How a tiny piece of me once died at the gym (and how I chose to get it back)
Weight management has always been a battle for me as a young girl. As an adult, however, I actually started to like me. I eventually got married, and as so many people do in marriage, I put on a few. It wasn’t a big deal though; I joined Weight Watchers and an all-women’s club, and within weeks, I was hooked. I slowly became obsessed with diet and extreme exercise. My body was the best it had ever looked (I was also only 28 years old; SO, that kinda helped).
It wasn’t until my husband and I decided to begin our family that my issues with weight changed my life – and not for the better. While I wanted a baby badly, I was secretly fearing the loss of my new skinny self. I was so afraid, so very afraid of looking fat and pregnant.
Either way, I did get pregnant and was told by my doctor that working out was still okay. Phew. I continued on training and lifting weights – a few too many weights. 6 months into the pregnancy, while doing legs on a hip adduction machine, I felt something go horribly wrong.
The next morning, something was very wrong. I was put on “bed rest”, which was really hard because it meant that I had to stay still until my little one was ready to be born. 4 weeks later, at almost 7 months, on July 1st, 2001, I delivered a sweet, yet tiny baby boy. Against all hope, his little body, tragically, could not handle the delivery, and as a result, he passed away. The reality was, was that I had overdone it that night, and because of that, a little piece of me had died. From that day forward, I blamed myself for putting vanity over my family.
I never ever went near a gym again…
I eventually moved on. I had two healthy boys and life was pretty good. But then it wasn’t so good. Many negative life-changing events hit me hard, and I did it again. Except this time, instead of putting vanity over family, I did the complete opposite. I chose to drink (a lot), smoke (a lot), and I led a very, very sedentary lifestyle. So sedentary in fact, that I developed compression fractures on each vertebra of my spine. I was irritable, I felt old, I became a hermit, and was ridiculously lazy. I was deeply ashamed because I had hit a very unhealthy and unsightly 200lbs and was en route to becoming “extremely obese”. I had become a tired and absent single mom. My kids urged and begged me to make a change. So I did. In March of 2019, I began losing some weight, but I was still just so exhausted. In July of 2019, I had decided that my fear and loathing of all things gym and fitness needed to be reversed, so I joined Life Time in Vaughan. I started slowly: attended a class or two; hit a treadmill for 11 minutes; or did some crunches. I was still very wary of “the gym” and even tried to face my fears by visiting and staring down the dreaded hip adduction machine that had changed my life so many years ago (just a little side note: I actually gave that machine a little kick before I walked away, then cried in my car).
I decided I needed help with my journey, so I booked one of the membership’s complementary training sessions with Joey O. After chatting with him, he said that I would make a great candidate for Life Time’s Fall 2019 60day and that he wanted to be my coach. I really had no idea what I had signed up for and just how much my life was about to change.
I’ve been working with Joey for 8 weeks now and I’ve never been happier. My kids and I drop his name in conversation at least three times a week and, most importantly, I’ve developed a brand new appreciation for the fit life because of him (by the way, he makes me do hip adductor exercises). I had a blessed life in front of me that included two healthy boys who just wanted to have their fun, active, and bubbly mom back. I began wanting to make my body beautiful, and not because it had to look good in skinny jeans (okay, that too), but because it is a miraculous machine that can do great things when treated with respect. I learned that being strong makes being a mom easier (you know, carrying 452 bags of groceries, lifting 5627 lbs. of wet laundry out of the washing machine, being alert and awake enough to help a 16 year old with Biology, or to have a warm chat with my kids about their day). I have accepted that working out is important, but should not ever get to the point of dangerous. I have forgiven myself for hurting my kids. Most significantly, I realized that it is not too late, I am not too old, and that I need to move in order to stay alive.
I love my new life. I loved this challenge. And I love being a part of the Life Time family. From this day forward, I am choosing to live a healthy balanced lifestyle for my family and for me, I am choosing to get back that little piece of my life that had died all those years ago…and I’m also choosing not to be scared of the hip adduction machine anymore.