The reason The Journey is here is because of you. We know that people are working hard, making changes and pushing themselves to reach goals that they have for themselves.
I am inspired by reading the stories of others, learning how they got through struggles or those hard days and also knowing more about who they are as a person. I asked my friend, Kristine, to write up her story and answer a few questions to share on The Journey. As she put it the other day, “I should be studying but I’m reading everything I can about fitness.” (that was pretty close to what you said, right Kristine? 🙂 She seemed like a perfect person to help inspire others this week!
I hope you enjoy her story!
Age: 43 (turning 44 in April this year)
What you enjoy doing…in and outside of workouts: Reading, photography, bicycling, volleyball, kettle bells, and yoga poses.
Family info: My husband, Todd and I, have a wonderful blended family which consists of seven kids–One college grad (Brittany), two college students (Nathan and Kaitlyn), one high school junior (Amanda) and two middle school students (Lauryn and Emily), plus one kindergartener (Rachel).
Your Favorite Food: Pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Did I mention…I like pizza? I can’t ever seem to get enough.
Something you are thinking about trying: Two I have in mind to complete in the next five years is to zip-line and ride in a hot-air balloon. In the next month or so, I’m going to attend a boxing class and for food, I’d really like to develop a taste for other foods, (mainly chicken for starters). I could easily be a vegetarian since I don’t care for meats other than beef.
What is a goal that you had for yourself that you accomplished that made you proud: Earning my degree in Health Information Technology in December 2012 after 2 ½ years. When I got married while in college, I decided that having a family was more important to me and decided I would get a degree when my youngest child was in school.
What specific goals do you have for yourself now that you are working on: My biggest goal right now is to change my eating habit. After decades upon decades of eating processed and fast-food as a normal and daily part of my life, I have decided that I need to change because it isn’t healthy.
Why are you working on getting healthier? I didn’t want to “grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which my body is capable.”
What is your biggest struggle? Not knowing if I’m pushing myself hard enough, settling for “good enough” when maybe I could do more.
What would you tell someone that is a beginner in their journey to get healthier? Just start moving….get in the habit of walking and make it a daily routine and let nothing get in the way of it. How often do you let something get in the way of your sleep? Treat your routine that way.
I used to be very active when I was young. I grew up on a dairy farm and worked hard. Gardening, picking rocks out of fields, cleaning pens, baling hay, shoveling, wheel barrowing grain, milking, you name it, and I did it. It was very physical labor. I hated every minute of it, too. I also had a huge family, two older brothers, then me, two younger brothers and four younger sisters. Because I was closer in age to my brothers than my baby sisters, I was always tried to keep up with them, whether that was at work or at play. I was very competitive with them and any sports they were in, I was right there playing along with them. I never gave much thought to my level of activity or the food I ate. After all, my family genetics seemed to be in favor of keeping me skinny.
Fast forward to college—although I continued eating just as I had on the farm not giving much thought what I ate, I wasn’t getting quite the same workout. It didn’t seem to affect me to a point of worry, so I continued the same eating patterns I grew up with. An added bonus to being away from the farm, was now I was in a “big” city, and not only was McDonald’s once considered an occasional “treat” growing up, it now became a regular indulgence because of the convenience and cost (I became an employee where benefits included ½ off meals). Still, my metabolism kept up. So I didn’t make any changes.
I got married and I became a housewife. Since I no longer had a freezer full of meat, like all kinds of steak and chicken (like we always did on the farm), I had to start budgeting when I went grocery shopping. That meant a lot of hamburger instead of steaks, so I found the best way to make meals using it….Hamburger Helper! I mean with choices such as Salisbury, Lasagna, and Stroganoff, I literally had a complete “meal” in a box. It couldn’t get any easier. So I would stock up.
That phase didn’t last too long, but long enough that by the 1001st time I told my family it was “Hamburger Helper tonight” when asked what’s for dinner, I could tell by the look in their eyes, those days needed to be over.
So begin a long journey of trying to get creative in the kitchen. I purchased and used lots of cookbooks over those years to find the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to serve a growing family. I never gave thought to what I was buying. If the recipe called for it, I bought it. If we were too busy for dinner at home, fast food became the solution. Not just some of the time, but most of the time. Sometimes it got to the point that if I didn’t go groceries shopping (something I don’t like to do even to this day); we’d go to a fast food place to eat out or bring it home to eat.
Still, all that eating didn’t seem to affect me too much to be bothered to do anything about it. I mean with my first and second pregnancies, I lost all my weight and then some. (I told you I was blessed with good genetics). My activities level included walks to the park with kids or bicycling.
By the time I had my third child, I didn’t lose all the weight, but it didn’t concern me too much. I would try Slimfast shakes during times I was bothered by my weight or buy an exercise DVD occasionally to work out to in efforts to offset the increasingly soft thighs and butt I was beginning to develop.
My fourth child came along with a few more pounds that didn’t want to come off, but that just led me to join a women’s workout center. But I didn’t stick with it consistently enough to see improvement and was actually happy when they went out of business. That just meant my checking account was issued a reversal for the monthly fee taken out of it, since I wasn’t using it anyway.
I justified my reasoning for not changing my eating habits or exercising by telling myself that for being in my early thirties with four kids, I actually didn’t look too bad, except for swimsuit season, but since I’m not a swimmer, I didn’t care about it too much. So I continued to eat the foods I liked, whether they were healthy choices or not.
And then it happened, after my fifth pregnancy, I finally had enough. After seeing pictures of myself that didn’t look like the mental image I had in my head of myself, I decided to do something about it. Or so I thought. My friend Jessica, started working out at a local gym. She encouraged me to join her. I am not a morning person, but if there is one thing I needed, it was some motivation by someone willing to be there at the gym, then a morning person I would become. I always headed for the treadmill or exercise bike. I dabbled at some of the machines in the “women’s” area of the gym, but never felt comfortable because I felt everyone knew I didn’t know what I was doing. The truth was I didn’t know what I was doing. So I would get up at 4:30 a.m. and head to the gym by 5 a.m. to work out for an hour on the treadmill or bike. I did this for about three months, three times a week. But because I wasn’t seeing a decrease in the numbers on the scale, I stopped going.
But my journey didn’t end there. I still tried to find the “right” thing to keep me interested enough to stick with it long enough to see results.
So I tried Zumba….the movements were too fast and I’m uncoordinated. I tried some weight-lifting class, but felt too self-conscious when the instructor kept telling me how to correct my form. I was afraid to try boot-camp because it sounded really hard and it scared me.
Then I saw an ad for Moms on the Run. It was a running program designed for moms (or any women) that introduces a person to running slowly by using walking/running intervals so that by the end of 18 weeks a person would be able to completely run a 5k race. My first and only thought was, finally something I can do. No special skills or coordination to run. I knew this was the “right” thing for me.
Going into this, I didn’t think I would compete in a race. My only goal was to go every week. I had the choice of signing up for two days a week, but being that I hardly push myself to do more than necessary, I signed up for one day a week. After two weeks, I started wondering if running was the “right” thing for me, but I made a decision that I was going to push my way through not matter what.
At first, I realized running one day a week wasn’t conditioning me enough to keep up with the runners each week, so I decided to add an extra run day on my own time. (PROUD MOMENT ALERT— I ACTUALLY PUSHED MYSELF). For me that was drastic, I actually was pushing myself to do more than the “requirement”. When two days didn’t seem enough, I added a third day, because I started to feel good about running. I didn’t say I liked it, but I felt great after I was finished.
So all spring and summer, I ran. (Almost like Forrest Gump). So by the end of August, I was ready to compete in my first 5k and I did, even though running a race was the farthest thing from my mind when I signed up for this running group.
When summer ended, our running coach/trainer decided to continue in the fall and winter with a running and exercise program in which I gladly signed up.
Right now the group concentrates more on strength than running. Our workout consists of exercises using body and hand weights. I thoroughly enjoy having a knowledgeable person to guide and answer questions about correct form and technique. It is actually something I do look forward to twice a week, but especially because I love the feeling after I am done working out.
Ironically, I haven’t lost weight since I started this program in spring of 2012, but I know my body is changing. I feel it in the way my clothes fit.
Up until this last month, I came to realize that it isn’t just about exercising, but it’s also about eating right. Something I never wanted to believe. I wanted to continue to eat the way I wanted to, exercise when I felt like it and have a body that I was okay with.
But it doesn’t work that way.
After years of not eating healthy and exercising regularly, I’m starting to get there. But the results I’m looking for won’t be seen as much as in knowing that I’m doing what is good for my body by exercising and eating healthy.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristine!
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