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From hectic to authentic

This December marks four years since I first shared my story of divorce, weight loss and personal transformation. A piece which seemed simple enough at the time, as I shared the personal side of struggle, triumph and self-discovery, which ultimately morphed into this space now known as “Fitness and Beyond.”

In truth, at the time, the idea of a recurring column sharing knowledge and experience with our readers was exciting, to say the least. Not one to take certain things lightly, I also recognized the expectation (and/or pressure) to now hold myself accountable to the new lifestyle which brought so much freedom and joy. New doors, adventures and experiences had been opened and sharing that just seemed natural.

Throughout the journey of life since that issue, I’ve also discovered I have a tendency to live out loud without fear or apology. Perhaps some of this is due to age – older and wiser is indeed a true fact. It may also be attributed to my release of feeling a need to be perfect, flawless and fearful of judgement. Not to be confused, I don’t get this right every day. The struggle is indeed real by way of fearing “what others may think,” yet with each hurdle I cross the load becomes a bit lighter.

Adding the practice of yoga to my journey put me in touch with the practice of being authentic, often times transparent. Recognizing that we are all on a journey with a yet to be determined path. Most know what we hope for, have set goals and aspirations, but life doesn’t always go the way in which we’ve planned.

Recently I came to realize even the best laid out plan, can still find a way of throwing us a curve ball. And that my dear friends, is where all these words are leading.

In 2014, as I shared my journey of transformation I noted the importance of running and yoga for keeping me fit and sane. Without looking back, I’d even bet I used words like “placing yourself at the top of the list” and things to that effect. In the spirit of being authentic and keeping it truly “real” I have to share, I slipped down the list.

I greeted 2018 with a schedule like never before as I juggled working full-time, teaching yoga three days a week, managing the lives of a 10- and 13-year-old, oh and building a relationship. In short, “me time” took a big back seat. It took seven months for me to realize in one aspect I was simply miserable.

Yep, you read that right, I’d tasted the apple of life balance and self-care and as I slipped back to old habits a few things changed. The obvious would be my clothes fitting tighter, my legs are less toned and my tummy a bit more visible. My energy level has also slipped significantly and in short areas of my life feel a chaotic mess.

Crazy right? How can eating healthy, exercise and self-care affect so many other areas of our life? In truth, I have no idea. But it does.

More importantly, how can I share this nirvana of sorts with readers, if I myself am not currently living it? I can’t. That’s where authenticity plays in.

Not to be confused, this is not about skinny, looking like anyone else or being better than another. This is about self-care, growing older not just gracefully, but healthfully. Like most, my genetics hold the not so good fortune of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. To date, I have been fortunate enough to keep them all at bay, but that takes work.

So four years later what I offer to our readers is that commitment never ends. It’s called lifestyle change for good reason. Slipping off the track may occur. If you’re lucky, you’ll rebound quickly – or not. For me it took six months and a few uncomfortable pounds to recognize and accept. Mostly to ask myself – what now?

The what now for me is simple … Return back to the basics. Re-evaluate my schedule and place some new goals on the list. In the next eight months I’ve scheduled four races – three half marathons and a full marathon, which will mark my fifth time at 26.2 miles. That’s what works for me and I have little doubt it will again.

My commitment to this space remains. When we began this I thought I had it all figured out and to some degree I do. Yet just like everyone else, I’m human and a perfectly imperfect one at that.

It’s exciting to know you can take your life back and rock at it. It’s exciting to know that living true to yourself may not just inspire people, but help you see your life for what it truly is.

So as the fall season looms ahead, with the holidays not far behind, I invite you to join me on this quest or re-quest if it were. Commit or re-commit to what serves you best. I promise you, in so doing it will bring the greatest gift to both you and your family in the holiday season. Let’s do this.