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  • Writer's pictureKathy Schick

Inspiration & Strangers

A woman climbing the bleachers changed my life. I don't know her name, and I never saw her face- but I saw her struggle.

It was 1996, and my baby brother was graduating from high school. As the crowds poured into football bleachers I noticed a middle-aged mother gripping the handrail, painfully inching up each step and pausing to catch her breath occasionally in an attempt to simply find a seat and celebrate with her family. I knew without a doubt she was me in twenty years- if I didn't make changes.

It took four years that included two pregnancies before I would reach my goals. By the time I developed the courage to weigh myself I weighed in at 230 pounds- meaning I'd weighed much more. My lack of accountability to myself means I weighed a number I will never really know.

I had much to learn-and unlearn. It wasn't enough to join a gym, I needed to use it. It wasn't enough to blast out calories in spin class- I needed to stop treating myself to the Mexican restaurant across the street after every class. It wasn't enough to "think" I was eating healthy if I didn't take time to check and record the actual nutritional information. Even now, all these years later I KNOW that throwing my legs up the wall for some restorative yoga will soothe my stress, but I'm still tempted to find comfort in "Store-Bought-White-Cake-With-Buttercream-Frosting" and sometimes I STILL cave under pressure. (and now you know the best way to bribe me)

Changing my body meant changing my mind. In the final year of reaching my goal weight I finally implemented this. I bought a book with short weightloss inspirations and left it in my car. I'd pull into the gym, read an inspirational story from my book, then walk into the gym for a workout. I journaled both my workouts and my meals. I talked to healthy minded people who encouraged me stick with my goals day by day by day. I thought quite a bit about the lady from 1996, painting a picture in my mind of how I wanted to look on my daughter's graduation day: I would purchase a light green sheath dress that came just to the knee. Sleeveless. High heels for sure- and I would float effortlessless up those bleachers without pausing to catch my breath. That was my goal.

So here I am today- my daughter is graduating from high school. There will be no bleachers. There will be no sheath dress. In fact- I am quarantined due to exposure to Covid-19 and simply thankful the doctor said it's ok for me to ride in the car at her graduation parade.

But that's ok.

I don't need the bleachers or the green dress to tell me I'm not the same person I was. I woke up, drank water, and had a vegan protein shake for breakfast. This afternoon I'll walk a 5K and practice an hour of yoga. I know I will, because I've done it every day since I'm not sure when. Working out has become such a habit that I don't feel well mentally or physically if I don't workout- I will not miss it.

But first? I have a graduation parade to catch. -Kathy Schick *July 2020

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