“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”
This quote hit me hard at a time when my grandmother struggled to get around and my mother’s health was declining. I took this quote from Lord Edward Stanley, a British statesman, from a speech he gave while he was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs during the 19th century. While the language is dated, the message is still relevant.
I started to look at life down the road and I feared that if I didn’t change now, when would I? I knew I needed to take charge. A life with limits is not for me.
So the burning question became… “Where do I begin?”
My beginning was in late May 2008. In my early thirties, I was a busy working mom to a four year old girl, wrapped up in building a dental practice with my husband. A patient invited me to join her at a boot camp class that she had been attending. I loved working out when I was younger, so I accepted her offer. I planned to go after work one evening so I made sure I brought something suitable to exercise in, but I really didn’t want to go. Luckily, she called me to confirm and I said, “See you there.”
I’m so thankful she called me that day; I would have missed out on my beginning. I ended up joining the group. During that time I made friends that I have had for almost a decade now. Together we pushed our limits and became stronger and learned about proper nutrition. While I was working and taking care of my family I was able to fit one hour, three days a week of lifting weights and running, which was a lot more fun with a supportive team to sweat it out with. Slowly, very slowly, I made changes to my diet.
I wouldn’t recommend taking as long as I did to get the diet straight. I had to change my relationship with food and build a new respect for calories. Once I had a handle on my eating habits I saw greater results.
In the beginning I told myself, I just want to be healthier. That’s a fairly broad statement and I didn’t know exactly what I meant by it. Certainly I wanted to feel better and look better. I was having health issues and my weight was taking its toll on my wellbeing. I had this picture in my head of my ideal body, I wasn’t sure how to achieve it, or if I ever would.
Between diet and exercise, the latter was the easier part for me. Well, not really, I was the slowest person in class to finish, but it was easier than learning that I didn’t require almost a full meal before my workout to power me through it. The amount of food it takes to sufficiently supply the body is much less than I originally estimated. It was so much easier to feel excited about eating less once I started dropping clothing sizes. Nothing feels better than buying a size 10, then 8, and even size 6, especially after once buying 22W.
Through the years I’ve learned I don’t have to know how things will work out. It’s not necessary to have a concrete plan. Even if you do there’s always a certain amount of recalculating along the way. The thing that is absolutely required to achieve success is to keep showing up. Find a routine that works for your schedule and an activity that is enjoyable. Making new friends is the icing on the cake, which will happen when you choose a group activity.
Friends are great motivators; just knowing that they are expecting to see you and will question why you weren’t in class is sometimes enough reason to get to class.
The benefits have been endless. Since I’ve learned about what works for me concerning fitness and nutrition, I not only dropped 85 pounds, I also shed most of the insecurities I dragged around for years. I can focus on other things now.
I exceeded my fitness expectations and the desire to continue to improve still reigns. I’m a fitness fanatic! I’ll try almost anything.
I’ve trained for numerous races from 5k’s to full marathons. I cycled, swam, and ran to prepare for a triathlon that never happened. I’ve hung upside down from the silks in aerial yoga, strengthened my core on the Pilates machines. I did Orangetheory, Pure Barre, CrossFit, yoga, water aerobics, and more. I’ve added Latin dance to the mix for the last two years and I plan on dancing in my heels forever. Recently, I’ve returned to my roots, boot camp. In August I joined my friend Ana at Burn Boot Camp, with Ezzie Raulls, our leader. I love it! It’s like being home again. Benefits of the membership are unlimited classes, which are always a challenge, and focus meetings. Those focus meetings keep me excited about staying on track and give me accountability.
Lord Stanley’s quote was the catalyst that created a desire to improve and push my limits. Wondering where to begin is a good sign you are ready for a change.