I have yo-yo’d up and down the scale my whole life. In 20 years of marriage, I’ve had 5 children and moved 7 times, including 2 international moves to Argentina and Singapore. In 2008 I lost about 70 pounds, but never actually reached my target weight. Over the next few years, I steadily put back on more than half of that weight. I was feeling unhappy with myself and my ability to do things with my children and friends, like jump on a trampoline or go clothes shopping. In the summer of 2012, I had a now-or-never moment and decided that if I wanted to be happy, I needed to start doing things for myself and create my own happiness. I started working out at the gym with cardio and weights, and really changed my diet by eating fewer animal products and refined carbs.  Every day I would fill my Vitamix with fruits and vegetables, and throughout the day, when I wanted to munch, I would grab a glass of my fruit/veggie smoothies. The weight came off more quickly than I had imagined and this spurred me on. Five months to the day later, I had lost 45 pounds and hit my actual target weight.  I had not seen that on a scale since before my pregnancies-about 18 years ago. Even my “skinny clothes” from my near-success were actually loose on me.  I did more total-body strength training than ever before, which was really changing the shape of my body.  My doubts about reaching my goal shifted to “how will I maintain this?”. Soon after, a friend of mine invited me to attend a pole fitness class with her.  I thought it sounded fun, we would spin around a few times, laugh, and be done.  I instead found an amazing group of women of every conceivable age, shape, and background, developing their strength, grace, flexibility and confidence in the most fun and supportive environment I had ever seen. I saw the strength and skills being learned and decided: I want to do that. It combined my lifelong love of dance, gymnastics, yoga and friends into one activity! Every week, I came in, saw the demonstrations and said “Ha! I can’t do that!”. And every week I proved I could.  So I decided to change my attitude to “I can do that!” My workouts at the gym became very form and function oriented, I wanted to be stronger because I had goals to achieve in class! Along the way, I have developed a stronger, fitter body than I have ever had in my life, and made lifelong friends in the process.  I have done recitals and even a competition in which I won third place! It is truly a sport for every body. I have not only maintained my weight loss, I have actually lost a few more pounds, and now maintain my weight between my target and five pounds below it. I have added Flygym to my fitness routine as well and I love that, too!

I try to bring this happiness into all aspects of my family life-I even proudly embarrass my kids by doing cartwheels with them wherever we can. And they get to see their mom take care of herself, that my health and fitness are just as important as everyone else’s in the family. I want them to understand that it doesn’t matter what you do, find a way to move your body and keep it strong, and keep on doing it no matter your age! At 44 years of age, I have discovered a whole new passion for fitness and movement, and I want my family to learn this lesson with me: Yes, I can.

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