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Sometimes, Life is Like a Zoo

For my 50th birthday, my niece Amanda and her family came and stayed with me for a few days. We live about seven hours apart and only see each other two or three times a year. I love spending time with her family and on this particular visit, I met Jackson for the first time, the newest addition to the family.

On the day that Amanda and her family had to head back home, we went to the Erie Zoo. My aunt, her grandson and his son went with us. As we were enjoying seeing the various animals and the other attractions, I couldn’t help but think how sometimes, life is like a zoo.

“I Think I Can, I Think I Can”

The zoo has a train that runs throughout the grounds. While everyone else rode the train and I kept watch over the stroller, purses, etc., it gave me time to reflect on my Digital Running journey thus far. Things were going very well. I was walking two or three miles a day, had lost 82 pounds and was feeling good physically. Then little things happened… I had a pinched nerve in the bottom of my foot, followed by gout, and then plantar fasciitis. I had to cut way back on my walking.

In celebration of turning 50, I had planned on walking with friends to a restaurant located in the next town over (roughly 4 miles each way). Breakfast is my favorite meal, so we were going to walk early in the morning for breakfast. However, with the foot issue, I had to cancel the walk, which greatly disappointed me.

With disappointment, it’s so easy for old habits to kick in. Prior to the limited walks, I was all geared up to enjoy ONE birthday meal. Feeling frustrated about the situation, I ended up celebrating my birthday for four days straight! Oh, I had a birthday breakfast – but I also had lasagna, peanut butter pie, beef on weck, and the list goes on!!! For four days, I ate whatever I wanted.

As I watched the train go by, I was reminded of the childhood story with the well known line, “I Think I Can, I Think I Can.” I had to remind myself that I’ve been doing well so far, and that I can’t let a foot issue totally derail me from my fitness journey.

Feeling Like a Sloth

There were days when I felt like a sloth! Since I couldn’t be out walking, I managed to convince myself that it wasn’t worth the effort to exercise in the pool or to even have fun in my “play” room (workout area). I would go for two or three days and the only exercising I would do would be what Coach Brian outlined for me to do.

Yep, I felt like a sloth. I spent a lot of time lounging, just hanging out here at home. My eating got back on track, but with the extended birthday celebration and limited exercising, for the first time in this journey, I gained weight. I gained 3 pounds during the month of August.

Just Let Me Be!

This little guy was my most favorite animal at the zoo. So many people were staring and laughing at him and trying to get cute snapshots. He just wanted to be left alone and not draw attention to himself. That’s sort of how I felt with this recent bump in the road…I didn’t want people wondering if I was still walking or if I was still being careful with my eating.

I wasn’t surprised that I gained–obviously I knew what I was and wasn’t doing. However, two thoughts hit me. The first thought was, I understand why some of the contestants on the “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” gained weight during the third quarter. Once you allow yourself to give in, whether it’s consuming food, drinking, staying up late, skipping workouts, etc., it’s so easy to go back to what you have known for years. It’s so easy to fall back into the bad habits that you desperately have worked hard to break.

When I’m at a social event and resist the food temptation, once in awhile someone will say, “I’m sure you’re allowed one cookie every now or then.” If I could stop at just one cookie, then maybe that’s possible. But as I experienced on New Year’s Eve -and most recently on my birthday – if I give in to sweets, breads or some other tempting food, it triggers cravings. Eventually, many months down the road, I might be able to enjoy a special treat every now and then without it causing me to badly want more.

The second thought I had was that I still REFUSE to let circumstances cause me to throw in the towel. Unlike so many attempts in the past where failure has come out the winner, that’s not the case now. I’ve accepted that there will be times when my walks will be on hold due to foot issues. I also realize that when I’m able to do longer walks, I will appreciate it that much more. Meanwhile, I need to enjoy spending extra time working out in the pool (yes, after being a sloth for a bit, I’m back to using the pool) and increasing my movement in the “play” room.

It’s Worth It!

Spending the day at the zoo with the family was a lot of fun! Later that night as I was looking at the pictures that Amanda took, I especially liked this one of Bri and me. It reminds me that I want to be able to spend time with my family and relatives as often as possible. Having lost both parents while they were in there 60’s, a brother in his early 50’s and my sister in her mid-30’s, I know our family doesn’t have a very good track record in regards to health. That’s why when I get off track, such as on my birthday, I need to choose to jump right back on track. Striving for better health is so well worth it, when I know I want to enjoy activities such as the zoo with Amanda’s kids. This pictures is a reminder to me to keep on going with my fitness journey.

Stop the Ride, Please!

How about you? Do you ever feel like your life is like a merry-go-round? Things go well for a while, and then something causes you to slip, but then you get back on track, only to find yourself slipping again–the pattern just goes round and round. What can you do this time, to break the pattern?

I know for me, I want the pattern to end. I have way too many dreams that I want to turn into reality. This is only going to happen if I refuse to let the merry-go-round control me.

What are your dreams? To walk 5 miles? To run a marathon? To lose enough weight to have a baby? To run through the park with your child? To see your children grow old? To climb a mountain? To swim across a lake? Stop the merry-go-round and start chasing your dreams and turn them into realities!

Written by

Barb Bergerson lives in Western New York. She has a passion for helping people and getting to know their life stories. She teaches part-time in a jail, is a church administrative assistant, and enjoys freelance writing. Barb loves spending time with her nieces, playing games and relaxing by her pond. She’s excited about focusing on her health and getting back into the game of life. Get updates on Barb's progress on Facebook.

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17 Responses to "Sometimes, Life is Like a Zoo"

  1. Amanda says:

    This maybe one of my favorite articles so far. Of course I’m very biased.

  2. Emily Gray says:

    I knew it was bothering you about not being able to walk. I also know that you also needed time to reflect to see where you were and were you are going. We all fall off the wagon but you did not fall far and it was by no means something you decided to so. Health issues made a large bump in your road. You are heading back to the right road and I know you will stay strong and determined. Keep up all the good work.

  3. Francoise Merry says:

    Bravo Barb! I think that is my favorite article as well. What a lesson you learned and what a lesson you are passing on to all of us! Thanks Barb

  4. Shelley says:

    If there were not any valleys in our journey, we would never appreciate the mountain views!

  5. Judy Cicirello says:

    Hi Barb, so glad to hear of your great success. I enjoy your articles.Keep up the great work. You look wonderful.

  6. Debbie says:

    You’re doing GREAT! It’s only human to hit a speed bump, it makes you stop, think where you were, what you’ve done, and where you want to go next. Moving forward is your inner strength letting you know you Do have it in you to Achieve what You put your mind to!

  7. Erin Gorham says:

    You are such a wonderful writer, Barb! Very insightful and honest. :)

  8. Jasmine says:

    Great article!! One of my favorite parts is where you talk about how much you will appreciate your walks when you are able to get back to doing long ones…so true!!

  9. Karen says:

    Well done!!! You are awesome!

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