That’s the question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. With 60 just around the corner I’m finding it harder and harder to keep weight off and I’m finding it harder and harder to care.

Like too many of us at this age, I seem to have an endless desire to be smaller than I actually am. And so I’ve tried all the diets; I’ve looked into all the exercise routines and I’ve committed that this time will be different, that I will finally do it. But I don’t.

Right now, the Keto diet is all the rage. I’ve looked at it. I’ve thought about it. But I happen to like my carbs a bit too much to be successful on it. I used to run…until I broke my ankle and realized I really don’t like running at all.

When I was younger I could will my way through a diet and a run. Now I can’t. Or maybe it’s not that I can’t. Maybe it’s that I don’t want to. If I’m honest I guess I thought that by now I’d get a free pass and wouldn’t have to or want to worry about it. But that’s not what happened. As I find myself with more and more wrinkles, lines and gray hair, I am more and more consumed with losing weight so that I can wear nicer clothes and feel better when I do. Maybe it’s because I believe my size is the only thing I can control. I know it’s not that I want to look good for a man, for friends or even for other random people I’ve never met. I want to look good for me. It makes me feel more self assured and confident…more together…which is exactly how I want to feel…as I seem to fall apart.

So…I’m searching for a new way to take the weight off and get modestly fit because if the truth be told it’s not heart attacks or strokes that worry me (although they should) it’s not being able to do the things I want to do. And really, taking weight off and getting modestly fit boils down to changing habits. Because even if I go on a “lose 10 pounds in one week” diet and spend every waking moment at the gym, once the weight comes off, the lifestyle will prove to be unsustainable, which means that slowly but surely the weight will creep back on again, which means at the end of the day, what I really need to do is a few things differently.

So in the midst of all this midlife madness (although am I REALLY in mid life if I’m one year away from 60??) I’ve been trying to find some sanity in self help and personal development books. Yep. For the last 4 months I’ve done nothing but read about how to be a better person and how to create a better life. It’s been overwhelming. But…amongst the overwhelm I did pick up one good piece of advice.

I learned that if you want to create new, healthier habits you should link them to things you enjoy. Hmmm…great advice but I didn’t know what I enjoyed (other than chocolate but I think that defeats the purpose).

Then I remembered that I discovered a love of podcasts and I do like being outside. So I combined the two and started to walk. I don’t push myself to walk fast or even to walk at any sort of pace. I just push myself to walk a few miles. I save my favorite podcasts for those walks. Sometimes and even better yet, I walk with friends. But I know that walking alone won’t get me to where I want to go. Therefore, I cut my portions in half. I still ate chocolate and cookies and chips and anything else I felt like having. I simply ate half of what I would have normally eaten.

But then I began to struggle with even that…until I heard a few words that changed everything. I can’t remember who said them or where they came from. But this is what they were, “What if your body was your best friend?”.

Wow! That made me wonder. Would I fill my best friend with food that was not nutritious? Would I fill my best friend’s mind with words that were poisonous? Would I push my best friend to eat beyond her capacity? Would I encourage my best friend to eliminate movement from her life? The answers were obvious. And yet I did all of those things to my very own body. I treated it worse than I treat a friend.

Yet, it always stood by me, no matter what. It hung it in there through continued abuse and it worked hard to remain healthy. It dealt with dehydration, lack of sleep, too many calories, too few calories, the wrong calories and an endless loop of criticism and hatred. Through it all, it never wavered. It never abandoned me. It never left. It made me think twice…about how I treated it.

Now I ask myself, “What can I do to treat my body like the steadfast, loyal loved one it is?” Once again, the answer is obvious.

We all know exactly what we must do to treat our bodies well. We know what we must do to take care of them and nurture them. So, I thought, maybe just maybe if I treat my body as good as, if not better than my best friend, I might make better decisions. Before I reach for those french fries, before I consume a bag of potato chips, before I drown myself in chocolate, I pause and ask if I’d do that to my best friend. Then suddenly the fries, chips and chocolate just don’t seem like a good idea anymore.

I know the results will be slow. Lasting changes always are. But I also know my body will hang in there with me and be patient. After almost 60 years, I’ve finally found the best friend I’ve had all along…

Author's Bio: 

Juliette Cartier is dedicated to coaching women who feel lost after their children leave home. She helps them to reinvent themselves so that they can live their best life ever! She can be found at emptynestu.com