Carla Palmer Gets the Jump On Joyful Living
Carla Palmer, creator of GYSBMovement, says “Sis, it’s time to GYSB!”
Time to what? “Get Your Sexy Back.” As founder and creator of this 13-year-plus old health and fitness movement, the radiant and bubbly Miss Carla is in her fifties (how???), is the mother of a grown adult son, and simply glows. Yes, it’s the glow of aerobic fitness and healthy eating, and no doubt some great DNA. But it’s also much more.
In Carla’s context, “GYSB” means sexy in ways other than the obvious. Beyond loving up our juicy curves, snug-fitting jeans and supple skin, Carla’s message is one of discovering and celebrating vitality in all areas of life, including acquiring and sharing financial literacy, building positive relationships with people and work, and setting appropriate boundaries. Her podcast GYSBtalks covers the gamut of areas which impact our “sexy” in the sense of feeling joyful and joy-filled including understanding and finding peace with menopause and fibroids, how to steward your money, procrastination and how to stop doing it, dealing with divorce, domestic violence, and alopecia hair loss, preparing for retirement, how fitness enhances travelling, how to get a good night’s sleep– all this and basically everything else that we might discuss with a trusted friend over a cozy cup of herbal tea in our kitchen, or a frozen daiquiri at poolside.
“Optimal living is the goal!” says Carla, who lives in Los Angeles and hikes the trails around Mount Hollywood as a way to “…tap into my joy reservoir. Being in Nature reminds us that there is so much that’s greater than ourselves.”
As for the jump rope, she says “Several years ago, a cheating boyfriend killed my spirit for a little while. I started eating my feelings and gained 50 pounds. What I call ‘revenge weight-loss’ allowed me the get rid of those unwanted pounds, and that’s when I re-discovered jumping rope. I loved it so much when I was a kid, I was hoping to get the same joy, and I DID! I’ve kept the weight off, and continue to keep it off by keeping active, but mostly by being positive, and operating in joy. My revenge turned into self-love.”
A generation ago, lots of kids, especially girls, learned to Double-Dutch using just a retired clothesline. City sidewalks inspired fancy footwork, complex counted combinations mirroring those used by great boxers, and dazzling rhymes inspired by the shimmering legacy of the African oral traditions. Carla offers three styles of branded jump ropes on her site, along with her e-book “The Blueprint to Living Your Absolute Best Life.” Carla shares the following tips for jumping, starting with jumping alone:
- Choose a supportive, padded surface (yes, we all jumped on concrete when our joints were young– but that was then, this is now).
- Jump using the balls of your feet, and land on the balls of your feet.
- Proper footwear, including Dr. Scholl’s inserts, is critical to protecting and supporting knees and hips.
- No need to jump super-high! (This is a common rookie mistake.)
- Your wrists are your motor. Focus of your wrists as you make the revolutions.
“What new jumpers discover is that jumping rope is more of a brain-thing than purely just a body-thing,” she says. “The practice trains your hands and feet to move to rhythm, so it’s a good workout to fine-tune your brain as well as great for cardio and coordination.”
And if jumping rope is not your thing, no worries. Joy awaits and is always accessible, asking only for your intention. Carla makes a distinction between “joy” and “happiness.” Joy, she explains, is a soul-deep sense of comfort and peace which comes from living in gratitude, even when things don’t go your way (for now). Happiness is a good, though fleeting feeling, and more of a response to happenings in your life. The inner peace she equates with joy is more important than chasing happiness, she says.
“I’ve taken lots of Ls,” says Carla, Ls being losses. “I’ve been robbed at gunpoint six times. I’ve been jobless and didn’t have a place to stay when my son was an infant. Now people see me on my Instagram and say, ‘That girl is always happy.’ Not true! I have been through a lot, but nothing’s gonna take my joy from me.”
Carla’s intentional steps toward choosing joy include the advice to get out in nature and move your body, de-clutter and tidy your space every day, make your bed upon rising, and to take a break from social media. She also cautions us to be careful about who we let into our inner circle. It’s okay to love negative people, she says, but do so from a safe distance. This requires the creation and maintenance of healthy, self-loving boundaries.
“Most of all, laugh,” she says. “Be thankful. If you’ve got breath, if you can move your feet and hands if you’ve still got some teeth to brush. When your choice to be grateful and intentional becomes your daily practice, you can cope with challenges– like my hair loss (she gleefully rocks a curly wig on Instagram, then snatches it off) — with acceptance and contentment, because you’ve tapped into your limitless joy reservoir.”