Julie S: I Was Ready For A Major Change
I’ve never been much of an athlete, in the typical sense. I do enjoy hiking, and I’ve always loved to dance. But, like so many other women, after I had my child, my priorities shifted. With more energy and time needed to sustain my career and nurture my family, it got redirected away from my health. It wasn’t like I explicitly said to myself that my heath wasn’t as important; it was just the only thing that felt alright to let slip.
And, let it slip, I did. I experienced a chronic low level of energy, felt deteriorating strength, and regularly used various unhealthy foods in my unsuccessful attempts to fuel myself. Over five years, my less than 5-foot frame grew by over 25 pounds. The extra weight took an additional toll on me: my energy, my strength, my stamina. Even my feet – I occasionally pushed myself to get out for a hike, but found that it was painful on my feet. Plantar fasciitis, the podiatrist said, likely exacerbated if not entirely caused by the extra weight I was placing on my feet. I tried various suggestions to reduce the pain, but nothing seemed to help. Nothing, that is, until I began to take charge of my health in a robust, comprehensive way.
The breaking point for me was realizing that my daughter stopped asking me, and instead turned to her Daddy (every single time) for a “pick up.” I did occasional pick her up, but I rarely lasted very long. I clearly recall her saying to Daddy, “Mommy can’t pick me up; you’re stronger.” Admittedly, Daddy is and likely will always be stronger than me. But, to carry our now-33 pound daughter, that difference shouldn’t matter. Not only did I want to be able to carry her when she got tired at the end of a long outing. I also wanted the stamina to be able to run and chase her, not just cuddle and read books with her.
I got serious in late 2015. I know that in order for me to wholeheartedly tackle something, to begin to prioritize it enough to make it happen, I need to feel connected. As a feminist psychologist, I lecture on how, as women, we are socialized as relational beings. As a relational being, I need support. I need comradery. Cooperation. Teamwork. Motivation. Encouragement. Friendship. I need interpersonal connection to buoy the hard work. Kaia has been that for me.
I joined Kaia Fit in October of 2015. In four months, I’ve gotten far stronger- I run and play with my daughter without pooping out in 5 minutes and now she often turns to me to be picked up. I see and feel muscles in my body that I didn’t know existed, and I’ve lost 17 pounds. Of course, I was ready for a major change. I had no idea, however, how Kaia Fit was going to offer me so much more than a great workout. It is less challenging than ever before to make regular workouts happen because there are so many different class times throughout the week. But, the real clincher for me, for sure, has been the community I am building with Kaia Women. We hold each other accountable, we share recipes and tips on eating healthfully, we motivate and encourage each other, we drop for push-up’s when we run into each other in public. By forming a community, Kaia Fit offers me something no other gym or fitness class can. It has caring coaches who know us on a personal level and who help individualize the workout for different folks’ needs, it fosters an environment of support wherein women help build each other up, and it creates a bond among us that helps us remain committed to one another’s and our own health, fitness and overall well-being. It’s hard to miss class when you have that!