Learning to take care of ourselves…

It took the loss of my brother, Peter, six years ago at the young age of 50, to begin to trigger a wake-up call in my life. Then just over a year ago, I had my own scare as some of you may recall, and fortunately, the end result was all good news. But I would be lying if I did not say that those moments forces one to step back and say, “Wait a minute!”

And one of the things I had to look at was the attention, or lack thereof, that I was “giving to Mary”. Having worked full time since I was 21, raising three kids, and having managerial, high pressure positions over the past 20 years leaves everyone else at the top of the priority list, and you (or in my case – me) at the bottom.

My dear sweet father used to tell me as the pounds came on, “Honey, it’s baby-weight, you will lose it!” To which I responded, “Dad, I’m an adult, this no longer constitutes baby-weight.” That was until I had my own three babies, then I blamed it on them, like my mom did, and all the mothers before us.

Since Peter’s passing, I began by having serious conversations with myself and recognized that change was in order. Watching my diet, stepping away from all the naughty stuff, and focusing on the healthy stuff. My efforts had ebbed and flowed like so many of us; but it was on my mind. Then about this time last year, learned I had Celiac disease, which means NO gluten, not even a little bit. The doctor reported that for some people this is devastating news, but I must admit, for me it was great news. I am eating gluten free (GF) 24/7 — and enjoying it! I feel better.  The world has become very “GF friendly”. My house is GF, and that includes for friends and family. I still do dinner parties and no one complains. I am a good cook and there are so many healthy options out there. Some have chosen to reduce the gluten in their life, despite having no gluten issues, and admit to feeling better without it. My diet is simple — fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, GF granola, good yogurt and almost no processed food. Do I have moments and cravings, sure I do, but far fewer than ever before, and I have healthier solutions now to satisfy.

Yogurt and berries

Though I played all kinds of sports as a kid, in high school and even in college (the first women’s rugby team at Bonaventure — because they had great uniforms and very fun parties). Working out was not part of my routine, and despite repeated efforts, it was NEVER anything I enjoyed doing. Nor could I understand why anyone else enjoyed it. As the kids came along, I had even less time to think about it. I considered my exercise to be hauling laundry before and after work, along with cooking, and attending 4-6 soccer games each week cheering them on.

So for almost three years now, I decided I was going to invest in my own health and joined Midtown Athletic Club. This was a significant conversation with myself where I repeatedly had to convince myself that I was worth this investment. Midtown works for me, because I literally live less than a mile from the gym which makes getting there a non-negotiable. I also did the cost benefit analysis, and told myself that if I am going to make this investment, then I was going to commit to being there a minimum of 4-5 days a week. After all, I am worth it!

Paddle Tennis Night at Midtown circa 2010.

Paddle Tennis Night at Midtown circa 2010.

The other reason it works for me is because I have made it a priority in my life. On Sunday, I open my calendar and determine whether I will be doing morning or end of day workouts based on my bar meetings and events schedules. About half the time I go as part of the early riser club at 5:00 – 5:30 AM, which actually I love because I feel I have already accomplished something for the day. I have always been an early riser, so this is not difficult for me. At that hour of the day, I may run into Scott Forsyth, Liz Novak, Steve Schwarz, Ed Lopez, Judge Stander, Jeff Hough and others. The end of the day also has its benefits which means more time for a longer workout, and following a light dinner and a hot shower, I sleep like a baby — as they say. At the end of the day, I will run into Sue Tebor, Trilby deJung, and Lauren Frank. On a Saturday I will quite often see Judge Telesca working hard on the treadmill.

When I first started going I remember feeling a little uptight about running into people I know, in my gym clothes, with no make-up on…. egad! But over time, I cared less and less because I feel better and better. The other surprise that developed over time was that I actually ENJOY, yes, ENJOY going to the gym. If 3 days happen to go by without a trip there, my body lets me know, and I get there.

I must admit — these last couple of years of my routine have had its highs and lows, and in the midst of it all, some major projects underway here at the bar (i.e., the renovation of the Telesca Center lobby). This resulted in more scheduling challenges, more meetings, less time on my day job of simply running the bar, but I stayed with it, and on those days when the stress level crept up, I ended the day with a trip to the gym, and nothing helps that creep like an intense workout on an elliptical  or rowing machine. There were weeks when I only managed to get there 3 times in a week, but then the guilt on the monthly invoice would kick in and kick my butt. During the past year, I have become increasingly serious about introducing more cardio variation, and getting into the weight room and working out on some of those machines as well. I am tracking it, and have made real progress. My son, Brian, 25 and fit beyond words with a 30″ waist, keeps tabs on my progress, and is quite impressed.

So why am I sharing all this…because I care about you! I know you are all working as hard as me at your day jobs, and then still coming here to the MCBA or elsewhere in the Telesca Center, and giving even more time. You then have to manage your family and other community obligations —  I get it! It can all be very hard and stressful. But I encourage you to step back and take a look at what you are doing for YOU! If YOU don’t take care of YOU, no one else will. Our lives are stressful, and only getting more so. We have to be the ones to claim it, and control it. Life catches up with us, as do our choices, but sometimes, we are given an opportunity to turn our life around.

How can we help? We are mindful of what we feed you here at the MCBA, so next time you are here for a CLE, perhaps grab the turkey sandwich, instead of the beef, leave the chips behind, and skip the cookie. Drink water instead of soda. And before you head back to the office, walk for a few blocks just to clear your head, give yourself some quiet time as you begin your afternoon. Or on November 21, stop by “BarSTOP” and have some downtime and fun with friends and colleagues before heading home — even 10 minutes, and have a light beer!

You don’t have to join Midtown, you can join another gym, or just get out and walk, or pull the treadmill tucked away in the basement and plug it back in. But if you do want to check out Midtown, MCBA members get special deals. Simply contact Debbie Davis at 585-461-2301 x.142 for a trial membership. Maybe I will see you there.

I have come to an acceptance stage that my challenge can no longer be blamed on three beautiful babies. It is the result of choices I made over the years. But now, I am making new choices, and I am feeling the effects of this new and happier life.

Have a great day! Thanks for checking in,


One thought on “Learning to take care of ourselves…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s