Monday, September 27, 2010

Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now

“The years teach much which the days never knew.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once you’ve sprouted a few gray hairs on top, it dawns on you that you’ve made quite a few mistakes over the course of your life, only now you’re wise enough to label them as “experience” instead of “mistakes”.

True, your body doesn’t want to give up those excess pounds quite as readily when you’re older, but this depth of experience kind of levels the playing field a bit.

With that in mind, I asked some of my… um… more post-adolescent… pals to weigh in on what they know now that they wish they knew at 25.

Pat Barone @ Stop Renting Weight Loss

What I wish I had known at age 25:

1. "Fix it Later" is BS: If you gain weight, you might just have it forever... because dieting isn’t a quick fix, and sometimes doesn't work at all if you've dieted too much in your life.

2. Don't do anything to lose weight you can't continue for life; the weight will just come back and HUNT YOU DOWN!

3. Don't lose weight to get attention or please someone else. The only person involved in weight loss is you. (And anyone who treats you differently because you've lost weight isn't worth your time.)

4. Being fat doesn't mean you're defective, broken or damaged. It just means you haven't learned how to take care of yourself yet.

5. Food isn't a best friend, soother, lover or caretaker. It’s just food. Energy. Fuel.

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

So much of who I am now (who is someone I like a lot) is a result of having taken a few wrong turns in life and worked my way through them. I accept that we have to make our own mistakes to gain wisdom.

That said, there are a couple of things I do wish I had known when I was 25:

(1) That most of the things I thought were important—career, certain semi-toxic relationships, financial status, wearing a size 2—really weren’t important at all, and…

(2) Daily flossing really is essential. Doing what we love and loving who we are (no matter our
shape, size, or financial status) is life lived well.

Jody @ Truth2BeingFit

The first thing I would say is to learn to eat versus the thought process of “eating less is better”. I ate way too little and worked out hard when I was younger. You have to eat enough to sustain yourself and muscle which is oh-so important in the weight loss equation.

Another thing I did when I was younger was cut out fat.. as much as possible.... WRONG! You need a certain amount of healthy fats to keep the bod running smoothly, keep the skin, hair and nails healthy too. When I added in healthy fats, I felt better and leaned out!

Another thing I did was to NOT take rest days. Another wrong move. The bod needs rest, especially when you are training hard. Adding in rest days not only gave me a physical rest but mental as well. Nobody says you can't take a nice leisurely walk on the days off or “play”, but try to allow at least one full day away from your normal workouts.

Lastly, one thing I have done from early on but want to make sure others don't avoid.. RESISTANCE OR WEIGHT TRAINING. Important not only because is helps with weight loss (more muscle, more calories burned at rest) BUT BONE HEALTH! Young people, pay attention! Doctors are finding signs of low bone density in ladies in their 20's due to eating too little and no resistance training.

Patrick @ Responsibility 199

If I had a dime for every time I was asked, "What I wish I knew at 25 that I know now", well… I’d have a dime.

There is one word that I wish I knew at 25 that I know now (I am 45 today). One word whose power will either create or destroy depending how you use it. Had I known, I would have put it to use a long time ago in creating the me I want now.

When we eat we have a series of choices before us. Choosing to be deliberately aware of our decisions about food engages too our often disjointed physical and mental senses together into a more powerfully responsible decision machine. This deliberate awareness will have us first validate that we are in fact hungry, that our hunger is real and not just a want for more food.

Great, so we need to eat, but what? A bowl of Chocolaty Puffs would be oh-so yummy. True, some lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats would be, well… healthy. Come on, one more bowl of sugar coated sugary cereal wont destroy us, will it?

Our mind & body, now fused and in greater control, tell us the answer to that question is without doubt a big fat 'YES'. Fine, what shall we eat to fulfill our need? A fruit and yogurt parfait is a popular option, but we hate yogurt; that stuff is so gooey and gross! However we do like–no we love–green peppers. We can toss some in an egg white omelet and put that on a whole-grain english muffin. We've just taken the power of choice further, deliberately.

In consciously seeking healthy foods we like (or better yet love) to fulfill our real hunger, we've chosen to create opportunities versus destroy abilities.

Healthy foods we enjoy will energize us. When energized, we are in control of not only our food but our lives. When we give up that control and disregard our choices we then deliberately leave our happiness to chance. And poor chances at that.

CHOICE is the one word whose true power I wish I knew at 25 that I know now.

Leslie @ Something Brilliant Is Brewing

Apparently among Jack's countless followers are some young folks. Seriously young - like less than 30. Being a woman of a certain age, Jack included me in his quest to advise (“set these young fools straight”) you veritable children about what I wish I knew at your age that I know now - at a very youthful 57.

I wish I knew then (or believed it, because I WAS told) that:

1. As we age, our metabolism gradually slows down, making it harder to lose extra weight. MUCH harder. I used to be able to knock off five pounds FAST by restricting calorie intake. Allegedly this still works, but after 35+ years of bad eating habits, it's much harder to do without certain food pleasures to which I've become accustomed and have used as a coping strategy.

2. Also, it’s true that exercise really makes a difference not only in how we feel, but also how we store extra pounds. Which leads to the fact that as you age and go through life transitions like menopause (sorry guys), body shape REALLY changes and redistributes. They aren't kidding when they tell you that you get thick in the middle. I'd kill for my body's pear shape I used to curse when younger. And if I'd lost the weight much earlier, this change would not be so profound and evident. Finally - it's easier to STAY IN SHAPE THAN TO GET IN SHAPE!!!

Roxie @
Gravel and Rust

As I bear down on my 50th birthday, here are my 25 things I wish I’d known at 25…

1. If berating myself really worked, I'd be thin as a Pixie stick. It didn't. I wasn't. Stop it.
2. What other people might think of me is none of my business.
3. Fat-free is not the answer. Snackwells will expand your @ss.
4. Self-esteem is an inside job.
5. Don't let high school PE classes sour you on physical activity. Exercise is AWESOME. Those tacky gym suits are not.
6. Eat whole, real, identifiable food. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it.
7. Ride a bike.
8. When you find yourself in a hole, put down the shovel.
9. You are enough. Just as you are. Today. Treat yourself like it.
10. Surround yourself with positivity. Kick "frenemies" to the curb.
11. Compound Interest. Learn it. Love it.
12. Prioritize your spending. A good pair of athletic shoes that you use will make you look better longer than a Brazilian blow-out.
13. If you need some professional help/coaching, get it.
14. To thine own self be true. No one else will ever care about you as much as you do.
15. Learn to deep breathe/meditate/yoga.
16. Be charitable. There is always something you can give away - be it your dollars or your time.
17. Be present in your own life. This is it. Now. Don't wish it away.
18. If you have children, be present for them. Being there and giving them your attention, care and nurture is more important than anything you can buy them. That sort of attention and involvement will more than make up for lack of “stuff” and lessons and gadgets.
19. There is life after high school/college. Don't let those successes or failures determine the course of your life. Don't rest on your laurels nor wallow in your failures.
20. Even if it is all screwed up now, it doesn't have to be that way forever.
21. Never cosign. Ever.
22. Learn boundaries - your own and others.
23. You can be happy with a lot less than you think.
24. Don't let debt take away your options.
25. Start today. And keep restarting ‘til it sticks.

Dana @
To The Best of My Ability

What I would tell my younger...Holy Crap, where do I start?  I didn't really need to think about this for long.  I think I would say be more selfish.   What I mean is I would  have put more importance on getting to know me.  What I like.  Dislike.  Learn what I was really capable of.   I would have spent less time trying to please others and trying anticipate their needs.  Never really thinking about what was good for me.  Over time I lost myself in men, drugs and food.  I would have spent more time improving me then trying to change those around me.  Trying to manipulate others to do "My Will".  It's exhausting and frustrating.  I would have more fearless.  I would have taken more risks.  Smart risks, not risks that had no chance of being good for me.  I wish I would have focused on learning about what I needed and what made me happy, even joyful.  I spent a lot of time changing to please others.  I wish I would have taken a more active role in my life.  I lived a lot by default.  By not choosing for myself, I allowed life to just happen to me.....and all the consequences.  I wish I would have been more decisive.  Not choosing is still a choice. 

I would have worried less about what others thought about me.  I would have choosen better friends.  They really do make all the difference.  Surround yourself with people that encourage and support you to be the best you can me.   If they are bring you down.  If they try to crush your dreams or your spirit, run don't walk away from them. 

I would tell you to find joy from within.  Have a Power Greater then yourself.   Study and get to know the Power.  That way you will always have a Freind to turn to.  Always. 

Thank you Jack for asking me to do this.  It all comes down to this.  I  say would have done alot of my life different, but really, I am grateful for the life I have lived.  It has brought me to the person I am today.  You can make every decision a positive.  It's all in your prespective.   However, I know this to be true.  Smart people learn from others mistakes.  If you see someone touch a hot stove, don't touch it just to make sure.

Most imporant I would have told myself that I am worthy of all good things....then given them to myself. 

NewMe @ NewMe - A Fresh Start

When I was in my twenties, little did I suspect where I would be physically thirty years later.

I was not particularly overweight. In the (dreaded) BMI terms, I was not overweight for long periods of time. I was never thin, but I was a perfectly good size. And yet I always felt fat.

So the first thing that I would have done differently would have been to appreciate my body as it was and not feel that it was so horrible. It wasn't. 

I would have never gone on any of the stupid fad diets that I tried (included fasting once a week; eating nothing but grapefruit or bananas; not eating after 5 p.m., even if I’d barely eaten a thing during the first part of the day; the dreaded two shakes a day plus one meal diet; and religiously separating carb meals from protein meals).

I would have learned that there are no bad foods and that stopping when you’re full (not stuffed) does not mean you're depriving yourself of anything. In short, I would have made intuitive eating my mantra. (Please see my recent posts on the topic).

The other huge lesson that would have benefitted me greatly would have been to never stop moving. By my mid-twenties, I already knew that my “physical architecture” was faulty. I had already ruptured a disc and had back surgery. By the time I was in my early thirties, I learnt that I was suffering from arthritis in my hips and knees (common amongst the women in my family). I had done yoga on and off since my teens, but mostly, I was “off”.

I would have started doing yoga and swimming and never stopped. My body has never been able to take high impact exercise, but there was a ton of other things that I could have done and especially done consistently.

So, regrets–I've got a few. But it's never too late to teach this old dog new tricks.

Many thanks to all my bloggin' buds that shared the benefit of their accumulated wisdom... and didn't overly mind being called "old" in the process...


  1. Wow - the gang's all here!
    Good stuff, y'all!

  2. Awesome advice! Thanks everyone! :)

  3. LOVE this! Approaching 50, I can relate to each and every sentiment!

  4. Good Lord I needed this this morning.

  5. Inspiring...I wish I had been given this advise 40 years ago. Although for most of us it seems like we have to learn the hard way..
    Some I can use Today even at 60 years old.
    I especially loved:
    "When you find yourself in a hole, put down the shovel"...

    "Being fat does not mean you are defective, broken or damaged. It just means you haven't learned how to take care of yorself yet". Pat Barcone

  6. What a truly inspiring post, I love it. Great advice on here and I'm thankful for it =)

  7. Being 30 (please don't hit me) I am just beginning to realize some of these things and even wish now I could take my 20yrd old chunky self and just shake her!! Great collection, informative lists.

  8. 40 years and 9 months here. Wish I'd have known:

    - Keeping things simple isn't glamorous, but it's damned effective
    - By NOT doing right stuff, life is so much more stressful and difficult
    - Hard times, bad situations and bad moods will ALWAYS pass. ALWAYS.

  9. I LOVE this, Jack!

    I too, am staring fifty in the face, and the one BIG thing I know now is to not take health for granted. When we're young, we really do think we're invincible. Healthy eating and daily exercise should start when we are children. Seriously.

  10. Thanks Jack! That really is great advice. I should frame much of it and staple it to my forehead so I remember.

  11. What a great post Jack. Really inspiring and really some great advice here!

    Also, I forgot how old you really are Jack, considering that you act like a 12 year old 99%of the time.

  12. Thank you so much for this post. I'm 26 (close enough to 25 for this to apply to). There were so many words in this post that really motivated and encouraged me. The great thing is I feel like I am already learning many of the lessons talked about here, but it is so wonderful to hear others say, "YES, that IS what you should be doing/thinking/feeling" because it is so hard to be sure of yourself when you don't know what life will hold or experience to fall back on.

    So thanks to all who contributed to this post. It was really amazing and uplifting, and now I have some new blogs to follow :)

  13. Excellent advice -- At 43, too many things I wish I had known....

    Thanks for your sweet comments. Clearly, I still have not learned how to party safely!

  14. This is a great post, and just what I needed today! :)

  15. Shame Jack. You didn't ask me!

    I qualify. I'm grey under the lovely colour my hairdresser used and I've got 50 years on any 20 year old. *giggle*

    I wish I'd appreciated the body I had. It was pretty good and I thought, completely erroneously, it was extremely overweight. I wish I'd known I had a good body and all I needed to do to maintain it was eat healthy, natural food and get some regular moderate exercise, like walking. Those things were easy to do 50 years ago yet somehow I got caught up in crazy diets.

    We have so much better information now. We also have a culture of exercise which wasn't very evident back then. Had I known about triathlons I'm pretty certain I'd have tried one just for fun.

    I wish I'd known that competition is not a dirty word.

    The one thing I know now that I didn't know then is that wheat can cause as many problems as sugar.

    I wish I'd known that wheat and sugar make a seriously addictive combination.

    I wish I'd known that looking after my own health and fitness was as important for my children as my focus on their education.

    But most of all I wish I'd known that what I had was worth looking after.

    Oh! And I'm glad I did not have to contend with Fast Food. It hardly existed, except for fish and chips, in New Zealand back then.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Jack, thx for including me & such great stuff from all the other bloggers!!!!

    Sh*t, though, I thought I was still a kid...oh, I guess I just act like one! :-)

  18. Oh wait a minute. We had to be post-adolescent to qualify? Might want to do a strike-through on my portion. Sorry....

    (joking aside, wisdom is worth a few gray hairs.)

  19. ooh I adore these compilation of wisdom posts as even when we think (ok by WE I mean I :)) we have it figured out for ourselves---we, err, I read these and think:



  20. Thanks, Jack, for including me in the group. It was great fun. As always, a big thank you for all you bring to the community.

  21. Great post!!

    If I could go back....25 years I'd tell Young Connie that hiding cookies in your closet leads to bad eating habits.

    It all started with the butter cookies....

  22. I like my dime, it rests in my hand. I'm not trading it for two in the bush, if you know what I mean.

    It was an honor to contribute Jack, thanks for asking!

  23. Love it! I especially related to Roxie @ Gravel and Rust's post.

  24. These are fantastic tips! They have resonated a lot with me because I have recently taken up a new line of work. I'm taking a major life risk, throwing financial security (hopefully temporarily) out the window. All because I want to try doing what I LOVE for once. It's great to hear these veterans share that following your dreams is wise. I hope that they are right. Thank you, this definitely was much-needed today.



Related Posts with Thumbnails