (in an RV now) is exercise that early...don't want to and would wake the hubby. So I have my phone alarm set to go off twice a day. That makes me get up and either do a 15 minute squat routine or take a walk around the RV park. The second time it goes off I take 2 loops around the RV park which takes about 30 minutes. Twice a week I get with another lady here at the clubhouse and do a 40 minute workout. I'm still carrying 10 pounds too much. I eat really good...don't do fast food or sweets except on rare occasions. To drop the 10 I'm going to have to up the exercise and eat even less. Haven't had the umph to do it yet. Jannine-sounds like we've got that chunk of weight that just won't come off!

Patricia Kiyono said...

I have fatty liver disease and it causes problems when I reach a certain weight - which I went over last year. I love to eat, hate excercise and don't get along with animals (sorry Jannine). In the summer I go for walks, but in the winter it's tough to make the effort to go to a gym. I finally rejoined WeightWatcher and determined I'll start by cutting back on snacks - so far that's made a difference. And spring is almost here so hopefully I'll be able to start walking again.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

After much scientific research, I've developed an exercise routine that works best for me. On the first day of every month, I ride the stationary bike for fifteen minutes. Done. Pfft. All joking aside, I do need to increase my activity more. I'm balking like a child. As a diabetic, I've given up sodas including the sugar free ones. I eat no snacks, but do indulge in a bowl of frozen yogurt for dessert. I force myself to avoid the candy aisle at the grocery store...and I mean FORCE. It is my weakness. My glucose readings are great and the doctor has reduced my meds by half. But I'm not losing any weight. I've just changed eating habits. Soooo, we all know that means Vonnie has to walk away from the computer more. Drats!!

Susan Coryell said...

I exercise 6 our of every 7 days and change up the routine--walk, interval walk, kayak, golf, yoga, lift weights. I also watch what I eat and HOW MUCH (most important to a small frame like mine). I get lots of sleep and have at least one glass of wine a day (required!)
Keep up your good work and you will achieve results--I am confident!

Alicia Dean said...

Yes, Jannine, it is, isn't it? I'm so proud of her. Yeah, if my problem was 15 pounds, I wouldn't be too concerned. :) I am not a pet person and can't have animals where I live, so I'll have to find a different method of exercise, but what a perfect way for you to get yours!

Thanks, Diane...yes, the routine is key for me.

Margo, yes, it seems doable for me. I'm not trying to get all crazy about it. :) I'm hoping Zeal helps me along my journey. I don't know a lot about it, but if you're interested in samples or info, my sis can give you that, her email is

Wow, Brenda, your plan is a great one! If I didn't have the day job, I would do the alarm thing a few times a day. But, I have to schedule my time into pretty tight increments. :) Just a side note, I can't do ANYTHING (even converse or feel human) until I've had coffee, but mornings are my best time to write.

Patricia, sorry about the fatty liver disease. That sounds like an awful thing to deal with. LOL, I'm like you, don't like exercise, love to eat, and I don't do the pet thing either. You're one of the few authors I've met who doesn't have/love pets! :)

Ha, Vonnie, you always make me laugh. Yikes, diabetes is not fun. I don't believe I have that yet, but I'm susceptible to it genetically. Yes, will power is huge! Don't spend too much time away from the computer, we don't want you to slow down your fabulous writing!

Oh wow, Susan...I'm impressed. Thanks for the encouraging words. The ONLY one of your habits I have is the glass of wine each day. :D

Alison Henderson said...

When I was just about your age (53) I decided I wasn't going to let menopause get the better of me. I couldn't do anything about being old and tired, but I didn't have to be old, tired, and fat. I lost 33 lbs in 6 months by completely changing my eating habits and working out six days a week - alternating between the treadmill and weight machine. I was lucky all the necessary equipment was in the basement of our house when we bought it. I'm sure I would never have been able to make myself go to a gym. I've been up and down a bit in the intervening years, but have managed to keep more than half of it off permanently. Exercise does become habitual. I've had extensor tendinitis in my left foot for almost a month, and I'm itching to get back on the treadmill. Weight loss gets progressively harder as you get older, so you're wise to get a handle on it now. Good luck! BTW - your sister's transformation is inspiring!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I'm the way your are with coffee, Alicia, so the routine was done with half closed eyes. Really. I could smell the coffee perking and that kept me going. After a few months I didn't even have to open my eyes cause I had it memorized. LOL

SusanJPOwens said...

Your sister looks great and please tell her congratulations!

Weight loss is tough, especially as we age. You've taken the hardest step toward healthy living, reviving your commitment. Let us know how Zeal worked for you.

Diane Garner said...

You go, girl! Thanks for lighting a fire under the rest of us.

Monique DeVere said...

Wow, Alicia, your sister has done so well. Over 80 lbs! I'm impress! I noticed a few pounds creaping on and realised it was because I was sitting in front of my laptop for way too many hours each day! So I forced myself to get out and walk (fast pace) four miles each day. This takes about an hour and twenty mins. I bought a fitbit and was shocked to discover how little I moved before getting out for my walks. Walking helps to clear my head and get me refreshed. I plan to dig out my Slim in Six next week and get moving. Good luck with your fitness plan! :)

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

I've heard a lot about ZEAL and it is reportedly very good with all aspects of, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.

I pay a gym membership and I go 4 out of 5 days a week (trying to be more disciplined on that 5th day) and I walk most weekends and go dancing at least 2-3 times a month.

ALL THAT SAID, I work from home so my schedule is a little more flexible.

Suggestion is that you utilize those 2 hrs you have when you get up early and either write 1 hr then exercise 1 but having to leave cuts into that so.....alternate days between writing and exercising. You might try meditation, writing affirmations and visualization also....these help me focus and feel better ABOUT myself which makes sticking to the exercise program easier because I FEEL like I'm worth it.

Another thing I've implemented this year is replacing a couple meals a day with smoothies.

Good luck and God's blessing!

Leah St. James said...

Congratulations to your sister, and to you for deciding to get healthier!

Back in 2008 I was looking for a job, was just over 50 years old and 80-something pounds overweight. I went on Weight Watchers, started exercising and lost the weight. I've gained back about 10 but managed to halt the slide.

Every morning I do a 30-minute workout DVD with Jessica Smith, try to walk 30 mins at lunch, weather permitting, and try to stick with the basic principles of Weight Watchers.

It's hard (I love food), but I remind myself how much better I feel now than I did 8 years ago.

Jessica has tons of free workouts on YouTube if you want to try it out. She's young and peppy but her mom (my age) joins her on her can I not love her?

Hang in there and good luck!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Nothing like weight loss issues to push our buttons. I work with weights three times a week in a gym and use a mini-peddler for at least 30 minutes a day. I am not allowed to read a novel unless I'm peddling. If the novel's great, I pedal harder :-) I take my mini peddlers with me if we travel by car...I don't leave home without it! I'm like the rest of you, however. I can't get rid of 15 pounds. Dang! Working on it! (While I LOVE go out to restaurants!)

Alicia Dean said...

Alison, you were very wise. You know, it's funny. I believe I've gone through or am in Menopause, but I am not noticing any of the symptoms I hear so much about. Maybe the worst is yet to come... And, maybe the weight issue has something to do with that. :)

LOL, Brenda. I totally get that!

Thank you, Diane!

Monique, I know a lot of people who are using fitbit. I've thought about getting one. Maybe I need to check into it. Wow, four miles a day is excellent

Pamela, excellent tips! I am going to take note and give that a try. Thank you!

Leah, I've heard great things about Weight Watchers. I've never really been able to successfully use it, though. Probably because I didn't try hard enough. :) I'll have to check out Jessica's videos. great idea! (Maybe I should cancel my gym membership, if I don't get in the habit of going soon)

Rolynn, good for you! I have a mini-pedlar but haven't used it yet. I don't really know where to sit to use it. It won't fit under my desk. Can't use it with my recliner...hmmm...

Thanks everyone, for the tips and encouraging words!

Ashantay said...

Congratulations on your determination! That's the hard part, along with discipline. My weight fluctuates seasonally, and I've stopped trying to lose pounds in the winter when my body wants the protection for internal organs. I also concentrate more on how I want to feel and being grateful for healthy food in my fridge, rather than thinking about what I don't like about myself. Finally, I try to eat half my allotted daily calories two days per week. It's a sort of mini-fast, I guess. Or, if I eat way too much one day, I cut back the next. It's taught me to recognize true hunger.

Leah St. James said...

About Weight Watchers -- the program that helped me (the regular old Points program) was changed several years ago to Points Plus (or something). I tried it when I gained the 10 and it didn't help. I actually gained more because fruit was "free" and I gobbled it up like crazy. (I love fruit.) I then tried My Fitness Pal, which is a free food tracker. Using that, I went back to the original Weight Watchers type of eating plan, and that seemed to work. (The tools aren't as easy, for me, as the WW tracker, so it got tiring, but it did work.)

Different things will work for different people. The key is to find what works for yourself. :-) Good for you and your sister.

I like working out at home because I'm too stressed for time to go to the gym. There are so many at-home programs available. I did Leslie Sansone (walking) for years, but when I tried Jessica on YouTube, I enjoyed the difference. And a one-time purchase for $30 is more manageable for me than a monthly membership.

Wishing you much success (and fun) with whatever you decide!

Alicia Dean said...

Ashantay, that's a good way to look at it. And, it seems you have a great plan in place. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

Yes, Leah, I heard they changed WW and people seem to love it. I can't really track the WW points very well. The thing for me is, I know what healthy eating is vs unhealthy eating, so I just have to be aware and make better choices. I agree about the gym, but I figure since I have such a great program through BCBS, I'll keep trying for a little while longer and if I don't get in the gym habit soon, I'll cancel and use the in home workout. It sounds like the Jessica workout is a good one to check into. I went to my sister's house last night and did a taste test of the different Zeal products and watched a short video. This is not a 'diet' product, it's a 'wellness' product with healthy, all-natural ingredients. I ordered a month's supply of their 4 products. We'll see how that works for me. It's a money back guarantee, so if it doesn't work, I'll get my money back. Hopefully, it will give me the boost and energy I need to support my fitness plan and make me feel better as well. :) Thanks for all the handy tips!


I am a SISTER to these two amazing ladies, Christi & Alicia!! I have a multitude of health problems that I KNOW would be better if I lost some weight. But how does someone with the horrible back, feet & hip pain I have exercise? I do have a 4-legged baby I LOVE dearly! My husband walks her when the weather is pretty. I have started going with them, but can only go so far without excruciating pain kickin' in. I have been wanting to talk to Christi about Zeal, but our schedules have been very busy! Maybe next time we come down?? Love you both & wish you the best!