One-on-One with Deborah
Deborah shares her insights with Ageless Living Magazine about how she built a successful career in law all while raising three children and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“A good friend said to me recently: ‘the 50s are easy, just try looking good in your 60s!’” laughs Deb Todd, a well known and highly respected lawyer who has been practicing family law, wills and estate law in Victoria for 30 years. Deb has accomplished that coveted life sought after by women everywhere: she built a successful career while raising three children, and managed to maintain a healthy lifestyle on top of it all. Now, in her 60s, Deb shares with Ageless Living some thoughts on how she made it all happen.
Life Lessons Learned On the Job
“My work as a family law lawyer and my own life experience has taught me the important role that being in a healthy relationship plays on your overall health and well being. I firmly believe that being in a dysfunctional relationship is damaging to your psychological and physical health. I’ve worked with literally thousands of people and helped them go through the process of separating from their partners. Although often devastated at first, I watch as they rebuild healthy and happy lives. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to know so many people and to be able to help them through this transition.”
The Trap of the Desk
“I’ve worked at a desk for 30 years practicing law. Although it’s a wonderful and challenging career and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, it requires sitting at a desk for long hours most days. I realized from the start that when I was not working, I needed to get moving and be careful to watch what I ate. I’ve always understood the role that being fit and eating well plays in my overall well-being, but my understanding of what that means and how to accomplish it has changed over the years. Now that I’m in my 60s, the importance of health is increasingly evident.”
Variety: The Spice of Life and Exercise
“I started jogging and swimming, and in my mid-40s added weight training, bike riding and yoga. I was lucky enough to grow up on a lake so swimming came easily to me, but everything else I had to learn. As a child I was not particularly athletic. I had the help of a trainer for five years who worked with me six days a week and who taught me an enormous amount. Together we frequented the Y at Royal Roads and later Juan de Fuca Rec Centre. He trained me for triathlons, and although I only competed twice, I still do the training every day. The variety of the four sports (biking, swimming, running and weight lifting) has allowed me to keep going through numerous minor injuries.”
Motivation and Moderation
“I have gone through good times and bad, like anyone else, but staying fit and healthy definitely helps me maintain a positive attitude and lifts my self-esteem. Motivation comes easily for me. As my trainer said, my problem isn’t motivation, it’s moderation. I am motivated by the sense of well-being I get from staying fit, and I’m much happier if I stay on track. I am also motivated by the great friends I have made at all the gyms and recreation centres I’ve haunted over the past 15 years. My friends at these facilities have inspired me every day and we have had a lot of fun working out together. The gym has become an important part of my social life and I’d miss it terribly if I stopped going.
“On weekdays I usually get up at 4:45 a.m. and I’m at the rec centre by 5:30 to do weights and swim. I then try to go running, biking or walking when I get home from work. On weekends, I go for a longer run or bike ride from home in the morning, and I swim in a lake during summer. I’m definitely a morning person and I find it’s best to get most of my fitness done first thing in the morning, because you never know what the day will bring and you may not be able to exercise after work.”
Diet of a Fitness Buff
“I have been through many different dieting regimens over the years, including low-carb, high-protein diets. I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains, and I make sure I get a lot of oils every day. I don’t smoke, drink alcohol or eat processed foods, and I avoid caffeine. I do, however, have one or two days a week when I can and do eat whatever I feel like, including meat, fish and desserts.”
The Best Advice
“The best advice I could give is to set up a daily routine for both exercise and diet that works for you, and stick to it. Hiring a personal trainer to get you started (if you can afford it) makes it much more fun. Alternatively, join classes at your gym or rec centre. You will learn how to exercise without hurting yourself and you will make great friends who will encourage you.”
Finding a Balance
“It is very hard to balance fitness, career and family. I didn’t really focus on fitness seriously until my late forties when my youngest child turned 16 and got her driver’s license, so I was no longer the chauffeur! Once I was free to arrange my schedule, I started going to the gym and exercising on a regular basis.”
Looking Back; Looking Forward
“So far, my lifestyle has paid off. Now, in my 60s, I’m healthy, fit and happy. I’ve survived two divorces, three children and menopause. I still don’t have grey hair (if I knew why I could make a fortune!) and except for a few wrinkles, I don’t look too bad. Going forward, I hope to continue the work that has been so inspiring and fulfilling to me, and maintain my fitness for many years to come. Hopefully I will be able to say to my friend in 10 years, ‘the 60s were easy, just try looking good in your 70s!’