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Time to Get Back on Track

Ready to Rock and Roll Again!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

It’s really been a strange couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago at this time, we were bracing for Hurricane Sandy here in the New York area. The clean up and recovery continues and will continue into the unforeseeable future. While reading this week’s People over the weekend, it was difficult to grasp that the pictures and stories of devastation originated in towns only miles from where I sit and write this post. My parents are supposed to have power restored today. While their being in the dark and without heat hasn’t been as severe as the other horror stories I’ve heard, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve worried about them.

As I hear more and more stories about people coming together to donate clothing and supplies or volunteer their time to help with clean-up efforts or simply be there for people affected by the storm, I’m reminded of and moved by the strength of the human spirit. So many people in so many parts of our country have suffered at the hands of Mother Nature or people who’ve wanted to do us harm. Somehow, we rebuild and we go on.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but it was while I chopped vegetables and prepped other items for the week ahead when the realization of just how strong we can be as a community gave my own spirit a swift kick in the you-know-what. I needed it. I’ve been relying on a few too many comfort foods and glasses of wine to wind down after watching news coverage of Sandy’s aftermath and also cope with the added worries about my parents. Also, I hate to admit it, but I’ve even been slacking at the gym. While I’m a firm believer in doing some sort of activity is better than no activity at all, if you’re looking for results, you’ve got to make those moves count.

So, I kick off the new week with new energy to stay disciplined and lose the few pounds I know I’ve added to my waistline. No more bowls of cereal or having that second serving of almonds while watching the little TV I sneak in some nights before bed. No more skipping the weight circuit because “I can always do it tomorrow.” It helps that I have a friend’s wedding coming up in a few weeks. Since I have my dress picked out for the occasion and knowing I want to feel as comfortable as I can in it, I’ll have a little extra incentive to avoid the cookie jar in our office break room and get to the gym even after a long day.

Wherever you are on your health and fitness track, I invite you to join me on this Motivation Monday and assess how things are going. Remember, even fitness lovers like me need to re-group and re-boot once in a while. So here’s to a new focus, new week and new chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Sandy & My Spiritual Fitness

It’s hard to believe today marks a week since Sandy’s devastating arrival in New York. What’s even harder to believe is how so many people are a long way from restoring any semblance of normalcy in their lives. That being said, it’s hard for me to focus on writing about my favorite core exercises or the benefits of cardio when there seems to be more important information people need in my hometown and many towns in the Northeast right now. So, I will keep this off-topic post brief and simply tell you how Sandy inspired me to do something over the weekend that I haven’t done in a long time: she sent me back to Church.

Faith is probably one of the most personal topics out there. In my life, I’m surrounded by people who practice many different religions and I also know some who follow none. During my personal ups and downs during the past year, I started having my own “issues” with God. Unless I was home visiting family, I went to Church less and less. This morning, however, I felt compelled to get up and get there. I wasn’t looking for answers on why a higher power would let this kind of disaster take place. I was just looking for a quiet place to really focus my energy on asking that those who need help find comfort any way they can. I didn’t leave Church feeling like a new person, but for me, it was a good start.

The latest figures show approximately 700,000 homes and businesses in New York City, the northern suburbs and Long Island  remain without power. My parents are among them. Hundreds of thousands of of people New Jersey and Connecticut remain in the dark, as well. Meanwhile, the temperatures continue to drop and a new rain-driven storm could be hitting our area on Wednesday. These below freezing temperatures take things from inconvenient to downright dangerous. Of course, power-issues aside, there are also countless horror stories. While I’m fortunate to say I didn’t lose a loved one in the storm, I have friends of friends who did. I also know people whose homes remain flooded and possibly damaged beyond repair. Others stress over when they’ll get back home and back to a normal routine. Meanwhile, I sit in my warm apartment with my iTunes playing and blog site up and running. It’s hard not to feel guilty.

So, in the week ahead, I will workout in an attempt to keep my own worries about my parents in check. At least I know the time I spend in the gym is a healthy distraction from letting the mind wander to places it does no good to go. I’ll also continue to pray. As a thank you to all of you who continue to send your good vibes and positive messages, I wish you a week filled with countless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Friday’s Final Thoughts

To say it’s been a hell of a week would be an understatement.

As I write this post, I realize how lucky I am to be able to sit in my non-damaged apartment with the lights on and all lines of communication working normally. I’m beyond thankful that my parents, though among the nearly 800,000 people without power on Long Island, are safe despite the half-dozen trees that came down around their house. I’m lucky my other family and friends are all accounted for. On this post-Sandy Friday, I realize just how important it is to take stock of all my blessings when so many others lost so much to this historic storm.

In the height of all her fury, Sandy wreaked havoc in 17 states. The last numbers I saw before publishing this post showed the storm claimed 87 lives,  knocked out power and communications for millions and brought Manhattan – the city that never sleeps – to a virtual standstill. She flooded tunnels in the massive transit system; destroyed beach boardwalks; tossed roller coasters into the ocean and yachts onto front lawns; sparked uncontrollable fires and explosions and changed landscapes and lives forever.

It has been good to see the city coming back to life, but there is still such an eerie feeling in the air. The subways, trains and buses are coming back even more quickly than first predicted. My office re-opened with a skeleton staff on Thursday. On Wednesday, I was fortunate to be able to leave my apartment and walk a few blocks to my gym and see the neighborhood businesses up and running again. However, the images and stories of this storm’s aftermath continue to play out in the news. Those images will haunt us for quite some time as those who lost so much face a long and uncertain road toward recovery.

To those of you who sent emails, texts, or tweets of Facebook messages to check on me and my parents, I send my sincerest thanks and appreciation. At times like this, you realize just how lucky you are to have a support network of people who care and want to help you through whatever life throws at you.  I wish everyone a wonderful weekend filled with more steps toward recovery along with a unified spirit and conviction to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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