The Greatest Gift Of All Regaining Your Health & Your Groove
Regaining Your Health & Your Groove
“I can’t raise him alone,” my husband said. I had just returned from the doctor. She had started me on high blood pressure medication. Overweight and stressed out, my spouse was worried. This is an emotion that is foreign to my man.
It was the first time in the 20 years of our relationship that we had talked about my health. Although I was touched by his concern, honestly, I was still somewhat in denial. The reality is that “taking control” is nothing new to parents of children with special needs. We put everything ahead of our own personal needs. Through this process we often lose control over our own health. At least that was the case for me.
Before our son, Wyatt, turned 3, I knew I had to return to work. There were two reasons: First, I needed to stop beating myself up that I couldn’t “fix” my child. Secondly, I had to find a way to finance the intensive therapy not covered by insurance. It was a choice I made without a second thought. With the support of my husband and friends, I enrolled Wyatt in a Pre-K ESE program, and I landed a new career in non-profit management. The hard part, for Wyatt and me, was adjusting to our new environments. In a word, it was, “hell.” We were both scared, insecure and sleep deprived.
Armed with a spirit of tenacity – we both eventually persevered. Wyatt went on to thrive and become independent. Unfortunately, one of my greatest gains was nearly 30 pounds in less than four years. In a defining moment, I took Wyatt to his first soccer practice. As I stood on the field, I turned to my right, and then my left. On one side there were fit and toned mommies, the other group, were very overweight parents. There I was in the middle. I doubted I could ever join the “yummy mummies,” but I also knew I did not want to resemble the “plus size” crowd the rest of my life. I realized that as much as I had controlled Wyatt’s life – I had lost control of my own. I knew at that moment I wanted two things: my health and my groove. It was less about vanity and more about getting off of blood pressure meds. I needed to make the change for me and for my family.
That was nearly three years ago and four dress sizes later. I achieved my goal and gained a balance in my life. I acquired a new group of friends and titles. Besides being Wyatt’s mom and advocate – I am a runner, triathlete, and an Ironman. The greatest gift, besides my son, is the return of my groove. I have achieved boundless energy and personal growth.
Here is what I have learned: I hope these tips give you and your family, the greatest gift – health and hip-ness!
Make it a family plan:
The key is sustainability. I have found that when I get my family involved it keeps me moving in a positive direction from the way we eat to how we spend our time.
Set a goal – have a plan:
I think the key is to define the path that is going to lead to your success. Define your steps; determine how you will overcome setbacks and how you will reward yourself.
Sign up for an event:
Pick a 5K or a bike tour that will challenge you to keep training. I find this has been essential to maintaining my fitness. It’s even better when you can dedicate it to a cause or in memory of someone special. It becomes less about you and more about becoming a champion for a greater good.
Tell everyone = rally a cheering squad:
When I sign up for an event I tell everyone. I end up finding support in unexpected places. These folks encourage me on Facebook, in emails, and in face-to-face conversations. There is no backing out once you broadcast it!
Name Your Cause or Workout Team:
My friends and I have gotten hooked on doing triathlons. In the spirit of fun, we gave our group a name; we are the “TRI Divas!” The funny thing is that the name has become recognized in the community and no one ever challenges our credibility!
Celebrate your successes!
The gift of health will reap emotional, physical, and financial gains for you that directly benefit your family. Feeling fit means you are a more effective advocate for your child – a priceless gift!
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2012 Magazine