Beverly Woodworth, @newmeafter50, at 65 lost 50 pounds, got t, up-leveled her style & got fierce. The new her: anti-agism, activist/midlife fitness, and fashion upgrade evangelist. For more

Recently I suffered a crisis of confidence that had me seriously doubting whether any of the efforts I had been making to inspire midlife women to make life-affirming changes were making any difference at all. I had

achieved a goal many women long to achieve; I had finally figured out how to lose 50 pounds after 50 years of trying, had gotten t, upgraded my style and vitality all after the “advanced” age of 65. Most people I shared my plans with assumed that it couldn’t be done, including my doctor. After achieving my goal, I became passionate about inspiring women that it is never too late to transform themselves.

So I took my story and my methods to social media. Women who read my story clamored for more information on how I did it. I shared tips and techniques that I developed, that had been crucial to my success after so many years of failure. Those techniques kept me on track, motivated me, focused me, helped me handle hunger, negative thinking and more. I was confident this information and new approach could be helpful to others..

After two years on social media, I realized that very few women were actually taking action to change. Everybody talked about it. People said I inspired them, but few actually did anything.

At rst, I doubted myself. Then, I became convinced that there just had to be bigger societal forces at work to create this phenomenon. Ultimately, in a ash of recognition, I saw how the effects of ageism in our culture could have eroded the self-confidence of millions of midlife women in a very profound way. In many ways it could literally be killing us.

My theory is that after being subjected to decades of dis-empowering stereotypes generated by our youth obsessed culture, millions of women have come to believe them. By midlife, we’ve potentially been subjected to ageist messages for 30 years or more. They tell us we are “less than” because we have wrinkles, saggy skin, extra weight, are no longer useful because we are not working or raising families, etc. Unless we actively fight against internalizing these messages we can come to believe they are true. Low-self-esteem will surely follow.

How can we choose to undertake new challenges to improve our health if we don’t feel confident that we can be successful? Is it any wonder that our shaky self-esteem whispers “what’s the point” when faced with the challenge and opportunity to renew ourselves physically, even though we now have fewer demands on our time? If we believe that continued physical decline and increased weight gain after 40 is a normal part of aging is it any wonder we give up?

How doubly tragic that the accumulated effect of these societal messages takes its toll just at a time in life when we should be feeling most accomplished and confident. We have surmounted so many of life’s challenges, raised families, had successful careers, and more. We should be feeling proud and accomplished, not diminished!

The truth is that our generation is not aging like our parents’ generation. The ageist expectations we have inherited for how and when we will become “old” are outdated and no longer accurate. We are the rst generation that has been given the gift of living 20 years longer than the previous generation. Advances in medicine such as joint replacement technology, the availability of better nutrition, increased education on the benefits of physical exercise are all allowing us to live better for longer.

We midlife women are powerful, more powerful than society gives us credit for. We must remind ourselves and our friends that we can take on big challenges like revitalizing ourselves at midlife … because our ageist society won’t. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks – just don’t call me old!

I am proof that at 65 you can still renew your vitality and feel 20 years younger, even after failing for 50 years prior. Beware of anybody who says it isn’t worth the effort.

Bev’s Three Tips for Getting Fit after 50

1. Find your tribe – search out ways to exercise with a group of people – biking, walking, swimming, dancing, tennis, yoga, pickle-ball, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, etc. At our age socializing is just as important as exercising. Loneliness can set in after family leaves, friends die, work friendships dissolve. Your commitment to your friends/team will carry you along when your commitment to exercise ags as well. If you are competitive, use that to your advantage and join groups that will help you push your physical limits. Jazzercise is my passion. I work out 6 days a week. They combine weight training, dance, Pilates and more for an all around workout. While they are putting us through the wringer there is lots of laughing, groaning, sweating and great music. Look for a franchise in your area or they now have online workouts you could check out.

2. Look beyond the gym for ideas on what kind of exercise you might like. Technology offers new opportunities. There are workouts on Youtube,(some paid, some free). phone apps that can help. One resource: You could even Facetime to workout in real time with a friend far away – why not?!!

3. Can’t find a group that wants to do what you want to do? Create a MeetUp group about the activity (and maybe schedule a cup of coffee or lunch with members afterwards)

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Beverly Woodworth