I can recall the feelings I used to have from being overweight: Discomfort about going to the doctor and having another person see my weight. Aversion to going swimming because of being barely dressed in front of many people. The pit in my stomach going over the Wall at Herzl and thinking “What if I don’t make it over?” or “What if I take forever?” In high school, I’d wear my stepfather’s jeans because they hid my body.
I had these thoughts and feelings, but I didn’t quite know how to take the first step to begin the process of change. I didn’t talk about those feelings with anyone. I began to think, these are just my genetics, or that it was too late to start. I always thought that the prerequisite for workouts, sports, and dance was to be fit. But nobody starts fit. We all know that you don’t have to be perfect to begin; you just have to begin.
I used college to begin. My roommates and I would go to the University of Minnesota Recreational center with the best of intentions. But after the workout, we’d go back and promptly order breadsticks to share in Sanford Hall. The life of college kids: eating large portions, eating late at night, frequenting Hillel for their popcorn and Shabbat Dinners, and sort of being active.
While on board at the University of Minnesota Hillel I began again, and set out to motivate others to be active and combat the Freshman 15. With the creation of the Fit Club, students would meet a few times a month to do a workout video together at Hillel.
But it was when I started working at the Sabes Jewish Community Center years later, and had daily access to classes and the gym facility, that my routine started taking shape. I began making a commitment to my health and wellbeing, in between work, graduate school, internship and planning a wedding. By finding activities that I enjoyed I gained more confidence, and that helped me continue. By surrounding myself with positive people, also on the quest for health, I began to fall in love with the process. I found out I could be active. I could start to feel and see changes. It was not too late.
When I became a mother my goals and priorities grew and shifted, and so did my body. I craved a way to keep all my priorities and health in check. I wanted to find a way to spend time with my husband and kids, and also keep my passion for fitness alive. I found a program called Beachbody that offers at-home fitness programs and nutrition plans. Because of Beachbody, I’m able be a good example for those around me, have access to fitness when it works for me, and not compromise my priorities for family to come first. We can all keep healthy as a family, at home.
I am a social worker and a personal trainer, and I have combined the two into a Health Coach and I more than love it. As a Health Coach, being able to refer my clients to the Beachbody home programs and to my Online Fit Clubs means reaching more people than I would be able to going gym to gym for training. But there are many other programs, and many other reasons why I love having my own personal health coaching business. I’m able to talk to my clients 24/7, I get to show others that there is an accessible way to be active and get support, as well as connect with people who have a similar passion for wellness.
Having experienced the change from sedentary to active; from “Can I do it?” to “I have to do this,” and now “I LOVE this;” from gym to home workouts, I have a passion to show others a good time while working out, to show everyone we can make the time. We are worth it.
I have an obligation to show others their potential. I know what it is like to keep pushing on and thinking “Maybe I’m not meant for this!” or “This is a lot of effort for results that take a long time.” Let those thoughts push you harder, let that drive you to find what will spark your interest in either getting started or pushing past plateaus. I am here along the way because I have been there, and am still going, on a never ending quest for wellbeing.
Alissa Abelson believes being a wife, mother, and health coach defines her. There is no end to the love she has for helping others find ways to fit in fitness. You can find her on social media running Online Fit Clubs and Challenge groups. Check her out at www.alissaabelson.com – See more at: http://tcjewfolk.com/making-fitness-priority/#sthash.xwEFEodU.dpuf