On New Beginnings

On New Beginnings

I visited an old friend yesterday, and it was a happy reunion. After a hiatus of dealing with the loss of my mother, shoulder surgery, back issues, and a crazy school year, I went up to my gym to exercise. It was hard, but so good. I waited for the semester to wind down so that I could truly focus on this new beginning for me, as I began a medically supervised diet to reclaim my healthy and fit body yesterday morning. The months of challenge and sporadic attempts to jumpstart my fitness program wore on me, and too often I let myself be comforted by food. I feel ready now, excited to begin what I know will be difficult at times, but my health is worth it all. I can see myself achieving my goal- an important part of success. At fifty-two, losing weight will only become more and more difficult…now is the time to make a change.

I have battled weight issues my entire life, even though I have been an avid exerciser. I’ve run many 10K’s, a half marathon, got certified to teach kickboxing, bike, do yoga, walk….I have always loved the way my body feels when it is active. The hard part comes when putting all of the puzzle pieces together over the long haul- eating healthfully and balancing my fitness program. I take after my father who was always going on strict diets to be ready for his military weigh-ins, someone predisposed to hold onto extra weight. I have had periods of success over the years, but it is something that is constantly on my mind. If I am not vigilant, the weight sneaks up on me. I am also famous for thinking I am twenty again, exercising too hard, too aggressively…one of the main reasons I had to have shoulder surgery (along with carrying heavy clarinet cases over my shoulder and lifting Mom).

I was doing wonderfully before Mom’s fateful fall last July, having lost fifty pounds and maintaining it for two years. I felt invincible, like I had finally figured out what worked for me to stay at a healthy weight- it was wonderful. Once she fell, my whole world focused on her, and while I tried to maintain yoga classes to deal with the stress, I spent way too much time eating in hospital cafeterias and heading home too exhausted to even think about exercise. Then the school year began, and I was just struggling to hold on and move forward from Mom’s death. Life will always present challenges to us- it’s time for me to learn how to deal with stress in healthier ways.

I am blessed to have a loving husband who is a dedicated yoga teacher and who supports me one hundred percent in my goals. He has never shamed me or nagged me when the weight creeps back, but lovingly encourages me and cooks healthy meals for us. I have a wonderful gym that I have put together over the years where I can kickbox, do yoga, row, do elliptical, treadmill, and weights. I have two dogs who love walking more than life itself. I have every fitness DVD known to mankind. I have no excuse…except for the fear of failure.

When I met with my wonderful doctor to discuss my issues and come up with a plan of attack, an intern interviewed me first. He was so young, and when I told him about my recent struggles with losing weight, he said, “Do you track your food and keep count of your calories? That’s the best way.” I laughed…if it were only that easy. The emotional side of eating and weight issues add a layer that he couldn’t possibly understand yet. Thankfully, my doctor could see the big picture. I had met with her right after Mom died, and she has been full of compassion throughout this entire time. She told me to wait until I felt ready, that I would know when I was at a place emotionally to face the process of changing my lifestyle. She was right, and I am ready now.

I know there are some tough days ahead, but I have always been a plugger. Once I truly set my mind to something, I do it faithfully. It is so funny that I already feel better, just knowing that I am making better choices. I am doing my best to not panic at the enormity of the task, but to focus one day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time. I’m tracking everything in Myfitnesspal on my iPad, and my wonderful support group of friends are cheering me on. I am thinking of my goals- the 5K Color Run at the end of May,  going to Madrid in July for ClarinetFest, feeling more confident on stage. Starting the new school year in the fall, and enjoying the looks on my students’ faces when they see the change in me- and knowing that I am setting a healthy example for them. Most of all, I look forward to feeling truly good again, to feeling strong in body, mind, and spirit. This has nothing to do with being skinny- it’s all about being healthy and enjoying my life to the fullest. Send good thoughts my way if you would…I look forward to sharing good news with you along the way. I feel so grateful to be alive and to have this opportunity to change. Now it’s time for some yoga to start my day…Namaste.

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