I2H Blog

Change and Transformation

I2H Fitness Challenge – New Beginnings

Tuesday December 23, 2014
6:00 pm.
YAY! Can’t wait for the new me! I was not an easy participant to recruit however I am impressed with the holistic and culturally relevant approach and am excited! The ten weeks end on my birthday, a very significant age 66. As a senior citizen the world is now wide open for me and I want to jump into the ocean of possibilities looking good, feeling healthy.

During the Conversations with Al McFarlane radio program this morning in the interview with Julie McMahon of My Sound Nutrition and Dr. Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine, I learned I would be joining the Insight 2 Health (I2H) Fitness Challenge ten week health and fitness training boot camp.

Yikes! Being semi-retired, the most walking I do is from my TV to my fridge and then back again. Occasionally I swim. Mostly I sit. I sit while I work on my mosaic art, clay sculptures and writing. So this challenge was going to be quite a challenge.

I tried to think of reasons not to join. Couldn’t use the ‘I can’t afford it’ excuse because even on a fixed income, it is super affordable. Less than $7/day for certified trainers, nutritionist, mental health specialist and the support of team mates … a steal of a deal. Cutting the fast food, even healthy fast food can easily cover the cost.

Fun note … it’s a challenge, with prizes. Ah, I can feel my competitive nature trying to motivate my blobby body.

When I met the nutritionist, Julie McMahon, I tried to use my Latino card. Latinos are more than emotionally attached to our food it is how we create community. We’re not a smoothie and salad people. Julie got excited at the thought of helping me modify those yummy Puerto Rican delicacies. Well, that didn’t work.

I then bellyached on how I don’t like a boot camp type structure. I don’t like being yelled at. It’s not a motivator for me.

Then Dr. Darrin Moore’s words rang in my ears … “we have to push through our patterns of behavior to tap into our internal resources.”

I like that. I need to push through my issues. I have plenty of those for sure. Already I am feeling the support that Al McFarlane and Tyrone Minor want to share, “creating a public mind…redefining how we see health and fitness,” McFarlane says.

The end of the ten week session will fall on my birthday, a significant age I had hoped I would embrace with dignity. Maybe now I can!

Yup … I’m doing this!

Recently joining the elite ranks of journalist my first full fledge assignment is to give a firsthand account of the ten week life changing challenge. Sure I want to have a life altering opportunity. I watch all those shows like “The Biggest Loser” and the one where they get a cosmetic surgery and the one where you’re transformed in seven days. Watch ’em all in the comfort of my couch while holding a bag of junk food waiting for the transformation.

But now, thanks to the initiative by Insight and F.I.T. Lab, I will be participating in something that is completely dependent on my own sense of motivation. I can do this, I told myself as I went into my kitchen to munch on my favorite snack, Cheerios and a cup of coffee … yum, comfort food! I’ll miss you so. WAIT! STAY FOCUSED!!! Back goes the box Cheerios. Aye … can’t wait until January 17th!

Day 2
December 24, 2014 7:44a.m.
I meant to go swimming this morning, instead I’m finishing up a mosaic piece and have “Leave it to Beaver” in the background. I took a moment to write these few words. With this I can follow through …

It’s that movement thing that I struggle with. My holiday gift to myself is my unconditional support of MOVING this old decrepit body (soon to be anyway, if I don’t MOVE it!)

I so look forward to more energy and firming the curves that are surrendering to gravity. I don’t want to be my abuela. I don’t mind being in the kitchen, I do balk at the cleaning. What I do mind is, devoid of laughter, how old she looked. The spirit out of her eyes…bandito, pobresita abuelita.

I had to reschedule with Tyrone Minor, the book camp sergeant. Holiday family dropped by and I couldn’t leave them. We were too busy eating EVERYTHING that I’m sure my nutritionist, Julie will not encourage. Whew … I was happy to reschedule with Tyrone. I need to get into shape to be able to meet my trainer who will get me into shape.

My goal today is to swim in my pool on the 3rd floor and NOT take the elevators. Let’s see how well I can do the 6 flights of stairs before I meet with Sgt. Tyrone the first of the brand new year …. Brand new me! I’m excited!

Day 3
Friday December 26, 2014 10:49 a.m.
Ah, the holidays are over … well almost! Now comes all the promises of brand new starts. Top of my list is a new healthier me. The challenge is opening my path to new possibilities. My kids are happy, my son especially. He says I’m going “to rock it”. He also thinks I should go to Cuba and explore a brand new world.

Day 4
December 31, 2014 7:50 p.m.
Four days since my last entry. Yesterday I said my goodbyes to 2014 with enchiladas rellenos, frijoles, rice and a flour tortilla. I ran into a neighbor, Adam, who happens to be one of the personal trainers working with the challenge … small world, a sure sign of good things to come.

Every day I am feeling more and more confident that I will follow through on my new year’s resolution.

Day 5
January 2, 2015
Finished up article finally, I am back on track. I have been careful in my choices of snacks. Got strawberries and blueberries instead of my traditional junk. I’m taking the stairs instead of the elevator (well, going down anyway!)

January 16, 9:00 a.m.– TOMORROW IS THE DAY I have been waiting for. This is it! What do I wear? At least I feel prepared to journal and document the ten week transformation. Got a camera (looks and feels like a plastic play toy my granddaughters would enjoy rather than a tool to capture a moment in time).But as my sister Dalia would say, “…better than nothing!” Challenges like getting the proper tools to do my job have been interesting, while prices are doable, quality is alarming. I’ve been working with Best Buy and they have been WONDERFUL! This is my third computer … and I’m taking it back! Slowly but surely I am identifying the computer that will best meet my needs. So many choices … aye!

The transition from a glue gun to a typewriter (well, computer) can be unnerving, but fun. Again, glad there’s a mental health component to this challenge.

In my hunt for a printer I wound up with two. Don’t ask. I’m keeping the wireless one and shipping the other one to my brother Roberto Camacho in Los Angeles, Ca. Roberto is a 40 year Red Cross volunteer. He now coordinates standing room only blood drives for local hospitals. I’m so proud of him. He now does this work in the memory of our brother Luis Mario Robles, Jr. who passed away January 25, 2013.

I see my last entry was Dec. 24th. Lots has happened since then. The holidays, eating more than I should and justifying it by telling myself I was saying ‘goodbye’ to an old friend.

And then my best pal, Vangeline (Vangie) Ortega died January 6th, same month as my beloved brother Luis. They always liked each other so I am sure they are super happy in the spirit world, out of their tormented bodies. Louie with alcoholism, our family inheritance, and the aftermath of torment for the unspoken Vietnam Vet; Vangie after 25 plus years fighting Lupus and kidney failure, while unexpected, she left peacefully in her sleep under her blanky.

Good thing this challenge has a mental health component … I sure could use a little of that right now. Can’t seem to stop crying for anything!

Vangie would want me to do this for my personal health and well-being. To be able to continue enjoying a quality of life, so I am more motivated than ever.

Like I tell my students … “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish!”

January 21, 2015
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CONVERSATiONS W/ AL MCFARLANE