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Aging Gracefully: Thriving Through the Journey

Posted on May 01, 2015 in Fitness

Lori Leath Smith, Seaside public relations and marketing director, finds fresh, local produce at Modica Market.

By Lori Leath Smith Seaside Public Relations and Marketing Director

I keep reminding my fitness trainer, Justin, how old I am. He keeps reminding ME that age is just a number. But, if age is just a number, why did I see that 50-something year old woman staring at me in the mirror? (See The Seaside Times, March/April.)

After two months of clean eating, working out and pumping nutrition into my body, I can now agree more with that philosophy. To take it even further, perhaps the secret to aging gracefully is to embrace your age while ignoring the age stereotypes.

Fortunately, it’s never too late (or too early) to make subtle, but key changes that can revise that reflection in the mirror. And the truth is, it works! Justin at Seaside’s Believe Studio has been coaching me during the past two months and I have made some astounding progress. I’ve lost 21 pounds and gained strength. I’ve dropped a dress size (from size 14 to size 12) and gained a slimmer waist (5 inches less). My confidence level has soared. My skin is glowing and I realize I can actually function while eating eggs, fish, fruits and lots and lots of vegetables. In fact, my body craves these “eats” more than ever, which is a feat unto itself. I have even discovered new products such as good fats that I love, but still allow fat burning. And I sleep so well. Even more fun is the fact that people are noticing. Wow, what a motivator.

Age happens to everyone. But through this initial phase I’m beginning to understand that getting healthy and aging gracefully is a true way to live and breathe and accept. If we fight it, no doubt it will catch up with us. But just beginning some simple but effective lifestyle changes makes me feel as if I’ve begun to immediately and profoundly influence the ability to live a long and healthy life. The good news is that these attitudes and actions benefit the heart, brain, mood, metabolism and even skin, too.

And I have a purpose and a reason to keep going, determining to be successful — to restore health and all its benefits — yes, even in my 50s. Further, you’re reading this column and you’re holding me accountable. So, I hope my experiences help you, too.

What I’m doing:

1) Maintaining a positive mental attitude. Stress ages us. It’s that simple. And, in our modern lifestyles, stress is rampant to the point of being cliché. I’m learning that a grateful heart goes a long way and looking at the world positively promotes healing and peace. I try to prepare mentally for each day. I resolve in my mind to be committed and stay on track.

2) Eating real food and not too much — plain and simple. A friend told me to “eat naked!” I said, “What?” That visual was not the most inviting. But then I understood. He meant to focus on eating unprocessed, unpolluted and undressed food. Well, that’s better and it’s an attainable goal. So I try. I’ve also cut out the sweet stuff and added nutritional supplements. Principles are still the same — I’m watching portion sizes and what is going in my body. I’ve realized I can function on much less food and without mindless eating.

3) Moving daily. Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states that, “An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion.” I think you get where I’m going with this. We can say a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion. My usual week includes a walk/jog a couple days of the week (either on one of the pathways or on the beach), usually on the weekend. Two days a week, I don my ponytail and workout clothes, and tear out for my 30-minute sessions at Believe Studio after work. Three days a week, mostly early morning, I work out with Justin’s mobile app (also 30 minutes) where he has created a tailored program just for me. I love those morning workouts; I have to get up so early, my body doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s all over. A different program might work for different people (according to interests and schedule), but choose a workout schedule, set a goal and try to be consistent with it.

Break up your fitness routine a little. This allows you to begin to see changes to your physique and perhaps even your mental clarity. I’ve found the moment my body begins to work out in a different fashion, it becomes stronger. Justin has reintroduced me to my inner child. One day, my training session included throwing a Frisbee on the Lyceum Lawn in Seaside. That session did more for my mental state than a regular workout. It took me back to fun and fond childhood memories. Now that’s a stress buster, along with a workout, too! If you go outside and play, of course you satisfy the movement factor, but you also receive the most bountiful forms of Vitamin D and mental pick-me-up. So, turn that TV off, get creative and go outside and play! It’s time to have more fun.


Weekly weigh-ins are now positive: The scale is actually going down!

My body wants water: There IS such a thing as a thirst mechanism. Though I still have to remind myself to drink water at times, mostly I crave it now.

Strength is empowering: I’m amazed at how strong I’ve become in very little time. One afternoon at my workout session, 10 pushups were on Justin’s list. Keep in mind that I could do none when we began in February. No time to get myself mentally prepared, I knocked out 10, took a slight break and conjured up 10 more! Justin was amazed. He was so proud that I had come that far in one month that he posted a video of me on his Facebook page ( I’ve almost mastered the Chaturanga (a yoga move), too! It might not be pretty, but it’s there.

Events are still fun: Attendance at events hasn’t been as difficult as I imagined. As a marketing and public relations professional, part of my job is to network and attend social and community events. Though it can be somewhat challenging, I’ve been able to not only attend, but also stay on the eating plan. I’ve found that most establishments are aware of folks trying to eat healthier and will almost always include healthier fare in the offerings. If not, they are usually glad to prepare an alternative.

New yummy products are on my list: Two of my new favorites are almond butter and coconut oil, which can be found in Seaside at Modica Market. I actually add a little coconut oil to my coffee each morning (instead of the coffee creamer) and dab a little almond butter on an apple for a snack or even a meal. I also adore the kale chips from Raw & Juicy in Seaside, as well as the Airstream’s local greens served with homemade peanut sauce.

I’ve rediscovered my hipbones: I know, because I felt them during one of my morning workouts!

Consistency equals success: Working out sporadically will not lend the same results as one that is consistent and planned out. I believe one of the reasons for success is being committed to eating correctly and working out consistently.