12 week challenge, Getting Started

Am I Too Old to Get Started?

Am I too old to change?

You are never too old to get started. I had a very unique life from the ages of 24 – 43. My living situation was such that I could just go to a cafeteria and pick up my lunch and my supper. But at age 43 and with three small children, that changed. We moved away from the Staff position and I was responsible to fix my own meals. I failed terribly and Sonic, McDonalds, Taco Bell and Subway were our friends.

I did know how to make spaghetti, lasagna, ziti, and manacotti — I mean my maiden name is Lombardi after all. All this fast food and pasta and bread had me putting on weight every year. At age 50, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and almost that entire year I was on Prednisone causing my weight to just continue to balloon upwards.

In the past I had tried Weight Watchers 6 or 7 times, the Scarsdale Diet, the Body for LIfe diet, the Fit for Life diet, the juicing diet, the vegetarian diet, the Scarsdale Diet, the Protein Power diet, the Scarsdale diet, the Metabolic center, Curves, Jennie Craig and there were probably others.

A series of events led me to Gold’s Gym at the age of 54 and I was talked into a 12-week challenge by a very enthusiastic young (26 yr old) man. My first tip of “how do I get started?” is be meek to listen to the younger generation. This 26 year old man would go on to teach me things that have changed my life forever.

How Is This Plan Any Different?

If you too are wondering how to get the weight off, how to get your inflammation under control, and how to begin reclaiming your life, keep reading. I am asked all the time, “What did you do?” So here it is – here’s what I did.


First of all, I logged my food. Everything. Every handful of goldfish as I passed the pantry, every bit of salad dressing I put on my salad, the creamer I put in my coffee. You may say, I do log my food. Do you? Everything? Can you tell me how many calories you are eating a day? I certainly could not. AND at the end of the week, I sent that food log to my trainer. There was “accountability” involved.

Every week I was given a small change to consider. For example, my go-to breakfast was Frosted Mini-Wheats and milk. We changed that to scrambled eggs and oatmeal. Plain oatmeal by the way – not maple and brown sugar oatmeal. I “sweetened” the oatmeal with the smallest box of raisins for 45 calories. I started fixing chicken breast and rice, or salmon and sweet potato, or using Jennie O turkey instead of ground beef. My pasta meals were being replaced with lean meats and complex carbs AND veggies of course too.

Is calorie counting necessary for fat loss? Absolutely not. Was it necessary for me to learn for my fat loss? Yes, yes it was.


We often think we can “eyeball” the portion size just fine. But while I was in the learning stage, it was necessary for me to invest in a food scale which I still use today. We would put the dinner plate on the scale and then set the scale to zero. Then we would add our chicken breast, or salmon breast, or lean steak. When I was working out heartily, I would portion out 6 ounces for a meal.

This was also necessary when eating rice or quinoa or cous cous. If a serving size was 1/2 cup, we were pulling out the measuring cups and measuring out 1/2 cup. We were able to accurately log our food that way. You can log your food in your Fitbit app or in My Fitness Pal or there may be other apps available too. If you do not have a smart phone or a computer, get yourself a notebook and log it that way.


I decided on Day One of accepting the trainer’s help, that I would give up Diet Coke. I could often drink 96 ounces of diet coke a day (easily). I knew this was not good, but I was addicted. I gave up the Diet Coke cold turkey and I switched to water. I still drank my two cups of coffee in the morning with cream (no sugar).

A good rule of thumb on water is to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, then try to drink 100 ounces of water a day. Often times when I feel hungry, I ask myself have I been drinking water? If I haven’t, I drink a cup of water first and then see if I am still hungry.


Yes I had a trainer. A trainer is helpful, but not necessary. If you log your food, drink your water and move move, you are off to a great start. I used my Fitbit at first and tried to get 6000 steps a day. Then I tried for 7000 steps a day. I worked with a trainer on strength training and I walked on a treadmill for cardio. ( I do offer on-line coaching . I also offer a free monthly newsletter which you can sign up for here.

Was it easy? No it wasn’t. But my desire was great. So I kept going. Do you know that with every pound lost removes 4 pounds of pressure off your knees. My knees were swollen when I started. I was 276 pounds and 5’5″. Because of this I did not do things that involved jumping, but I could walk. Motion is lotion.

Do you have a sedentary job? You may need to set an alarm and get up and go for a short walk every hour. It WILL make a difference.


I have a notebook that I started on Day One. I have my weight and measurements recorded in this notebook. But I also have victories such as today I progressed from a push up on the wall to a push up on a tall box. I recorded workouts in the notebook. I recorded friends names (as I tend to remember them better once I write them down.) I recorded motivational quotes.

This was a great way to keep track of my progress day to day and now it’s a great journal to look back on and remind myself of how far I have come.


  1. Log Your Food
  2. Drink Your Water
  3. Move More
  4. Keep a Journal

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