What a difference a decade makes.
Just ask Debbie Stevens. Or Terry Aguilar.
Or any of the hundreds of thousands of people participating in Facebook’s #10YearChallenge – including countless people over 50 who have used the last decade to improve their lives through exercise, eating right, and other healthy habits.
The challenge has provided more than just a chance to “humble-brag” with flattering selfies. Behind these before-and-after photos are stories that should motivate anyone trying to get in shape or stay in shape later in life.
Just imagine what your 10-years-later photos could look like if you make healthier choices now, like eating right and exercising regularly.
‘Mom, You Need to Change’
Ten years ago, Debbie Stevens had fallen into a sedentary lifestyle and deep depression. Her cholesterol was high. So was her weight.
One of her grown sons sat her down for some tough love.
“He said, ‘Mom, you need to change your lifestyle or you’re not going to be around 10 years from now,’” recalls Debbie, now 57. “He said, ‘Your kids are all grown up. This is YOUR time to write a new chapter of your life.’”
Her son introduced her to the gym and, Debbie says, “I fell in love with it and never looked back.”
She quickly dropped the first 20 pounds – and impressed her doctor.
Now she competes nationally in bodybuilding events and hopes to empower other women to “just get in there and do it.”
‘I Was Going to Change My Life’
Terry Aguilar also hopes to inspire other people to make positive changes. For Terry, the moment of conversion came at a crucial time in her life.
A doctor’s dire warning about her weight and her sister’s recent death were heavy on her heart and her mind. She was depressed, and unhappy in her relationship. While on a hike one day, it all came together in a moment of clarity.
“I made a decision that I was going to change my life,” recalls Terry, now 53, above.
That meant joining Weight Watchers and beginning a walking-workout regimen that led to broader workouts. She lost 50 pounds in about a year, down from her heaviest, 174 pounds, on her 5-foot, 1-inch frame.
Setting goals is key, Terry says.
“My goal was to not die of high blood pressure and diabetes,” she says. “It was never to look the way I do now. It still shocks me sometimes.”
Appearances aren’t the main point. They just provide dramatic, see-for-yourself proof about how ordinary people can make extraordinary changes in their lives, health, and – yes – appearance. And, as the #10YearChallenge can illustrate, habits developed and maintained OVER TIME are the ones that lead to real change.
We are what we do every day. It all adds up over time.
What about you? How do you feel when you look back on yourself 10 years ago – or when you look ahead and think about what you can be in 2032? It’ll be here before you know it. We are here to help you write your own next chapter.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.