by Meredith Atterbery
Achieving good health requires a smart diet and regular exercise.
Success comes to those who wait …
I don’t buy it. success comes to those who work every day to reach their goals and don’t let anything get in their way. if your goal is to be healthy, get ready for a long, beautiful, self-realizing, priceless journey. This daily adventure to learn more about yourself takes patience. “being healthy” is not a destination, but rather a journey.
As a personal trainer, i have worked with individuals ages 8 to 80, each one with specific goals, but all sharing one common goal – being healthy. What does that mean? it means to feel good, to feel confident, and to be physically able. This journey looks a little different for each of us.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite inspirations – Ms. Karen. When Ms. Karen retired, she wasn’t happy with the current state of her health. For years her career and family took all of her mental and physical energy, so her health was placed on the back burner. She wasn’t where she wanted to be physically.
Does this sound familiar? With mobility comes opportunity. Ms. Karen started her journey by walking … it was that simple. She would lace up her dusty athletic shoes and go for a short walk around her neighborhood. At first she could only walk about five minutes before running out of breath. After about a week, she was almost doubling her time before running out of breath, and in just over 6 months, this short walk evolved into a 30-minute walk.
Then she was ready for more, but didn’t know what to do next, so she came to the YMCA, and this is where we met. I could see the desire to be healthy in her eyes — she was ready. We started with learning how to move her body in a safe way. Every day we took small steps towards her goal, and celebrated each and every reached goal! The first goal was getting onto and off of the floor. I know this might seem like such an easy task, but if this ability is lost, it can be extremely limiting to our lives. It was a slow process due to her fear of not getting back up, and like all of us, she almost lost her momentum. But she never gave up, she kept going, and then, BOOM, she did it!
Ms. Karen is now doing full-body push-ups (practically popping off of the floor), walking two miles (or more) twice a week, regularly participating in aqua fitness classes at the YMCA, and she has lost 55 pounds. She knows the effects of food on her body and knows how to make smart, healthy choices at the dinner table. She has been on hiking trips and has traveled all over the country living her life to the fullest. She is always saying, “Wow, I feel way better than I did when I retired” or “Meredith, you’ll never guess what I was able to do this weekend.”
Guess how long this has taken? She has been on this journey for over five years, and she will tell you it has been worth every second. No more crash diets or “magic pills” and no more missing out on her life. She stayed focused on the long term goal of being healthy, which kept her going when her progress didn’t feel fast enough or when she hit those small bumps along the road.
Being healthy isn’t easy. It’s something we must practice with every step we take each day and with each bite of food we take. We must actively think, “Am I taking a step towards being healthy or away from it?” Always remember that “being healthy” is not a destination, but a journey.
Meredith Atterbery received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from LsU. she is a certified personal trainer, a certified group exercise instructor, and certified kickboxing instructor. Meredith brings her passion for fitness, her love for triathlons, and enthusiasm for all things athletic to her work – through indoor cycling and circuit classes, kickboxing, and one-on-one training. she is now the Wellness Coordinator at the Paula G. Manship YMCA.