Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. –Carol Welch
Although my Dad has always been big on fitness (he used to be a boxer), I detested exercise until my senior year of high school.
As a kid, I always enjoyed outdoor activities, just not in a very physically active way. Around the age of eight, something shifted and I suddenly became the “chubby girl”.
[I'm on the far left with red pants] / [On the right in blue with my cousin Leslie]
[Dressed as a witch for Halloween - age 9]
By my senior year of high school, I was miserable. I hadn’t weighed myself in years, but I remember stepping on the scale and being appalled by the number staring back at me: 206 lbs.
Years of hurt and self-hatred combined with eating fat, salt and sugar-laden foods had accumulated and formed a person I couldn’t even recognize in the mirror. Eating had become my respite from the chaos of life. But instead of making me feel better, I was utterly ashamed of myself. I hid and tried to become as invisible as possible.
I realized I couldn’t live this way any more, and that I was the only one who could help myself. That year, my life changed as my incredible love affair with fitness began.
When I was seventeen, I started a program at Curves, an all-women circuit-training program, and began the Atkin’s (no carb) diet. What I loved most about Curves was that they showed my progress visually in both weight and inches. I watched as my fish moved across the wall, moving from 0 lbs and inches lost to 50+ lbs and inches lost. It encouraged me to keep up the hard work.
Exercise and tracking calories became a way of life and I was diligent in my efforts. I left the islands for college 30 pounds lighter with increased self-esteem.
Being my own caretaker while at college in Oregon afforded me the ability to choose the ways in which I fueled my mind, body and spirit. I made conscious efforts to become knowledgeable in nutrition and exercise and continued to stay very physically active. I weight trained and did cardio exercises daily and used my extracurricular credits to take random classes that I thought I should never be allowed to receive college credits for–meditation, yoga, tai chi, weight training (I and II), lap-swimming and the like. I biked every day and gave 90-minute walking tours of the campus. During this time I also found my passion for being outdoors and hiking became a weekly activity.
But even all that exercise couldn’t make up for the late nights of partying, my roommate’s irresistible brownies, fast food munchies or the crazy amounts of caffeine I was consuming to keep myself awake between school, work, activities and a personal life.
My next big wakeup call manifested itself as the death of my beloved Grandma. After years of complications due to a lifetime of diabetes, she passed the day after my birthday a few months before I was to be the first person in my family to graduate college. It was then that I made the conscious decision to “walk the walk” of health and wellness so that I would never have to live that life.
I came home after college and continued hiking. I became an avid Spinner, then started practicing Bikram yoga, which eventually flowed into other types of yoga (vinyasa flow, anusara, jivamukti). Slowly my routine became balanced–I would do intense cardio mixed with weight training, swimming, meditation, and yoga.
And then my mom introduced me to TurboKick! The first class I attended was crazy–people were having so much fun and going nuts and I couldn’t keep up! After a few weeks, however, I became ADDICTED! Group excercise offered me a fun and accountable way to exercise. If I didn’t show up, my friends called me on it. We all bonded on a deep and powerful level and offered each other invaluable support. I was taking TurboKick classes at least 6 times a week and looked forward to leaving the gym soaked in sweat. When the option to become an instructor came around, I jumped on it. I thought I would be strengthening my practice and never imagined I’d become an instructor.
And then the universe lined itself up for me to teach.
“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” - Eleanor Roosevelt.
When the opportunity arose, I decided to push myself and do it. I have been teaching TurboKick twice a week for over a year and love it!
In the same adventurous spirit, I decided I wanted to see if it was possible for me to run. I am part of an online weightloss community called Sparkpeople and many of my friends had great success with a certain program, but I couldn’t run a quarter mile without stopping before January of 2010. It was a long shot, but in January I started the Couch to 5K program.
On March 13th, 2010, I ran my first 5K in 33 minutes!
I never thought it possible, but I fell in love with running and soon started a 10K training program based on Hal Higdon’s training schedule. On August 22nd I ran my first 10K at 66 minutes.
I never imagined myself running a 5K, let alone a 10K! But the challenge of pushing my limits and seeing how far I can go has pushed me to train for a 15K (you can see my original goal and training schedule here). As much as I’d like to say I’ve stuck to that schedule, life–grad school, being a newlywed, cooking, creating jewelry, etc.–gets in the way, and I’ve re-evaluated (which I talk about in more detail here).
Presently I’m working on running 3-4 times a week and listening to my body. Eventually I’ll start training for another race, but for right now, I’m content with simply running until my body says, “turn around”. My workout schedule is flexible because life doesn’t always go as planned–crazy 30 page papers and gardening happen! I try to give myself one true rest day each week, but aside from that I strength train, crosstrain, walk and/or hike on the “free” days.
I now love being active! Whether that means lifting weights, teaching TurboKick, or exploring caves in the forest! I’ve found myself through exercise.
More than 50 pounds lighter than when I started this journey, I am happy with where I’m at but am always working to become a stronger and better person both inside and out. After years of over-exercising, binge & emotional eating and trying just about every diet in the book, I am finally learning to listen to (and honor) my body. I love the outdoors, teach TurboKick (cardio-kickboxing) twice a week, practice yoga, lift weights and love running!
Join me as I continue on this incredible journey!