Fitness & Life – Jamie Tolleson

Being a parent is tough.  Being a parent and working is tougher.  Being a parent, working, and keeping fit seems next to impossible.  I think all of us get so engrossed in the hustle and bustle of our lives that making changes to them fills us with dread even if the change is something we know will make our lives better.  Making the decision to live a healthier lifestyle came, for me, at a time when my kids were little.  I needed more energy.  I needed to move around better.  I needed to preemptively cut off the family history of lifestyle cancers, heart disease, and diabetes, SO I decided it was time to take my fitness into my own hands.

First, I had to decide I was ready for the change.  I mean, really, truly, ready.  No fooling myself.  I wasn’t going to do this “my way” or tell myself “this isn’t working for me”.  I was going to ignore that little voice inside my head that was trying to sabotage me by telling me “One little bite won’t hurt” or “Everybody is staring” or “Just give up.  It’s not going to work.  It hasn’t before.”  I was going to do my research and trust the process.  No matter what happens, JUST KEEP GOING! Say to yourself “It’s not a priority” instead of saying “I don’t have time for that” when deciding if something was worth doing.  So instead of saying “I don’t have time to eat healthy and exercise” say “Eating healthy and exercising is not a priority”.  I’m definitely not comfortable with the latter sentence.  Kinda puts things into perspective, huh?

At the time I found Bayway Crossfit, I had a 4 year-old and a 1 year-old.  I was a high school science teacher with 3 preps working 10-12 hours per day and commuting at least an hour to and from work every day.  I KNEW it was going to be tough, but this had to work.  I started with a 3 day per week membership.  I would sit down on Sunday nights and plan every evening. (Cossfit Monday, grocery shopping Tuesday, Crossfit Wednesday, soccer practice Thursday, Crossfit Friday).  That was my life.  On the weeks I didn’t plan, life was so much more difficult.  I heard someone say one time that “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.  It stuck with me. They were right.  Some days I was so exhausted, it was hard to stay with it.  I would think “I don’t have time/energy/focus for the gym, so let’s stay home and order pizza instead”.  The next day I’d feel so disappointed in myself for giving in, but I had made a promise to myself to JUST KEEP GOING!  Today was a new day, and I would not let yesterday be the new normal.

At the same time I was getting used to this new routine, I was learning how to eat healthy (because sometimes going all in is necessary).  Most people don’t even know what proper nutrition looks like.  It’s no wonder people give up so easily!  Diets don’t work.  At least that’s what Weight Watchers told me, and heck if they weren’t right.  Learning how to eat properly every day while still allowing yourself to enjoy eating?  That’s the ticket.  I loved Weight Watchers.  I loved that I lost 50 lbs with them, but what I’m truly thankful for, is learning how to enjoy food healthily.  It is a lesson I will continue to use every day for the rest of my life.  I still have moments of weakness (omg, cake!), but I don’t let it keep me away from my path.  JUST KEEP GOING!

I hope sharing my story will help some people struggling to figure out how their healthy lifestyle fits in with their family life.  It’s NOT impossible; tough, maybe, but not impossible.  Anybody can do it, as long as you make the decision to take charge of your health and vow to let nothing get in your way.  Your family will thank you, your coworkers will notice, and most importantly, you’ll gain the self-confidence you never thought was possible.  Is fitness your priority?

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