Well it’s New Years Eve. A lot has happened in this past year. I retired. I came to terms with being retired, and then I got my act in gear and got my health back. At the beginning of the year I set some goals. I wanted to get healthy and in shape. I did start going to the gym and I did that regularly, but for some reason I couldn’t break my bad eating habits. I would say I was going to try but each day but I would come home and eat a lot of bread with butter, ice cream and chocolate a lot of chocolate.
Then there were a couple of life moments. Last Spring I went to watch Selena O’Hanlon ride Foxwood High in the 3* and A First Romance in the 2*. I was very excited to see my first 3* and get a chance to walk the course. John and our friends Robbie and Dawn Brady were with us. I was able to walk around the course but it almost killed me. I was out of breath, sweating and basically in pitiful shape. I got home and saw the pictures and was really disappointed in how I looked. I almost didn’t recognize the person in the photos. I was upset but not enough to do anything about it.
Then came haying season. I got through one day and managed to get 175 bales into my barn. But when a friend needed help bringing in her hay my body gave out. It was one of those hot 30 degree days this July and I was part of a chain bringing hay off the wagon and into the barn. I had hardly started working when I felt my chest tighten and I had to stop. I sat down drank some water and then felt fine, but I was scared. The next day I took my blood pressure at the drug store and it was high. You'd think that would have shocked me into doing something about my weight and health, but no, I continued to eat junk and feel like crap.
Then I guess the next aw-haw moment came after riding my youngster Floyd. I had been riding him at home but my footing wasn’t great and so my friends Judy Dupuis and Ron Braaten allowed me to trailer over and use their sand ring. As it was the first time Floyd had been off property in two years I asked Hilary Popiel to get on first. When I finally felt comfortable to get on, John recorded the event. When I got home and watched it again I was shocked. Who was that fat old woman sitting on that lovely horse? I was now aware there was no hiding from my lack of health and general obesity, but even thought it was upsetting and depressing but still I couldn’t stop eating.
Then my friend Barb Broughton had a trip planned to Alberta for a week long camping trial ride. She wanted a bit more time in the saddle to get ready, I wanted someone to ride with. We started riding together at my place. I’d had a couple of rides on Derby she was on Floyd. On the third ride together I got on Derby and started to walk to out to my grass riding area and Derby freaked out and bucked me off. There had been bears in the area that day and I think that was what set him off. Now Derby has bucked me off before but not for a while. This time I fell hard. I was fine, nothing hurt really but I knew then and there I wasn’t safe to ride at that size. I didn’t have the body control to react to my horse’s movements good or bad. That was the moment "the penny dropped", I’d arrived at a point where I wanted to change.
Ok then what? What had to happen? I needed to make some big changes in my life.
I had to stop eating outside of meal times. I had to start eating less. I had to start eating good foods. I’ve done Weight Watchers, and a million other diets…. but they’d all been diets. I have lost more weight in the past than I like to think about, it’s been a lot. This time I didn’t want to think diet, I wanted to think change. So while I have been officially on a diet the last 4 months I haven’t. I’ve been on a path of new living. Carbs, that means bread, pasta and cereals are out. They are hard things for me to control. I will bring them back into my diet but on an occasion basis not as part of my daily eating. I made the decision not to eat starchy vegetables until my weight was under control and I no longer was officially obese. Sugar, and sweets of any kind are out, period. I have an addictive personality and sugar seems to trigger the bad eating gene in me. No booze of any kind, actually this wasn’t hard as I’d already given up drinking two years ago. It doesn’t mean I won’t have a drink now and again, but like sugar it will only be on an occasion basis. I suffer from depression and an anxiety disorder so booze is only an occasional treat at the best of times. Fat was gone too. Only the fat that was in lean meat was part of my diet. I learned to eat salads with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar or just plain. What kind of food was in, was all low calorie veggies. I could have my fill of lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, bok choy, spinach, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, celery, peppers, kale, cabbage. Besides salads I got very good at making zucchini spirals (Starfrit spiralizer is the model I use) instead of pasta with tomato sauce. I also love cabbage broccoli curry stews as well as soups of cauliflower and chicken broth. After 4 months of this and working around the farm the 54 pounds came off and I could move again.
Breakfast is two apples and black coffee. Lunch is a serving of protein and as much good veggies as I want. Super is a repeat of lunch. There is no eating after supper. I do drink lots, mostly a hot tea made of ginger and lemon slices. I also like a hibiscus and rose hip tea sold at bulk barn. I will tell you that I ygiven the amount of tea I drink I'm never far from a bathroom.
I also take a multi-vitamin everyday.
Now that I have got that all together and managed to do it by year end its time to make some serious goals for the New Year.
The main goal is to continue to eat properly in a new balanced, disciplined and healthy manner. That means that I will be introducing more complex vegetables but in a controlled manner, I will learn to respond to what my body needs and not what my mind thinks it needs to eat. I will limit the fats I consume. Butter and olive oil along with other such liquids will be monitored and only consumed when needed. Sugars, desserts and candies of anytime will be restricted to birthdays, holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and only the actual day not every day in the season. I know this all sounds very strict but why should my diet be any more flexible than that of my horses. I am a 58-year-old woman, if I want to continue to be healthy and active into my truly senior years then I can’t muck about anymore.
Goal two, ride more and ride often. That means getting all three of my horses back into regular work. I want to be riding or working my horses 5 days a week. That is going to be a huge goal for me. I have three horses and it will take a good part of my day to get them fit and keep them fit. The consequence if I don’t is to sell the horses and the farm. What is the point of having horses and doing all the work only to looking after them. If I'm not in shape, or they're just lawn ornaments then I might as well move to a condo with John and the cats.
Goal three, get my competition duds out of the closet and get Floyd and Derby to some shows. It’s time to make some dreams into a reality. I want Floyd to go to at least 3 schooling dressage shows this year. That will force me to improve his flat work. Derby I want to do at least 3 entry level horse trials. I want to do at least 3 of the Upper Canada Derby Series with either Floyd or Derby.
Goal four, I want to get my qualifications as a riding instructor. I want to go through the process for a number of reasons. First, just because I’ve always wanted to do it. Second, because I think it will help me pay attention to my own riding. And third I think instructor certification is important in any activity and so it’s put my beliefs into action.
Goal five, I want to travel with John again. In the past couple of year’s I’ve let my anxiety about going away from home control me. We are planning our first holiday together in 3 years this March. I’m working on getting my passport ready and I already have my farm sitter set. Now it’s a matter of getting on the plane and going. Then after that I have to plan a number of short trips away so my anxiety and nerves don't get the best of me.
Goal six, I want to complete 3 paintings this year and have them framed and put them up on the wall. This goal is about doing it, not whether or not I like the end result but actually making it happen.
Goal seven, to sell 7 of my custom made jumps. That will go a long way to paying my entry fees at the competitions I want to go to this year.
Goal eight, this is the hardest one. Be proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished.