Celebrating Health, Happiness and the Return of My Wedding Ring
No more excuses for being unhealthy.
In May, Todd and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We were married at the Newman Center on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. It was a beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon in early May. I can clearly remember the moment Todd put the wedding band on my finger. I may have even held my hand up to give the congregation a quick glimpse of the ring before we continued with the ceremony. It was a beautiful white-gold band with small diamonds spaced evenly around the band that glistened when the sun hit it just right.
That wedding band held such promise that day, and still does. It signaled the start of our family. Little did we know that 10 months later we would pack up everything we owned and move 800 miles to North Carolina, or that 28 months later we would welcome Tyler into our lives, or that 69 months later Molly would make us a family of four. It held our dreams and our fears, our laughter and our tears, our hopes and our trials.
When I was pregnant with Tyler, the ring started to get a little tight. I took it off because I couldn’t bear the thought of it being cut off of my finger. I put it back in the box that it came in and put it in my drawer for safe keeping. How could I be upset, I had a precious little boy to love? After Tyler, I didn’t lose enough weight to get the ring back on my finger. I couldn’t resize it because of the diamonds that surround it. I felt guilty, but to be completely honest, I didn’t do anything to change the situation. I ate what I wanted and I didn’t move any more than I had too.
Then came Molly. The ring stayed in my drawer. I would look at it every once in a while and feel sad that I couldn’t wear it, but again, I did nothing to change my circumstance. I was still married. I didn’t need the ring on to prove it. The ring or lack of ring wasn’t the reason for some “better or worse” times. That was all us and the stress that comes with a two-career household and two children. Some of that stress also contributed to our unhealthy lifestyle and habits. Some nights it was easier to go out to eat than to cook and sometimes it was easier to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (let’s get specific, Peanut Butter Cup ice cream), than to confront my fears and emotions. I also drank way to much diet soda and I frequented the drive thru for both me and my children. None of this was OK and I am not proud of these times, but they happened and I own that time in my life.
How Things Have Changed
Things are different now. In the past year, I have had an awakening, realizing that I deserve better for myself and my family. My mindset has changed. I am no longer trying out a program or a recipe because I have to. Now I am doing it because I want to. I want to change and I want to be healthy. I am finally OK with eating a piece of fruit instead of a cookie. I am no longer afraid of chickpeas or eggbeaters. The verdict is still out on Vegenaise and cashew butter. I know I will eat chocolate and pizza again because I have, and I am not perfect. I don’t want to be perfect. I just want to be healthy, happy and here. I want to be here for my family. I don’t want to watch life from the sidelines, I want to chase my kids through the yard till we all fall down laughing.
Getting healthy is a journey – along overdue journey. I am not going to beat myself up over what I should have or could have done nine years ago, six years ago or two years ago. I am 42 years old. I am here now and am celebrating the fact that I got up this morning at 5 a.m. to go to Burn Boot Camp, that I packed a salad for lunch and that my family is on this journey with me. Thank you Fit Family Challenge for being the program that we can stick to and be proud of. We no longer have excuses because of this program and the experts behind it who are motivating us to put one foot in front of the other in terms of exercise, nutrition and balancing the crazy life we live. The small steps we are implementing – packing snacks, sitting at the table to eat, drinking water and moving more – are becoming daily habits.
Remember that wedding band that held so much promise on that beautiful and warm Saturday 12 years ago? I am wearing it right now as I write this. It is no longer hidden in its box in my drawer. It is sparkling on my finger. That may be my biggest accomplishment to date. Now it also symbolizes how hard work, determination and the love of your family can change your circumstances for the better.
Jennifer Howe and her husband Todd, and children Tyler, 9 and daughter Molly, 6, are participating as one of our 2016 Fit Family Challenge spotlight families. Learn more about their healthy family journey here, and follow along with Jennifer as she updates us this Spring and Summer in the Fit Family Challenge Blog.