Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Life-Change-Aversary to Me!

Last week marked the two-year anniversary of the start of my journey to fitness :-)

Many people are able to identify a specific event that made them decide that the time had come to take control of their life. I love reading/hearing about people's journeys through change and admire how honest people are in telling their stories. Here's mine:

I wasn't always overweight. I was reasonably active, especially in my teens.  I was eating far too many carbs and fried things and not enough fruits & veg. Rarely ate salad and didn't like cooked vegetables. Still - metabolism was on my side. I was tall and slim, was getting exercise, felt great and was happy.

Then I hit my 20s. Went to university. Got married. Started eating the same amount of food as my husband, a guy with a physical job at the time. Started eating too late in the day because of my work schedule. Moved to an office job. Bought a car. Had a baby. Bought a house. Had another baby.

Every life change brought with it a decrease in the amount of physical activity I was getting. Some resulted in stress eating. All resulted in weight gain. Slow and steady, slow and steady. I know NOW that I should have compensated by improving my eating habits and seeking out exercise - but I didn't fully appreciate it back then. I was putting on just under 1 lb a month...which added up to 10 lbs a year...and the next thing you know, 10 years had passed and I was 100 lbs overweight.
And terribly unhappy. Unhappy with the way that I was feeling (regardless of your size, a poor diet based on sugar, salt and fat will do that to you), unhappy with the way that I was starting to have chronic aches and pains, unhappy about how hard it was to find clothes that fit, unhappy that my children had a fat, inactive mother, and unhappy that my husband had an unhappy wife.

So unhappy that I kept eating. And gaining.

Nov 2007 - just over a year before I started moving.
 My favourite 'before' picture.

By January 1, 2009, I was 120 lbs overweight, feeling completely hopeless about it and was too overwhelmed to make a change. At 37 years old, I had resigned myself to the idea that this was going to be my life - out of shape, unhappy and with feet so sore in the mornings that I hobbled around like an old, old woman. I think it's fair to say that I had a touch of depression.


On January 2, 2009, my 9-year-old son asked me to join his upcoming kendo (martial arts) class. It was an all ages class, but he'd found out that he was going to be the only student under 20 and wanted some company.

I was terrified at the idea of taking an exercise class - in public! - but absolutely could not say no to my son. As scared as I was, I at least had the sense to realize that invitations like this from our children are few and far between and can't be turned down.

So - I stalled for a few hours before pulling up the online registration form. Realized that the first class was the very next day, panicked, but signed up anyway.

I have to say - the first class was really difficult given my poor level of fitness, but it was a lot of fun. A LOT of fun. It felt so, so great be be moving! I'd been a member of Curves for a while - hadn't been going, but my membership was still actve - and by the time the class was over, I was determined to get to Curves the next day and get in 3 workouts before the next week's class. Maybe the second class wouldn't be as hard?

Well - I got to the gym 3 times that week..and the next...and the next...and the next thing you know, I'd formed a pretty decent habit of going regularly.

Towards the end of January, the gym announced that they were starting up free (free!) classes on healthy eating and I signed up. I'd tried the classes a couple of years before and failed miserably. I GAINED weight the last time that I tried the classes...but this time I was ready for change. For the first time ever, I found myself eating tons of veg and a balanced diet with sensible portion sizes. Day after day after day after day.

It took a few weeks, but I eventually noticed just how very much better I was feeling mentally and physically as a result of the changes I was making. Taking charge of my life, getting proper nutrition, and getting active was Making Me Happier. Confident. Energized.

By the time the kendo classes came to an end in the spring, my son and I had decided that it wasn't quite the right activity for either of us. We didn't sign up again - but I kept going to Curves faithfully and found myself ditching the elevator at work and taking the stairs to the seventh floor instead every day. Every day! 

March 2010 - My favourite 'work in progress' picture

Since then, I've gradually increased the amount of exercise I get every day, try to seek out variety, and started participating in organized events.   

I still have almost daily struggles with food - especially at parties - but I eat a lot more mindfully now and finally understand what healthy eating looks like.

I've had a temendous amount of support from my family, my friends, my coworkers, the trainers at Curves and the members at Curves. Couldn't have done this without so many people cheering me on. THANK YOU!

Special thanks to my children for being my biggest cheerleaders - and most of all to my son for taking me by the hand and leading me to the first step on this journey.

While I'm writing this, I'm listening to my husband shuffle through event listings and think aloud about training for a 10K...or maybe even a half marathon. I can't even describe how happy I am that he's being active himself, and how grateful I am that we're not still living the life we had 2 years and 1 week ago.

So happy. So confident. So energized. So much fun!

Happy Anniversary!

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