People have asked me over and over how I was able to lose 100 pounds. I honestly don’t know. I just decided to do it — after about 1,000 times starting and stopping. This time it was different. Today, three years later, I understand much more about mindset now than I did then. And, I’ll use what I’ve learned to continue on my journey and shed the rest of the weight. I also understand that mindset is critical to overcoming the perceived obstacles and challenges that will definitely try to derail my journey. But, I won’t let them. I am in control of my future.

Speaking of my future, today is my 50th birthday. There, I said it out loud — sort of. It’s mind-boggling to me that I’m 50 years old. How is that possible? Fifty sounds so old! I don’t feel old! One friend told me that old is always 20 years older than your actual age — therefore, for me, 70 is old. Fifty is young. That’s great perspective and I’m thankful for that insight — and that friend!

So what does turning 50 have to do with losing weight? Age, like weight, is heavily influenced by mindset. If I believe that one (or two) celebratory birthday meals will ruin an entire week of trying to lose weight, I am allowing my mindset to sabotage all the good choices I’ve made in the past and have the potential to make every other day this week. That’s a mistake in judgment that can be avoided. I’m on a weight loss journey — not a diet. This is a lifestyle.

I believe the same applies to age. My grandmother always used to say “it’s just a number” and she was right. It is just a number — and it’s better than the alternative. But it’s more than that. I think embracing age – by adjusting my mindset – can be beneficial. A new decade is about new beginnings. I spent a couple days last week wallowing in my less-than-favorite memories from my 40s. That was completely unproductive and a waste of time and good mascara.

By adjusting my mindset to embrace all the good and exciting things that will happen in the next decade is empowering and energizing. In my 40s I couldn’t walk 3 blocks without extreme discomfort. My self confidence was at an all-time low. But there were great moments too – I now choose to focus on the highlight reel from the last 10 years, it’s better for my mindset. Today, I can walk any distance and am confident of who I am, how I choose to live my life and what I eat along the way. I have a family that loves me and amazing friends. What more could I ask for?

I wish I could articulate how I’ve gone about changing the words in my head and my mindset. But, I can’t. I can only reflect and try to reverse engineer the process. I’ve determined it was by taking it one day at a time – one meal at a time. I spent most of 2018 trying to readjust my weight loss mindset. But honestly, I was content to stay where I was. And, that’s OK. As this birthday got closer, I felt small shifts starting to take place in my brain. Nothing truly tangible, but definitely a heightened awareness of what I could be doing better for my weight loss journey, remembering what I used to do differently. As for how I shifted it back into gear, all I can say is baby steps. Start with something small and build from there. Once you have a couple successes under your belt, make one more change. A little shift. Not exercising? Try adding one day. Do that for awhile before adding a second. Don’t try to make massive changes or shifts in behavior all at once. It’s just not sustainable and then it feels like failure. What does this have to do with age? It’s about attitude. If you think 50 is old, you’ll feel old. Last night we celebrated my birthday (our immediate family of eight and a few special extended “family” members). The table was sprinkled with words of wisdom about turning 50. These are my two favorites:

You’re not fifty – you’re five perfect 10s!

You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.

I think these are right on target! Based on how I kicked off the entrance into my fifties last night, the goals and dreams in my head, and all the family milestone celebrations already on the calendar for this year, I’m no longer worried about what it means to be 50. I’m no longer dreading this new decade. I’m looking forward to the excitement, to creating new memories and to having new experiences with my family and friends.

What did you like best about turning 50? Why?