It's 2013 and I'm holding a crying friend in my arms. Her husband had just passed away at the tender age of just 34 which was how old I was too. His wife just a bit younger and in a world of hurt with 2 small kids. There were many night walks and tear stained shoulders. Colon cancer was torture for the whole family. After the funeral there was some relief but also bleak stillness, like the after math of a hurricane. The stillness would be daily interrupted by heavy rains of deep despair.
This is where the journey started.
We both knew this was going to be a time of change, how could it not, it already was. The world just got turned upside down. We were all ready for something normal. You long for a normal routine after a fight that long. It was only Jan 3rd, a time for goals and a future to face with whatever strength we had.
We were both so tired of being tired!!! The years & months of dealing with the rigors of cancer, cancelled insurances and 2 kids to mother had taken its toll on my friend. There there was me, having had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball removed and the rigors of 5 kids ages 14 to 3 yep, I was spent as well. And so we made a pact to start daily exercise. After all, a wise person had once said to me, "you have to expend energy to gain energy."
We started small, we'd already been walking late at night when we could before her husband had passed but now we'd added the Xbox game, Dance Central 3. I refused to dance to anything suggestive or dirty (hello we are mothers!) so we went online and grabbed a few songs to download that I could handle. Our daily ritual was dance 20 songs and then as weeks went on we'd add leg lifts and push ups. We counseled together and got our calories in check with fun phone aps called Noom and My Fitness Pal.
One day I found myself looking in the mirror at a person 45 lbs lighter and so did my friend! What a feeling!! ...BUT then as time would go on, it found my friend dating again. I was so happy for her. I practically pushed her out the door on that first singles event. As she went out more we spent less time together and I slowly started losing ground. After a few months, I found 15 lbs back. Ugh! I was so discouraged and knew I needed to start being so dependent on her and more in charge of myself. I finally did the unthinkable! I joined a fitness class and I have been striving for fitness ever since.
As a member of my faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) I believe in a in living a balanced life. As Joseph Smith Jr. put it best, "moderation in all things."
Then all at once, out on a date with my sweet hubby it hit me, "what is normal for fitness?" "What if people have set the bar so low that even normal is now viewed as near extreme? My brother in law was told by his commanding officer during the police academy that he had 23 hours in a day to do whatever he wanted and that 1 missing hour, it belonged to a work out.
A sedentary lifestyle to me now is kind of extreme. The health risks out weigh the benefits greatly. Call me what you will but I have become converted to the need to keep on trying to eat better and exercise. Try and get up and get out there. Find your self control and work in small increments towards a goal. Write that small goal down with a due date. Believe in yourself and toss the nay saying. Great goals are achieved by great efforts. You may actually have to work at it, another idea the world has been losing sight of.
My dear friend eventually remarried in part because we took our health and made it a priority which gave us more energy to go do the things we wanted to do. I later went on to suffer from a double aneurysm, loosing my spleen and part of my pancreas and I know I recovered as well as I did because I was more fit. I was told by my surgeon that my pancreas looked really healthy.
I'm actually still over weight but with one day at a time choices I become healthier every day.
We have one body and one life here, let's go live it! Let's run with our kids at the park! Let's get more things accomplished by writing down those goals! Let's feel better already!! Carpe Diem!!
Ps. My friend is doing great and is expecting baby #5 any day now.