It is amazing how a simple thing like Spring Break can blow your entire routine to bits. It is hard enough to stick to a fitness routine, but here is my Fitness Blah! Blah! Blog! Here I was for the past seven months, hitting my local Curves every M-W-F at 8:30 am til 9:00 am, with a few missed workouts through the holidays. It is so easy to skip sometimes, but I was doing good. Curves is quite affordable, but if I miss, then I am the one who pays in more ways than one. I had my routine down so smooth. I would deliver my pride and joy boy to kindergarten, then head straight to Curves for what I describe as my "energy fix." After thirty minutes of dancing and stretching, I would enjoy a light yogurt, maybe some fruit and a big glass of water, starting the workday with a burst of energy.

There are no guys, no mirrors and no one cares because it is all about feeling good about yourself as a woman.

Suddenly, the routine changed. My six year old son is off from school for two whole weeks. I knew this was coming, but I wasn't prepared. I did not have a backup plan of where to take him while I did my workout, so guess what? You know it!! I skipped the workouts for the whole first week, justifying that I was on break, too. We stayed up late watching movies, slept in a few mornings, ate some cereal,(once some fried bologna), and watched cartoons before I finally dragged my lazy self out of bed to face each day. By the Sunday of the first week of "vacation", I had no energy and felt hungover. We napped all day long on Sunday, waking long enough for some unhealthy snacks that I won't even mention. Come Monday morning I was feeling the guilt, the shame and my batteries were drained. I needed to recharge.

See, I love Curves and what it can do for me when I treat myself to just 30 minutes of "time for me". I can go in there, turn off the cell phone, wear nearly anything: no makeup, bad hair, ball cap or bandanna, it doesn't matter. There are no guys, no mirrors and no one cares because it is all about feeling good about yourself as a woman. The songs at my Curves are wonderful and inspirational, sometimes a few Christian tunes with a beat will be blasting, and that helps my spirit, personally. Each station of exercise does something for me that I cannot explain, but I know that it works for me. Each of the women I meet there feel the same way. My muscles become tone and strong, the aching joints are loosened and the kinks are just forgotten. I have lost a few pounds, but even more of the extra inches I didn't need. I went down two jean sizes in a month.

While I dance, I let go of the residual, toxic anger that lies hidden behind my smile.

I had always been fit and not much overweight, but I have suffered for almost ten years with severe back pain from a work-related injury that seriously affected my career, my marriage and my self-esteem. The decision to become a mother also took its toll on my career, marriage and finances. Through a couple of years of self-evaluation, I realized what I was allowing to happen to me. I wanted my old life back, but I had to realize and accept that it was gone forever. I had to build new dreams and chase new goals. I am regaining a little more of my true self each time I dance my little happy dance at Curves. It doesn't matter so much that I no longer make the big bucks. I am my own boss now, even though I have three professions. So what if I am diverse. Isn't "multi-tasking" the buzz word?  I no longer have to endure rush-hour traffic or solve the world's problems, only the ones that affect me and my family.

While I dance, I let go of the residual, toxic anger that lies hidden behind my smile. I have gained an understanding that the stress and anger were like detonators for the very real physical pain I was enduring. Now, I rarely even take a Tylenol.

I am so glad that a friend took me for a Sunday afternoon canoe trip last fall. I finally began to recover my focus of what is important to me. I became motivated to not just dream new dreams, but to go after them. I believe her words were something like, "You have to change the way you think about things. You have to change the words you use. Instead of saying "I want to do…." you should say "I am going to do….". She also told me that it is alright to shine your light and be proud of the things you do well. She gave me permission to do something good for myself without feeling guilty or selfish.

As a fellow mom and good friend, she also told me about TravelingMom and guess what?  I am loving it, too. Thanks to my friend, I hope my little story can help someone else to "Cowgirl Up" and start living life the way they want, also. No matter what life throws at you, you can survive and rebuild. Do any of you use exercise or some physical activity to energize or reward yourself? I would love to hear your stories and successes.