My friend Kari has learned from her experiences all throughout life and her wellness journey, and I am so grateful that she is willing to share what she’s learned with us.
Who is Kari, you ask?
Back in my college days, a friend of mine put up a Facebook post to help out the family she’d been babysitting for all summer. My friend was getting ready to head back to school about 3 hours away and wanted to help them find someone to help out before and after school while she was away. I had just moved back home to attend our local community college and jumped at the opportunity to earn a little extra cash.
What I didn’t know was that I had just opened the door to some of the most special relationships in my life. For the better part of the next decade, I got to be a huge part of the Seabrands’ kids lives, and they became a huge part of mine.
In addition, I became friends with their parents, Dan and Kari. Kari and I quickly became people we each could lean on or vent to in tough times. We also always could together in the good times. I would often stay late at their house after she got home so we could catch up and we always had a great time together at the kids’ various events. Of the 3 kids, 2 are now older than I was when I met them. Their youngest began driving this year, so I don’t do any babysitting anymore, but it’s been determined that the family is stuck with me.
Kari has been a larger inspiration to me over the years than she knows. So, I was delighted when she agreed to share her wellness journey for today’s installment of Women Who Inspire Wellness.
A Goal of an Active Retirement
When preparing for articles in my Women Who Inspire Wellness series, I always ask “What does ‘health’ mean to you?” Well, Kari says it means doing whatever it takes for her to be able to live an active lifestyle well into her retirement years. To make this goal a reality, she consistently makes healthy choices throughout her day in regard to food, exercise and thoughts. Thoughts are an aspect of health that is often overlooked, so I was overjoyed that she addressed them, too.
Her exercise routine consists of a Pilates Reformer workout twice weekly, strength training twice weekly, and an hour of cardio 3-4 times weekly. For cardio, she alternates between the elliptical machine, hiking, walking and occasionally biking. A really well-rounded week!
Take Words with a Grain of Salt
A piece of advice Kari shared that I just had to pass on was “When Grandma lovingly describes you as ‘pleasantly plump,’ don’t spend your life thinking you’re fat. Yes, I speak from experience LOL (I might still be working on this one!).”
I think this is an issue that many women face, but don’t often speak about. I know I’ve had comments made over the years that really stuck with me, particularly those that were said when I was a child. These are the kind of comments that we need to let go of. Focus instead on everything that you love about yourself.
Inspiration for Wellness Journey from the Bible
I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but I have had some friends and family who, over the years have been comfortable discussing religion with me and teaching me more about aspects that I didn’t fully understand. Kari is one of those people.
Her favorite book is the Bible, her go-to for life. Any other book she reads is primarily for temporary enjoyment. She regularly turns to the Bible for good advice both in good times and bad, and finds that it serves as a constant reminder of her purpose on Earth. It gives her perspective and balance.
Kari draws her inspiration from the bible. A message she has returned to over and over again in life is that we are where we are in this moment for a reason . . . a lesson in contentment. Two bible passages that carry this message are Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,;” and Ecclesiastes 3, which is summarized as, “There is a time for everything that happens under the sun . . . and I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”
An Evolving Diet
For the past 5 years or so, she’s eaten a higher-protein, lower-carb plan. Primarily, she limits intake of bread, potatoes and pasta. What I love is that she is not adamant about it. As we all know, a warm piece of sourdough bread is definitely worth having. It’s this type of balanced perspective that we need more of in the world. Over the years, she’s been willing to adjust her way of eating to meet her body’s needs. She also pays attention to the latest research. Kari has always been very open to learning and growing.
Workout Music and Feelings
I also love Kari’s take on workout music. Her favorite workout song is Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” She was born in 1969, so it was obviously a really great year! Since most of her workouts are long and low-impact, she listens to a variety of genres, including Lauren Daigle, Brad Paisley, Steven Curtis Chapman, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line. It’s not uncommon to find tears running down her face during a cardio workout because some song “brought out the feels.”
Own Your Wellness Journey
Have faith and trust in the journey. Your wellness journey may look different than others and may not feel like it comes as easy. Remember though, it is yours, so own it. Kari says that she wouldn’t change a thing about her journey because life itself is a journey and we learn from our experiences. She has always been an exerciser and striven to eat “healthy.” She now eats nearly the opposite of how she did when she was younger. This is because she is open to learning and growing along the way.
The most important lesson she’s learned along the way though is: “Listen to your body and don’t weigh yourself daily. Scales can make your day deceptively great or terribly depressing. Focus on the choices you are making, which you do have control over, and the rest will fall into place.”
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