For the last twenty-one years, I have spent the majority of my waking hours caring for my husband and/or three sons. There have been days, where if my husband hadn’t called me Karen, I would go to bed thinking my first name was MOM! Oh, don’t get me wrong; I love my family, dearly. It’s just with all the care giving, I had started to neglect me and felt it was time to do something for myself.
My hormones were so out of balance, I would just burst into tears about the simplest things. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the secret to keeping my hormones in perfect harmony.
I wanted to become more active, but where was I going to find the time to exercise and raise three boys? I spent most days driving the boys to and from school, then on to hockey or soccer, depending on the season. The only “free time” I had was when I sat in the car waiting for the boys to get finished. I can tell you right now, it’s hard to do leg lifts behind the wheel of an SUV.
By the time I got home, it was time to fix dinner, help the boys with their homework and still leave enough time for everyone to get a bath that night. Thinking about getting in shape was as close to any exercise as I was doing. This same scenario happened night after night until I got fed up.
I told myself that if I wanted to transform the way that I looked and felt, then it was up to me to make those changes happen. Since my doctor had always recommended at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, I figured I would put this theory to the test and see if I got any results. I began by writing my plan down in a little journal, and promised myself I wouldn’t cheat.
I had a full schedule every day. The problem was finding 30 minutes to devote to exercise. The solution was not to find it. If I was serious about exercising regularly, then the only way to do it was to create 30 minutes in every day that I could call my own.
So, I started out by exercising or doing some sort of physical activity every day for 30 minutes. This turned out to be a challenge because I didn’t really have a set program. Some days I would exercise in the living room, other days I would go bike riding with the boys, and some days I would just take a solitary walk for 30 minutes after dinner. The latter worked well, because usually somebody would clean the kitchen while I was gone. Every day I would jot down the foods that I ate and the activities that I participated in.
Now, I know I am making it sound easy. But it was far from easy. It was hard not to give in to the many responsibilities of my home. I’m very involved with my children and I enjoy being a wife and mom. Sometimes it seemed that there were too many conflicts in my schedule to allow myself those precious 30 minutes and believe it or not, there were days when I actually felt guilty.
But there were other problems. The weather was not always right; sometimes it was too hot, other times it was raining outdoors. Normally, I would just give up and give in. But this time it was different. This time, I was determined to succeed. And I had plenty to keep me motivated. My love for my husband and my three sons, my strong desire to be as healthy both mentally and physically kept me moving toward my goal.
The first time I walked into that big room full of men and women working out amidst the sound of all those weights clashing together, I felt quite intimidated. Then I realized that they were there to get exercise, same as me and I had every right to be there too. Of course, tagging along with my husband made it easier to get accustomed to the place. Once I got through a couple of workouts I started to relax and feel more comfortable going by myself.
Making the decision to create 30 minutes to devote to myself has been challenging but rewarding. Today, in my 40’s, my hormones are in perfect balance. I’m proud of the way I look and it’s not uncommon for me to be mistaken for someone in her twenty’s. All this and I have the energy to keep up with my youngest son ¬¬… he’s eleven.
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~ Karen Ficarelli
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