Last month, you may have read a blog post from my friend Melissa, who introduced our story as two busy work-at-home-moms on our path towards fitness with the help of Advocate Condell Centre Club. Today, I’m going to share a little more about my own backstory…
In 2007, I walked over 500 miles from Boston to Washington D.C. as part of the ABC reality series Fat March. I improved my health and received cash, prizes and a green light from my OB-GYN to start making babies!
After the show, I continued to lose weight and compete in races. But training with small children is a completely different challenge. I stopped competing and started eating more and more of what was easy and convenient. Slowly the weight crept back up and with it came a host of physical problems, including a bout with arthritis that left me on crutches.
You hear stories of people who go on TV to lose weight, only to gain it all back and then some. I saw them too, and judged those people harshly for throwing away such a gift. Yet, here I was… one of those people.
At some point, I hit a wall. Overworked, overstressed and overeating had taken its toll. My life had to change. This wasn’t my first rodeo; I knew quick-fixes or even a reality show were not what I needed. My life had to change, permanently. And I needed – and I still need – HELP.
So that’s where the importance of finding support comes in. I have a literal team backing me up to achieve my health goals. My family doctor is helping monitor my progress and may just be my biggest fan. I’m seeing a talented therapist who is helping me get to the root of my self-sabotage as I learn to love and care for myself again. And then, of course, there’s the Centre Club with its amazing staff and facilities. From the customized plan they provided me when I started to the words of encouragement when they see me at the gym, I feel supported every step of the way.
When we first teamed up with Advocate Condell Medical Center, I thought to myself, “What am I getting myself into?” How could I possibly incorporate time for workouts into my schedule? The truth is, I can’t afford not to. With my packed calendar, the most vital appointment I had failed to schedule was time for myself.
Believe it or not, over the last month and a half, I have come to cherish my time at the gym. There’s something hypnotic about the swoosh, swoosh of the elliptical machine. It’s exhilarating to feel my blood pumping and my lungs filling with air on the treadmill. Even my nemesis, the rowing machine, gives me the necessary mental break from my work, my children and my responsibilities. Gym time is ME time, where no one makes demands of me, no dishes need to be washed, and the writing deadlines just have to wait.
It’s been all too easy to let taking care of myself fall to the bottom of my list of priorities. When you have children, it’s natural and expected that they move to the top of your list. But there’s a reason that the flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. How can I possibly give my all to my family and my job when my own tank is running on fumes?