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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

How I was inspired to new weight and vigor by ballet leotard, tights

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:01 am
It is amazing what a leotard and tights will do to inspire you.It was just over a year ago, June 2009, that I decided to take better care of myself and improve my health.

It all began when I enrolled in a ballet class at Fort Wayne Ballet. You see, the last time I participated in a ballet class was in 1955. So I completed the paperwork, signed up to take a class and purchased the black leotard and pink tights, required by the ballet when one becomes a student in the adult class.

Upon arriving for the first evening class, I entered the studio with its three walls of mirrors. This gave me a full front, back and side view of my body and from every angle possible. I quietly said to myself, “Oh, my goodness. You need to do something about your weight and get into shape.”

My fellow classmates were of all ages. I decided on the spot to take charge of my health, improve it and make the necessary lifestyle changes that would be best for me. On that date in June I weighed 40 pounds more than I do today. At the time I wore size 16 clothes, and today I am wearing a size 10. My goal was to lose weight and improve my body shape.

With the encouragement of ballet Director Karen Gibbons-Brown, as well as a very special person in my life, my journey began. These two encouraged, understood, inspired and picked me up when the challenge seemed to get tough. I am very grateful to them.

It seemed in a short time that people noticed I was losing weight, my posture had improved and many compliments were coming my way. I will openly admit it was not easy cutting calories, eating healthier and fitting exercise into my daily routine, but as I shed the pounds and firmed up it was a new lifestyle for me.

A few months into the program I realized I could participate in activities that I had not in years. My newfound energy, attitude and zest of life flourished. After the summer ballet session, I enrolled in another fall class in 2009 as well as a tap dance class. You might say I was somewhat hooked. I also decided to begin a walking program and even try a little jogging, which I had not done since 1975.

My eating habits became very healthy, meals filled with fruit and vegetables, fish and chicken, a minimal amount of red meat. Also, I eliminated desserts from my diet, except on a special occasion such as a birthday, and then the portion was just a taste.

I added whole grains in the form of cereal, certain breads and dark rice. I found that as I ate healthier, I continued to feel better and better and my energy increased. I am a Type 2 diabetic, and with the weight loss, change of eating habits and exercise under my physician's direction, I was able to reduce my medication from four tablets a day to one. That was accomplished in just six months.

My cholesterol was reduced significantly, and my clothes kept getting bigger and bigger. I did have a goal in mind and decided to purchase only a few new items until I was close to my desired weight.

To get my body in shape, I enrolled in Pilates and Zumba classes, as well as ballet and modern dance. Also, I continue to walk and jog a little. You might say I do keep moving. I cannot forget the senior stretch classes a few times a week.

This summer I enrolled in the Fort4Fitness program, which culminated last weekend. This past summer I did participate in the 5K Runners on Parade and Matthew 25 run and did surprise myself that I could really do it.

I feel terrific, and all because I put on a leotard and tights and walked into a room of mirrors. You see, I am a septuagenarian, but many days feel like a teen.

Fort Wayne, if I can do it, so can you. Just give it a try to see how much better you will feel. Get out of your chair, start moving, and don't forget the leotard and tights. And stand in front of a mirror.

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