Here's How 51 Looks with a Lifetime of Physical Fitness

By Harry Jackson, Jr. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 23, 2015 | Go to article overview

Here's How 51 Looks with a Lifetime of Physical Fitness


Harry Jackson, Jr., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Gayle Wilson Rose nibbles all day nuts, bread, fruit, even homemade pizza. No meat or fish. She jogs rather than walks when she can, or rides a bicycle. She's 125 pounds and 5 feet, 5 inches tall.

She's been like that all of her life, 51 years, except for a couple of hiccups: a short time at 19 years old when she grew for a year or so to 150 pounds, and once when she was pregnant.

Otherwise, she says her physical fitness tests show she's in better shape now than in her teens. "I don't like growing old gracefully," she said. "I'm growing old with a vengeance."

Her message is that anyone can be healthy if they embrace fitness as a lifestyle.

As a full-time health coach, she says she strives to find out who her clients are, then help them learn how that can be adapted to being healthy and fit. That's what worked for her, she said.

She doesn't really have an aha moment that changed her life. Instead, she found inspiration in a health course at the University of Missouri-St. Louis just out of high school. Later, she took a course in Asian philosophy, "and I learned to question everything."

The health course taught her enough that she wanted to do it, forever. First thing she did was shrink, from 150 pounds to 125 and has floated there since for about 30 years.

Her only experience since then with being overweight was during her pregnancy 15 years ago with her son, Luca. "I learned an appreciation for people who carry their weight in the front," she said. "You're off balance, you can't even bend over to tie your shoes."

While she may gain a few pounds now and then, "If I get to 130, wow, it's like my clothes don't fit, I feel (different)."

Her change to health coaching was because she used the principles on herself before she knew what health coaching was.

She didn't go on an obsessive-compulsive trek of eating like a bird and exercising like a Navy SEAL. In fact, she took off to have a life traveling, living overseas, experiencing.

During that time, she made changes with respect for her own life and choices, not some form of fad or scientific instruction.

An example, she stopped eating red meat, then stopped eating any meat fish or chicken included. Why? "It was more as I became aware of animal rights," she said, "how they treat animals (that end up on the dinner table)."

That was 20 years ago. She still otherwise indulged in what she liked. She's not vegan; she eats eggs and cheese. "While I lived in Italy, I had pasta and vegetables every day," she said. "I didn't own a car, and I walked or biked everywhere."

She moved to Italy to teach English and work in advertising. …

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