Like many of you, I have spent years - thirty-three to be exact - building my family and career. I've supported my husband mentally and emotionally; carried children on my hips until they could walk and then nurtured them through childhood to adulthood; spent many hours, often working overtime, at jobs that sometimes I've loved and sometimes hated, but I had to add to the family bank account and pay the bills.
In all those years of caretaking others, I stopped taking care of myself. Not that I completely let myself go, but most of the time, I didn't eat healthy foods - I bought what was cheap or fast. Although I cooked for my family (I love to cook when I have time!), what I made was heavy on "meat and potatos" and light on vegetables and fruit. And there were the inevitable fast food and pizza take out meals on those days when there are more activities than time to get them all done.
My exercise consisted of pushing strollers or chasing toddlers or lifting baby carriers or bags of groceries, or rushing from one meeting to another, with an occasional walk in the park around the playground.
I so admire those women who have managed to maintain an exercise regimen throughout their lives! But, that wasn't me.
So, thirty-three years later, I looked into midlife having gained 100 pounds and developed high blood pressure.
But I refuse to be defeated. Every day that I wake up is a new chance to improve my health and fitness from this point on. A year ago, I didn't think I could ever run again. Walking down the block was a struggle. But this month, I signed up for a 5K fun run/walk. I will probably walk most of it, but having added in running intervals of 1-2 minutes at a go into my daily walk, I know now that I CAN run, at least for short distances. Maybe by next year, I'll be able to run the whole 5K, but even if I can't, I will have made progress.
And that's the point, right? We don't have to reach perfection. We just have to make progress on this new journey. After years and years of taking care of other responsibilities while we let ourselves go, it's going to take time to regain our former health and fitness levels. And that's okay. As long as we take the time now, each day, to take care of ourselves, just as we have taken care of so many others. In the words of the delightful Flylady, "Baby steps will get us there." So keep taking those baby steps, each and every day.
If you would like support in your journey to health and fitness, pop over to our free private Facebook community, The Pride, and sign up!