Last April a neighbor/friend of mine had started doing bootcamp. She had steadily been losing weight and was looking great. I was not feeling great. I was feeling like a mom and just a mom, a tired mom with 3 kids, adorable and lovely kids who are the greatest thing in my life but I wanted to feel like more than just a mom. I was missing me a bit. Missing the me that used to take time out and do things for myself. I had taken one major step a few months earlier to getting the old me back. I had started riding again after a 7 year break. I LOVED that I was back to riding but I was exhausted every time I rode and frustrated that I wasn't where I was 7 years ago in terms of endurance etc. I just wasn't feeling fit. Since I had Chase I would start working out and then stop and then start etc. I just didn't like working out on my own.
So, I finally took the plunge with my neighbor and signed up for a month of bootcamp and have been doing it ever since without looking back. I have met amazing ladies who have done nothing but encourage me to keep going. My entire body has changed and every now and then someone says "Wow the weight has melted off of you". That of course makes me laugh, I wish weight melted off of me but it doesn't, I've just worked REALLY hard since April, 6 days a week(most days getting up at 5am to go workout)to get to where I am. In April, I could barely run around the block and by October I was running a 10K without stopping. In April, I could hardly hold plank position for 40 seconds. Last I got timed I held plank for over 2 minutes. So I've made a lot of progress and I still have a ways to go. I've lost some weight and a WHOLE LOT of inches because of this. I feel really good and really strong. Definitely stronger than before I had kids, that is for sure!
About 2 months ago, I started playing a game based off a book called the "Game On Diet". To make a long story short(er) you get points for doing different things, like eating specific foods, exercising, creating a good habit and doing it daily and getting rid of a bad habit, drinking a certain amount of water daily etc. You are not allowed to have sugar or high fructose corn syrup unless it's your meal or day off(you get a meal and a day off each week). You must also lose 1% of your body weight each week or you don't get your bonus points for the week. The best part is you have a team and you play against other teams and we did it for 4 weeks. We were SUPER competitive to say the least. No one wanted to let their teammates down and no one wanted to have the other team beat them. The final prize was money and the losing teams had to throw the winning teams a party. My team ended up winning BARELY but we won YIPPEEE! 2 of us, myself included, continued playing the game with 2 new teams for another 4 weeks(I am on week 4 of it right now and honestly can't wait to take a break cause it's not easy!).
This is the first week in the game that I didn't make my weight. I had a feeling that was going to happen but I hate to let others down, especially my own teammates(at the end of the 4 weeks the team with highest score wins and like I said we are competitive!). I sat here this morning trying not to beat myself up about it. I was trying not to be negative about it and trying to ignore the negative self talk that some say I do too much of, and they are probably right. Then I got an email from someone I am doing "Game On" with, she's on an opposing team. The person who wrote this book is a writer on Grey's Anatomy, Krista Vernoff. She has a blog and Dawn, who sent me the email, had gone on the Game On website and read this blog entry. She sent it out to all of us today. I needed to read this today, it's a great reminder about how lucky I am to have all I have, mainly my health. Without my health I couldnt' do all the things I love to do! Here's the blog entry written by Krista Vernoff entitled "Dance". I hope everyone does a little dancing today :)
This morning, I put Ingrid Michaelson in my iPod and spent a full minute -- maybe even 2 -- dancing naked in the mirror.
I know. You think it is a) bizarre that I would do this and b) even more bizarre that I would admit it to a bunch of strangers on the Internet. But I did it, and I'm okay admitting it and I'll tell you why: yesterday I learned that my old friend Karen (also known as Kalena) has stopped her cancer treatments and gone on to hospice care.
Karen is 42.
Her daughter, Zaiden, is 5.
I blogged about Karen 2 and a half years ago when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and given 6 months to live. I asked you all to send your money and your prayers and many of you did (thank you.) Karen has shown an extraordinary fighting spirit. More that that, she has shown an extraordinary willingness to try, every day, to have an accepting spirit, a rising-above spirit, a healing spirit. This has not been easy. Karen went to the doctor when she first felt the lump. When she was probably still Stage 1. She was dismissed; misdiagnosed. Then she went to a specialist and she was misdiagnosed again. By the time she was properly diagnosed, her cancer was so advanced that for the last two and half years she's been struggling to walk, struggling to breathe, struggling to lift her beautiful daughter. And still, she's fought, she's prayed, she's written, she's played, she's danced.
Normally, when I look in the mirror, my eyes go like a laser beam to the stretch marks, to the cellulite, to the 38 year old, less-than-perky breasts, to the new lines that deepen daily across my forehead; to the "flaws." But this morning, when I walked past the mirror, the light was coming in in such a way that all I saw was beauty. I paused. I put on music. "Keep Breathing." I danced.
The stretchmarks mark the 9 months I got to carry Coco in my belly, the 9 months I was lucky enough to get to grow this beautiful creature from scratch. The celullite reflects delicious meals I shared with friends and long hours spent sitting and writing at a job I love. The sagging breasts reflect the years of blissful, bond-full breastfeeding. The new lines reflect days spent laughing and crying and living (and a very healthy fear of Botox.)
I still have weight I want to lose and crap I have to do and grief I have to feel and there are moments when I feel defeated by all it. Absurd. Defeated by an extra ten pounds? By a fight with a friend? By a difficult divorce? Defeated? While my breasts are lump-free and my child is here with me, laughing and growing? Absurd.
Today, for this moment, I have perspective. Just one of many gifts that knowing Karen has given me.
I hope you will stop today and kiss your kids and give thanks for your health and theirs. I hope you will put on some music and look in the mirror and see the beauty. I hope that for just one minute, you'll dance. "