Lisa J. Rutherford, RMT - Registered Massage Therapist
Sometimes I can get caught up in all the chaos and messes that life can bring me. Sometimes life can be filled with some missteps. Do not get me wrong, I love my life, but sometimes if I keep making the same mistakes, I end up hitting rock bottom.
I was falling earlier this year. I had to take a step back from my life, while life was still happening, and figure out how I was going to redirect things. I knew I had to change myself, because really, what else do I have control over?
I put a plan in motion. My first step was to educate myself. I ordered some self-help audio books and I listened to them every night until I understood. This step gave me confidence. I wasn’t happy about my situation, but I had some confidence that I could understand things better. I talked to trusted and respected family and friends, not too many, just a few. After a while, I did not feel like talking about it at all, but I still checked in with these few people so they knew I was working on things.
Thailand was drawing me near again. What is it with this country? I had already planned a trip to Thailand for this year and I threw away that idea. Could I make it happen?
I had become obese again. I have been struggling with obesity my whole adult life. Gain weight, lose weight, and do it all over again. I am tired of that roller coaster.
I had been to Thailand on two other occasions. Both times I had hoped to try Muay Thai, but it wasn’t in the cards for me then. I thought, “maybe Muay Thai is what I need to build my confidence, get strong, and be in shape for the last 10-15 years of work I have left.” I love to research Thailand, so that is what I did. I found a club in Pai and I emailed them. I told them I was obese, have bad knees, asthma, and will be 50 years old in September. They responded very favourably, indicating they teach students with similar limitations and see no problem. They suggested I prepare by doing whichever cardio I currently felt comfortable with as regularly as I could, as well as body weight exercises (sit ups, push ups, squats).
Two weeks passed, and I had done not one squat, push up or sit up. I knew that if I wanted my body to be able to keep up with the intensity of the workouts they were going to provide me in Thailand, I better shape up. The last thing I want is to get injured and have it impact my career as a Massage Therapist. Some suggested posts on Facebook were advertising OrangeTheory workouts (somehow, they know when you have been thinking about working out). I figured I would try a free class, and, low and behold, I actually liked it! It was super difficult at my then fitness level, but in my mind's eye, I was working like I was a contestant on the biggest loser show. I did my best, and sometimes it wasn’t as great as everyone else, but sometimes it was better than others. I was making progress. I signed up for three months of unlimited classes. It was expensive, but I was doing it, so it was totally worth it. I was intermittent fasting and trying to make decent eating choices, but I was not restrictive at all.
I had only two and a half months to train at OrangeTheory, work as much as I could to save for Thailand, and dot the i’s and cross the t’s on all my responsibilities.
My life was busy and go-go-go, but it was what I needed to ensure this evolution happened on my terms. I managed all the important things I needed to do because I knew this would be life changing, confidence building, strengthening and a reset (or restart) of my life.
Soon, the day came to leave. I thought it would never come, but it also felt like it arrived quickly. When I left for Thailand, I had already lost 20 lbs and I was feeling stronger and more confident.
As I write this article, I have been training Muay Thai for over three weeks. I had my 50th birthday a week and a half ago. I train twice a day in two-hour classes, six days a week. I have finished 35 classes. The beginning was tough and I had a lot of growing pains. My abs, for instance! It hurt to cough or move, but now I do not feel any pain in my abs. I had some minor injuries in the first week or so, but I am holding up better than I expected. My body has changed a lot – I am shocked when I look in the mirror. I don’t think I have lost much weight, but the shape of my body is different.
I still anticipate another five weeks of training. Part of me wonders if I have already done enough and maybe I should go home earlier. Honestly, being so far away from my family is difficult. While doing tough things like training Muay Thai, it is easy to get tired and wonder: “what am I doing?” I keep remembering that I am mentally and physically conditioning myself and that this experience is a huge blessing in my life. I hope I hold out till the end and put in a full two months of training. In no way shape or form has this been easy, but I am learning to love every gruelling moment of it.
The point of my article is to say that sometimes we all need to take responsibility for where life is going and just grab the bull by the horns. This year has been a huge growth year for me, and on so many levels. I feel incredibly blessed to have improved my headspace, my body image, my strength and confidence. I have exceeded my expectations of a great outcome, and there is more to come.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” We must pay attention to the signs from the outside world that things need to change, such as a change in health, increased anxiety, our friends or loved ones telling us, repeating the same mistakes or failing relationships – just to name a few that speak to me. It is never too late to redirect your life. You are the most important person in your life, and you should think of your best interests first and foremost. It is my belief that if I take care of myself well, I can take better care of you, my family, friends, and my amazing clients at Wellness for the Body.