My real fitness journey began at the age of 50. Up until then, I certainly lived most of my life, 50 years of it, in a very unhealthy, unfit space. I had tried to do what I think everyone who has lived an overweight life does and tried to do what I could on my own. It works for a while and you lose weight, but then you gain it right back and get stuck in this yo-yo of weight loss. That was my life for a long time. Then at age 50, when I got back the pictures from my 50th birthday, I was sitting in the parking lot looking through them and I just began to weep. I thought I would have had my weight handled by then, but half my life was gone.
I closed my eyes and realized I needed to deal with the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. The symptoms, of course, were lack of exercise, not taking care of myself, and being overweight, but the root of the problem was fear: fear of not being enough, fear of failure, fear of not measuring up, fear of being rejected, fear of being unlovable. As I began to embrace and address those fears, the weight started coming off. It was certainly a process, but I was focused and committed. I learned I no longer needed the safety food provided, and while I was certainly focused on what I was eating and how I was moving my body, I spent just as much time healing myself emotionally.
A lot of people ask me about the diet I follow and if I work out with a trainer. I always talk about VASA and how my experience there started on the back corner of the cardio deck in my big black sweats. All I could do was walk for 15 minutes at a 2% incline and that was it, that was all I could do, but the difference was that I kept coming every single day.
It’s been nearly 19 years and now I go to the gym six days a week. I do cardio every other day and strength training every other day. I began to embrace the gym life and now it’s become one of the most important things in my day. So many people think going to the gym will drain their energy, but VASA is where I get my energy! And because the community encouraged me when I was on my fitness journey, I often walk up to people I don’t even know and share how impressed I am with them and congratulate them for being there or tell them I noticed how hard they were working. When you stop and recognize people, they light up!
When I retired from my company at age 65, I thought I would lose my identity—I was no longer a catering guru. That’s when I realized I needed a hashtag or some sort of motto to live by, so I adopted #badasswomanwithpurposegraceandgrit. If you live for a purpose and have a reason to be strong and powerful, then everyone can be a badass. I try to live my life with grace, but what I’ve learned more than anything else in this life is that you must have grit, or resilience, to be able to get up every time you are knocked down.
I am almost 69, and the two messages I tell people are that it is never too late and nothing is impossible. On my weekly podcast, I talk about how to craft a meaningful life by discovering who you are and using that knowledge to help yourself and others. It’s the greatest thing I do. I just got back from hiking in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, something I could have never done when I started out on this journey. I am living life, exploring, and climbing mountains! It is never too late, you just have to start!
Mary Crafts has been a VASA member since 2004 and works out at our Spanish Fork, UT location. She is a successful businesswoman, mother, and speaker. You can learn more about Mary here.