You’ve been poking around the site and landed here, and by now you’re probably wondering what my story is and why another health site? It’s all so confusing and everyone in the Interwebs is screaming their story too, so who do you believe? Well – you be the judge
after you read my story.
The truth is, I wasn’t always into health and fitness. If my life were a movie, it would mostly be told in flashbacks because in order to tell it, I had to reverse engineer myself to figure out how to write it.
I guess the first thing to tell you is that I really didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was 49 years old, a process that started when I was 45. My last parent had passed away when I was 42, and I spent the next three years in a fog trying to figure out life. I’m an only child who has only one child, and even though I had my husband and son with me, I felt more alone than at any other time in my life ever. It was an odd feeling, and one I didn’t know how to handle. And as a consequence, from 42-45, I ate my feelings. I only know that now in hindsight; at the time I was clueless.
My mother had spent most of 2005 being ill and I was her sole caregiver. One particularly trying day my husband came home from work to find me a hot mess. I remember saying to him, “Can you keep an eye on Mom for just a few minutes? I have GOT to take a walk!” (Looking back, this was clearly a shift in reality for me, but I didn’t know it at the time). I was so out of shape that all I could do was walk around the city block, but it was enough at the time to clear my head and renew me for the rest of the evening. Again, I had no clue I’d stumbled upon a fact of fitness – the more you expend energy, the more energy you have. I just knew it was a break for me. In fact, it felt so good that I did it the next day and the next day, gradually (and we’re talking inches here), going a little further each day.
The times Mom spent in the hospital weren’t good times for me, and I was clueless at that time, just eating when I could. Her last three months were particularly difficult, so when Mom died in early December, I was drained emotionally and physically. The only relief I was getting was an hour break when either my husband or my aunt would relieve me so I could talk my walk. Walking became my therapy, even when the cold winter weather started settling in. I remember one afternoon in mid-to-late November looking at my mom sitting in her chair, unable to move, and saying, “Mom, I feel guilty for leaving you.” Her response would become the statement that fuels me even today, “No, you go ahead and go. I’d go with you if I could. Walk for me. Move for me.” After that, her health continued to decline at a rapid rate, until she passed away in early December. The stress of that time caused me to lose 20 pounds in three weeks. That kind of weight loss never lasts long though.
A few months and 60 pounds later, My husband and I moved to the house I grew up in and I began getting reacclimatized to myhometown. I felt comforted seeing people that knew my parents and who had known me as a kid. That same summer I reconnected with a high school friend by accident, who invited me to go to a free step aerobics class at our local library. Still, it would be 6-7 months before I would agree to go, in March of 2007.
That little class became my lifeline. The most I can ever remember attending was 3-4, including the instructor. I began to joke and say that it was my therapy. Little did I know how accurate that would turn out to be! We’d talk and exercise at the same time, and the last half of the class was spend doing floor exercises, my favorite part. Little by little, the fog was starting the clear.
Almost exactly one year to the day after I started that class, it happened that I had a doctor’s appointment for my “yearly.” (Yes, ladies, you know exactly the one I mean. It’s never pleasant, no matter how much you love your doctor – can I get an “amen?”) This time was a little different though; I clearly remember my “aha” moment. I had done nothing the previous year but exercise at that step class, and walk. A lot. And I lost exactly one pound. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but the light bulb went off in my head. If I could lose one pound by just walking and exercising, what might happen if I was walking, exercising AND controlling my food intake? That was in late March 2008.
Hit the fast forward button to today, and that exposure to step aerobics led to becoming a Zumba instructor, group fitness certification, personal trainer certification, fitness department supervisor at the local YMCA, then physical activity coordinator for a grant program for a local health department, health coach and now, master certified health coach. That’s 8 years of experience in one sentence!
Because of my experience with my parents, my heart lies in working with people in their late 40s and beyond about getting their healthy act together. This site, my mission, is to partner with people to help them work toward a more optimistic future. An independent future that doesn’t include looking for an assisted living facility when they’d rather be in their own home, taking their own dog (or cat, for you cat people out there) for a walk around the block.
It’s never too late – and never too soon either – to start strategizing about changing your lifestyle so you don’t act 97 when you’re 57. And truly, I know some in their 90s who are more active and alive than some in their 50s. Life is a wonderful blessing, and we only get one chance to live it to the fullest. What a waste to having quantity of life, but no quality. Don’t be that person. Don’t be the 97-year-old 57-year-old.