I’ve identified as “just a mom” for many years; doing the typical mom things like taking care of the kids, the house, working, and last and always least, taking care of myself. I thought my identity as a mom meant putting my kids first, and always putting myself last. I hated my body and the weight I put on as a result of having kids, and let’s face it, making really poor decisions.
Little did I know that soon, two events would change the trajectory of my life. My mom suffered her 5th heart attack and almost died. She has cardiovascular dementia and heart problems as a result of both heredity and lifestyle choices like smoking, not exercising and not eating right. Her health always worried me and I realized that I was headed down the same path if something didn’t change.
Then, one day my daughter asked me what it was like to be a mom. I told her all the things I thought I should say like “Moms are strong, they love their families fiercely, they take care of everyone,” etc. My daughter looked sad. I asked why and she said, “I don’t want to be a mom because you’re unhappy and tired all the time. I don’t want to be unhappy and tired.” I realized then that my actions spoke louder than my words. I didn’t want to end up like my mom any more than my daughter wanted to end up like me. That hurt.
I DECIDED THEN AND THERE THAT I WOULD CHANGE. I WANTED TO BECOME SOMEONE MY DAUGHTER COULD LOOK UP TO AND WANTED TO EMULATE. I ALSO WANTED TO LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE IT HAPPEN.
I never hated exercise, but I always looked at it as a necessary evil. I tried running, going to the gym, swimming, walking, hiking, you name it. I forced myself to do it but I dreaded every minute of it. I moved to Aurora from Lakewood and decided to join the gym so I could continue exercising. I saw the Reb3l class and chuckled. Have you ever seen a drunk three-legged giraffe? That’s me, dancing. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try it.
Right away I noticed the energy and camaraderie. I thought “I’ll just fake it ‘til I make it” and committed to going to Groove class three days a week and stream the Strength class 2 days a week. In class I always hid in the back corner, hoping to blend in. I’m 5’11”. There’s no blending in. I started to learn the choreography and wasn’t struggling so much to stay upright (I’m a klutz and the struggle is real)! l started meeting people and found that it didn’t feel like the exercise I was used to.
I NO LONGER DREADED IT AND INSTEAD, FOUND MYSELF LOOKING FORWARD TO IT! MY BODY MOVED IN WAYS I NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE. I FELT STRONG, ATHLETIC, AGILE, AND……CONFIDENT! I REALIZED THAT REB3L WAS NOT ONLY CHANGING MY BODY BUT MY MIND AS WELL.
That was what I was missing in my previous attempts.
I’ve lost 115 pounds. I have literally lost a person, but I have gained something else – a woman that is strong, fierce, confident, and takes care of herself so she can continue taking care of others for a long time to come. I no longer want to blend in. I want to stand out and to stand tall. Everyone I know has noticed the change in both my appearance and my attitude, including my daughter. I no longer identify as “just a mom”.
I am a mom, I am proud, and I AM REB3L!