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Am I too old to lose weight and get in shape?

It’s a question, or more likely an excuse, that comes up all the time: “Am I too old to lose weight and get in shape?” There’s a short answer to this and a slightly longer one. The short answer is NO, you’re never too old to get in shape.

Consider this for a moment: How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? This was a question posed to reporters by Satchel Paige, a baseball legend who continued his successful career well into his sixties. It’s an interesting question because we’ve become so obsessed with age that we often allow it to define our identities.

Without age as a benchmark, would you question what you’re capable of?

The thing is no matter how old you are, if you believe you’re too old, then you ARE too old. This belief that you’re too old, too set in your ways to change can be debilitating. What’s the alternative, though? Do nothing? Hope for the best? We already know that doesn’t work.

Once you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do something, it can be really hard to change. But every month I hear from people who have changed this belief and changed their lives for the better. Take this Facebook message I received earlier in the week: “I am a 60-year-old woman — overweight all my life — over the last 18 months, through walking and eating a balanced diet, I have shed 30kgs — no [surgery], no ‘clean eating’, just movement and good nutrition! And what’s more amazing is that I have never once felt deprived!”

I mean, how cool is that?

Yet the media would often have you believe that fitness is a young person’s game, it’s an image we’re force-fed nearly every day and it reinforces our misguided belief that we’re too old to change. Sure, as you age you might have some limitations that younger people don’t have, but when you get right down to it, age is just another excuse.

It’s no different from time and money and all the other reasons we come up with for why we can’t do something. They are all just convenient justifications to avoid facing our fear of failure. Hey, I get that — it’s so much easier to convince yourself that this is who you are, rather than attempt something and not succeed.

But as with many of our excuses, deep down we usually know they’re not true, and if we took an honest look at ourselves, we’d most likely see that it’s our own fear of failure that keeps us from making a change. And what if you do fail on the first attempt? So what? Have you lost anything? Not really. In fact, when you stop and think about it, you’ve actually gained some pretty handy insights into how you might get it right the next time.

Change can be scary but it doesn’t need to be hard. We age one day at a time and we create change in the same way. Each day trying to improve upon the last. Once you prove to yourself that you’re capable of change, embracing and realising it is a whole lot easier.

First published: May 2016



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