“I love my body, I love my life and I love my family enough to say to myself that I will find health and happiness in my own pace, in my own way… but I will love myself enough to find it”.
As the health and Fitness Editor of Its opinionated, I am privileged to meet and connect with people from various walks of life and I find that there is one thing sitting at the core of ever man, woman and child. We all have a journey to wellness. We all often ignore that journey that awaits us and suddenly life has a peculiar way of redirecting us toward the truth about ourselves.
When the Military doctor on the Selfridge Air National Guard Base suggested to my Navy dad that I was in no way physically able to endure the cold weather of Mt. Clemens Michigan, my parents took his advice and the put in orders to move to the good old south. The Cold conditions of the North left me bed ridden month after month with several respiratory infections that constantly weakened my immune system. My mother, a school teacher, had become extremely skilled and knowledgeable in the scientific names of each antibiotic. To make matters more complicated, according to our Navy Doctor, my Sickle Cell trait responded as if I had the actual Sickle Cell Anemia disease. The sickle shape of my red blood cells would often fail to deliver oxygen rich blood to my entire body leaving me in an indescribable achiness that frustrated me more than anything.
By the time I reached my freshman year of high school, I’d already become the girl with the achy muscles and joints and the one who caught every virus floating through the school hallways.
This was my life but it never stopped me from climbing to the top of whatever ladder I chose. I was 27 when my career as a hip hop dance instructor landed me an accidental job in dance aerobics. Within the first 30 minutes I realized that I was in no way capable enough to last the full hour. I learned quickly that dancer did not equal healthy. Still, I loved the positive energy from the class participators and I wanted to learn more to give them what they deserved so I studied to earn my certifications in personal training and group fitness. Within no time, I found myself at the top of my career as a personal training manager for three gym facilities and eventually a medical facility training specialist.
There was only one thing: I was still very unhealthy. I ate what I wanted after each class or gym session because it rarely showed around my waistline. My joints and muscles were so distraught from improper care that I nearly crawled into bed after an intense class and eventually after leaving the business to write and pursue my music career the weight finally came. Foods were no longer fun to enjoy because my Stomach went through every change from constipation to indigestion to acid reflux and this left me at my absolute unhealthiest. It was then easy to emotionally follow suit.
With achy joints, stiff muscles, a weak immune system, and belly problems galore I, the personal training specialist needed personal training myself! I didn’t need the gym guy in his perfect physique to walk me through machines that I knew most everything about. I needed a compassionate person to guide me to my own wellness. I needed someone to understand all of the little quirks and qualms about my body and it’s past. Who better than me? I realized that Self love, self value and determination had to come from within.
With the knowledge I had, I decided to make a choice. Live or die. Love myself completely or quit pretending. The darkness removed from my word when I decided, this is not about how I look in a swim suit or how quick I bounce back after giving birth. This is my journey to peace and health within. I tried something strange. Something different. Something Novel, and new. I decided to drop the processed foods. Okay so, not such a new thing. In fact it’s on the front of every tabloid and best selling health book cover, but do we do it? Rarely. Therefore, this was new to my body.
Let me assure you it was a process easier to write than actually do. The best way to describe it would be like taking drugs from a person with a 30 year addiction. My mind and body had grown so accustomed to the chemicals and additives put into each chip, cracker, cookie, frozen meal, and fried food; I assumed I would simply die before I‘d find the yellow brick road of good health.
Would you believe I didn’t die? In fact I gained a great deal of knowledge about each and every fruit, root and vegetable and what its benefits are. These foods gave me life especially when I learned how to use them. I have reduced muscular inflammation, cleared skin, decreased stomach irritations, and reconstructed my immune system. I never wanted to be one of those health nuts or thin rail fitness fanatics and perhaps my genetics will never quite allow for me to be thin. I enjoy my curves! I can say however, that I’m proud to be one of those women who took the time to say enough is enough. I love my body, I love my life and I love my family enough to say to myself that I will find health and happiness in my own pace, in my own way, but I will love myself enough to find it.
We all have our opinions about what works for us and rightfully we should. As a former trainer, the thing I learned the most is that we all are dramatically different and need to be approached as such when going for fitness or health results, but we are all in need of that sweet moment when we decide on our own that we are worth it all. I am worth the journey and my dear readers, so are you.
Here’s to loving you,
Health and Fitness Editor