I was a healthy, active and happy child growing up with two amazing parents and a wonderful sister. As a child, growing into my teens, I never had a weight issue. As I entered into adulthood and the workforce in an office environment, I became less physically active, sitting more throughout my day/evening, eating a little more and not making the best nutritional choices. I was not aware of the impact this regime was having on my life, nor did I really seem to care at the time. I was focused on work and play. I suffered a lot of back aches, gained weight and was physically out of shape. That all changed when I was in my early twenties, when I experienced what I call my "AH HA MOMENT".
I accepted an invitation from friends to go on a hike to a local beach. The hike was straight down about 20 minutes.....which only meant, I had to hike straight back up...yikes! I had a wonderful time at the beach with my friends that day. That wonderful feeling soon came to a halt though. As we ascended back up the hill, I don't think I made it 5-10 minutes into the hike and I was already totally out-of-breath, physically uncomfortable and so incredibly embarrassed that I couldn't keep up with my fit friends. I remember stopping and crying. It was awful. My wonderful friends helped me up the hill that day. THAT experience was my life-changing moment. The moment I realized how unfit and unhealthy I truly was. I went home and looked at myself in the mirror, and for the first time I saw who I really was. See, I had turned a blind eye to the damage I was causing. I was not taking personal responsibility for my own health. It was impacting me and my personal and professional life. I was forever getting sick with a cold/flu and my back aches kept me from participating in activities....or so I had convinced myself. My health, my self-image and quality of life were my compelling reasons to change. I set a personal goal for myself, that I would make the effort to improve my overall health and that I would go back to that beach a year later and hike it. I consulted my doctor, I joined Jazzercise, started walking and bike riding more and made better nutritional choices. Was it easy...absolutely not! And yes, there were some bumps along the way, but I forged forward, learning from each experience.
A year later, I hiked down to that same beach with a healthy picnic and enjoyed some time there reflecting before attempting the ascend back up. I remember being scared (can I do this?) and yet excited at the same time. I started on my hike back up the long hill and something amazing happened...I DID IT! No help from anyone. It was all me. I hiked that path all the way back up to my vehicle without stopping. From that day forward, I have never looked back. I went on to achieve certifications as a Jazzercise Instructor, a Personal Trainer, Orthopedics Exercise Specialist and a TRX Suspension and Rip Trainer Instructor to name a few. 23 years later, I am in better shape now than I was in my twenties. I am proud of myself for my accomplishments and for continuing to put myself on the priority list. I'm not necessarily at the top, but I am on the list.
I share this, in hopes to reach out to those who may need the motivation to get started. It's NEVER too late. It takes patience and hard work, but you can enjoy the journey along the way and celebrate your success in taking a step forward. It is a slow process...don't make it slower by giving up on yourself. Good luck on your journey!