Teresina: Cardio to the rescue

March 10, 2006

(A serial publication of the book, Ride 4 Your Life! on health and fitness by Teresina.)

I moved to NYC to make my way to the great stage. I danced, joined a gym and exercised hard. Aerobics was the craze and I was hooked. I loved the high, I loved the sweat, and I loved the weight control. This is when I discovered I really could eat, and eat a lot, as long as it was the right stuff.

I found the energy to keep getting healthier. I started a regimen of taking supplements and herbs. After a time of self and health exploration, I was in top form. My body was lean and fit and my eating habits were definitely better –– as long as I kept moving. Yes, I was healing, and had discovered a new way of life, but I was terrified at the prospect of having to work out this hard for the rest of my life!

Teresina bitch pout

“Teresina Bitch Pout” photo by Roger Bourland.

I was just starting to like myself when…BOOM! I ripped the cartilage in my knee doing high-impact aerobics. I fell flat on my ass. (Funny how the universe puts you where you need to be!) The only reason I didn’t black out from the pain was because I was so angry, knowing that I wouldn’t dancing any time soon. My trainer, Reneé Leigh, arrived a few minutes later, scooped me up off the floor, put me into a cab, and rushed me to the hospital. It turned out that I tore my lateral meniscus and despite many efforts to avoid surgery, I delayed the inevitable, and underwent arthroscopic surgery under the healing hands of a sports surgeon by the name of Dr. Parisian.

To my horror, it was necessary for me to stay in a knee immobilizer for seven weeks. I was panic-stricken! I was immobilized!! I wasn’t so much fearful about the recovery of my knee –– I expected it would be fine, but my weight! I was frantic!! Not to mention that I wanted to dance again.

This was big: I was having surgery, me, who never so much as needed a single stitch! And it was my decision. I wasn’t a little girl anymore. But since my knee could not support me, what choice did I have? Looking back, I realize it was the first time I let go of my fear and surrendered to whatever might happen.

To my amazement, although I did gain a few pounds, I had restored my metabolism to such a degree that I did not get fat. Even more amazing was the fact that I didn’t hate myself –– and I even cheated! (I remember because it was the first time I had Haagen Daz Deep Chocolate Fudge ice cream. You just don’t forget things like that!!). It was the first time feeling joy about my body I remember having.

After the immobilization on my knee was completed, I began physical therapy. I diligently followed Reneé’s advice as I had for years. She knew me (my body) well and I trusted her. “Swimming, swimming and more swimming,” she said. So I did. Daily. My knee, and my body became STRONG and efficient!

When you realize that everything that happens to you brings you to the place you need to be, anything can happen. This realization is what helps eliminate fear. To me, this is the difference between belief in one’s self and faith in one’s self. Belief is accepting where you are, which is good and necessary. But for me, faith is the deep understanding that it is the right place to be. That is dedication; and somehow, I had both.

A healthy spirit thrives from deep self-respect –– not from seeking validation and results, reasons or excuses, but rather complete and utter faith that we are who we decide to be. It is no longer necessary to seek approval from others. We no longer need to wait for praise or encouragement. Have faith that you can do what it takes to get the job done. [to be continued]

© 2006 by Teresina

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