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  • Posted December 5, 2012 by
    United States
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge

    fitness for the rest of my life

    OK this is my fifteen minute submission…my story with fitness begins as a teenager dreaming of being a ballerina. That dream drove me to dance 6 days a week through high school. After high school I gave up an academic scholarship to dance professionally with several ballet companies in the mid west, I married my dancing partner and landed in NYC at The Juilliard School.
    The intense schedule of dance classes and rehearsals meant that I struggled with injuries every year. Pulled ligaments, tendonitis, hyper extended joints, pulled muscles, strained back were just some, and ibuprofen was my only way to make it through classes. Because my injuries kept reoccurring, they became chronic. Living cheaply in NYC did not leave money for the physical therapy that my body needed to recover properly, so my professional dancing career did not continue after graduation. Consequently, I ended up working behind the curtain on many different jobs on productions all over NYC and then the US.
    Since this story relates to fitness…Primarily I began gaining weight after my first child and then my many miscarriages. When my marriage of twenty-three years ended, I was devastated , especially after we had worked together, as well. My codependency had blinded me to my husband’s addictions, and it very nearly killed me. After the divorce, I devoted my energy to raising my kids and enabling them to have life skills so that addiction and its destruction would not get duplicated on their generation, as much as possible. I would not wish divorce on my worst enemies, especially when it involves children. (I have wonderful children: healthy, strong, stable, and positive about life in spite of their struggles. In fact they are both state qualified swimmers.)

    I am still rebuilding my life. I just graduated with my Masters in Education from Vanderbilt, and when I went back to school, walking across campus to class left me winded and tired. Part of that is the weight problem, which I continue to battle. Three years ago I was diagnosed with fatty liver, not from alcohol, but the doctor said it was because I was so thin earlier as a dancer.
    I have lost and gained back twenty or so pounds since that diagnosis three years ago, but that is only a fraction of what I need to lose. And that brings back some of the unhealthy thinking about food that I had staying thin for dancing. Also, it has been a challenge not being able to exercise, because my old injuries start hurting because I start too quickly. For example, last year when I took my kids to Disneyworld, I could hardly walk after two and a half days, even with maximum NSAID dosage.

    Nevertheless, to my mind I do have some good excuses for not being in shape: The schedule of a single parent is not conducive to working out. The stress of my life makes me too tired. I keep getting tendonitis in my hip like when I was dancing every time I start to try and get in shape. Even though I do not eat junk food, I can’t seem to keep the weight off, so why try. It will just keep coming back. The metabolism stuff with the liver, thyroid, gall bladder, and menopause is the problem, so I cannot battle my aging body. I am so disgusted with the way I look I cannot look in the mirror, much less get into workout clothes or a swimsuit. I cannot keep up with daily life and all the things I need to do, much less add anything else.

    Truthfully, this is what goes through my mind, but I realize that this type of thinking will not allow me to change. I do have dreams for the rest of my life. I have been fortunate to achieve some of them, but not yet being fifty, I still have much to offer. There have been times over the last ten years that I really battled with where my life was going, but I have overcome some of my own inner battles and am ready to take on this one of my fitness. I know to go on and get a PhD or figure out another way to validate the arts in education I will have to be able to compete with people half my age. I have to have energy and learn how to live in a healthy and realistic way for the rest of my life.
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