Seriously, exercise works (taking back my health)

CAM00567 (2)It stinks to admit, but exercise really is important.  I am not saying anything that most people don’t already know.  But by putting it in black and white, I might just be able to convince myself to keep it up.

I’ll tell you a secret.  I used to be an exercise fanatic.  As a child and teen, I didn’t get a lot of exercise.  But after I became a mom to three small children, the stresses of motherhood convinced me that I really needed to start paying attention to this area of life.  I purchased a couple of exercise videos (remember Tae Bo?) and had my husband teach me a few basic weight routines.  It wasn’t fun.  But it was effective.  And I was hooked.

I eventually joined a local gym owned by a friend, and began taking weight training seriously.  By combining my new routines with eating more sensibly, I lost 30 pounds.   I felt fabulous and was in the best shape of my life.

Fast forward 13 years, 3 (more) kids, and 6 moves later.  I have maintained a relatively healthy weight, but have not been nearly as happy with my physique as I was when I was working out so hard.

My diet varies.  I go through periods of wanting to cook good old Southern comfort food and bake homemade bread.  And then, after I gain weight and feel sluggish, I change up my diet.  I even did the whole paleo “thing” for a while, but decided that it just wasn’t for me.

Food, to me, is not just about fueling my body.  Rather, it is an enjoyable part of life.  My Italian great-grandmother would be proud.  So I find a balanced approach works best for me.

Now I also have a tendency toward depression.  Over the past few weeks I have been heading that direction.  I have had a hard time taking care of myself and caring about doing so.  I have been lonely, even though there are plenty of people I can call, and I have not been very loving toward my family, especially my wonderful husband.   This is common for me when I let my diet and exercise routine go.  I can feel myself slipping if my diet is too heavily loaded with simple carbs, sugars,  and processed foods.  It’s as though I am in a fog and can’t enjoy life.

And so, even though it is so stinking hard to do after a hiatus (I trained for and ran the Army 10-miler in October…and I RAN every inch of it, I am happy to say), I am jumping back on the exercise wagon.  It is tough to feel so weak after having been strong.  I hate feeling fat after having been fit.  And it is disheartening to feel so lacking in energy after accomplishing such a big goal.

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But the beautiful thing about the human body is it can change, and quite dramatically if we allow it to do so.  And the beautiful thing about the human mind is that it can change as well…in an instant.  We can decide, this instant, to do things differently.  The results take time.  But making the decision does not.

This is why I am making the decision right now to go back to the way I was when I felt so strong and so powerful.  I will have up days and down days.  But I know what to do.  And I am making the decision to take back my life, my health, and my joy. Three, two, one…GO!

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