“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
- Kids taunting me with “chink” when I walked home from school
- Every grade I ever received other than an “A”
- my first heartbreak
- the deaths of my grandparents, sister-in-law and friends
- breast cancer and the six surgeries that followed
- every awful job and boss I ever had
- every workout that pushed me to the brink of insanity
- the police officer at my high school football game who hatefully asked me if I speak English
- scooter/car accident right before my wedding (I had to wear a leg brace under my wedding dress)
- my mentor’s suicide
Let us not dwell on our past, but let us celebrate our survival. It is pain and loss that molds us into the strong people we are.
calmness in an uncomfortable situation;
serenity no matter what happens;
self-control of thoughts and actions;
and it requires constant vigilance.
True Beauty exerts and sweats
she’s strong and flexible
she’s persevering and unstoppable
she likes to eat (!)
relentlessly, tirelessly, defiantly
When I am strong physically,
it helps me gain strength
in all the other areas of my life.
Therefore, exercise is a top priority and my keystone habit.
A keystone habit, according to Charles Duhigg, is a habit that starts a chain of other habits that improves one’s life. For example, exercising regularly influences my diet – I make better choices. I also sleep better. My family also tells me I’m more pleasant to be around. (I mean, really, how could I be more congenial than usual?)
Knowing that exercising is my keystone habit motivates me even more to maintain my regimen. It makes everything better!
My Spam box this morning contained golden nuggets of information: exotic Russian women are waiting for me – as is an $800,000 donation from a very generous woman named Donna.
One thing that is always in my Spam box, the news, magazines and billboards is some variation of the theme, “Lose Weight Quickly”.
I’ve learned that this is a very bad idea and, as with most things, I learned this lesson the long and hard way.
When I was 7 years old, I ran around the neighborhood with my friends Renee and Cathy. We played tag, rode our bicycles and re-enacted “Charlie’s Angels.” I ate what I wanted and I ran around a ton.
At 12, my parents started telling me I better not eat too many Cheetos. I’d get fat. Why did we have Cheetos and Ding Dongs in the house? I started to look for the fat. I started to worry.
At 14, although I was below average weight for American girls my age, trying on jeans would reduce me to tears. I didn’t look like Brooke Shields in her Calvins. My sister and I started dieting and exercising. We were miserable, but felt like we were “taking control”.
The next five years were a roller coaster of diets. At this time, it was all about low fat and cardio. We were mildly successful.
When I landed my first job, I made a salary that was considered poverty-level. Paying back college loans and working in San Francisco, I could only afford pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I developed a wheat allergy, so I ate less. The radio salesladies commented on my tiny waist. I was physically a wreck, but damn, I looked good.
I got a bit wiser and healthier. When I was pregnant with my girls, I suddenly cared a lot more about being healthy and a lot less about looking thin. When they were toddlers, I got naturally strong, carrying an infant and the car seat made me strong. Carrying an infant, a car seat and chasing a toddler made me even stronger.
Now, my goal is to be as strong as I can be for as long as I live. Lifting heavy weights, rollerskating at the rink, practicing yoga and taking frequent walking breaks has made me stronger than ever. A surprising side effect to all this strength training? I think I look better than ever, too.