My journey began age 6 with dance classes…oh I wanted to be a ballerina – ‘til my dance teacher quite thoroughly dismissed that notion telling me I was too big & fat for that. I think she was a frustrated ex-dancer, but the damage was done. So, enter in Jack LaLane, my first coach, & he was pretty gorgeous then. I decided if I couldn’t be svelte, I might as well be strong & flexible. Therein begins my personal odyssey that covered a range from power walking 5 mph to weightlifting, tai chi, different styles of workouts from Yoga, Pilates, and Callanetics to Joyce Vedral, Body Flex, 6-week Body Makeover, Slim in Six, Pain Erasure, The Egoscue Method of Health through Motion and every kind of rubber band/gismo video tape along the way… Suffice it to say I was a gym rat and workout junky with a serious addiction to escaping friends, relationships and real health through exercise.
In 1981 I discovered a unique way to avoid gaining weight, and keep others at an emotional and physical distance: bulimia. Food was the ultimate anesthetic, pretty sad really to finally face the loss of time, money, friendships… sanity, emotional strength, trust, these were just words in my arsenal of say-it-claim-it jargon. When I woke up about 12 years later from the fog of self-induced food addiction, I realized I couldn’t keep trying to fit my nature, personality, lifestyle preferences & beliefs into boxes of others’ making. All along I had done good things to somehow balance the scales against indecent food fits… thanks to a wise MD, who helped me realize some of the genetic glitches that predisposed my particular chemistry to certain behaviors under stress. I had to face that while I didn’t drink alcohol like many family members, my system created alcohol from the grain/root & fruit/sugar food groups. This began another odyssey into nutritional awareness that included years of studying and applying massage, reflexology, acupressure and chiropractic techniques.
One day in 1999 I went on a magazine diet. Instead of comparing myself to others, I began to want to feel comfortable in my own skin, to move and breathe without that catch in between my shoulders, the crick in my neck, the sciatica that was one of the unbecoming legacies of bulimia. I had been working on so many layers with self-help books, tapes, and seminars, I was a walking dictionary, a legalistic hodge-podge of so much information that if you asked me a question, you had better be prepared for a lecture. So…the last magazine I bought for years was Women’s Fitness International. And became introduced to Teresa Tapp’s workout approach. Finally, I thought, someone has the ability to synthesize all the information I’ve been gathering in so many different places there wasn’t enough room in my brain to hold it all…
It is amazing the only serious injury I endured occurred in May 2003: I blacked out in the heat while biking one afternoon & came to screaming. The MRI showed a busted left knee ACL. After spending a month in the recliner, I realized slowing down, not only physically, but everywhere in my life was imperative. Spring-cleaning came late that year, but has somehow been going on ever since. Without health insurance, and a lot of belief in my body’s ability to heal without resorting to surgery, I pulled out the one 13 minute T-Tapp video I’d, ahem, not returned to a friend who attended a free seminar event in 2003. I couldn’t do it. So…I dug up all the paper downloads on Teresa’s Back Pain Relief on the floor routine, & began incorporating modified stretches from other routines that kept my muscles flexible. When Teresa talks about muscle memory, I listen. What saved my knee is KLT.
The blessing of having been an avid fitness follower is my body did heal. Despite setbacks from slips and falls, I made progress slowly, applying the Alexander Techniques, Pilates and Callanetics moves and walking KLT with a knee brace for almost 8 months. Then, in March 2004 I made a decision to attend at least part of Teresa’s May 2004 Houston event as my birthday present to myself. Sherry Richards taught the class, my first ever with T-Tapp (other than the magazine articles, the short Basic workout video and the computer paper downloads). Talk about holding onto the wall…what balance? Core? Hey, on the floor I got all the core moves down… but standing? On one leg? Riiiiggghhhtt…… So… I bought the Workout and the CRT program. I worked out twice a day for five whole weeks just to get ready for the one day, Saturday, to make sure I could keep up. At the event, I invested in the More Workout, with great skepticism. The rest, as they say, is history.
The T-Tapp More 4 in 1 Rehabilitation Workout saved the life of my knee. The foundations of years practice were good, but not great. Diane Stone’s testimony motivated me to keep going. Even with a few falls, the recovery time was less with each misstep. The form tips, slower speed, attention to right-left brain neurology, and faithful practice gradually rebuilt my strength and self-esteem. It took me another year to not use a knee brace. My knee would ‘get tired’ even when the rest of my leg or body was raring to go. So I learned to honor my limitations, not be set back by them, and work with what I had left. I climbed ladders to paint houses, stayed off bicycles, roller skates, treadmills and high heels, swam, walked on the beach, and got a dog who wouldn’t let me stay stuck in self-pity.
In 2005 I began attending monthly classes in Houston with Kirsten Tucker. This continues to be a motivator on a daily basis. I probably fall into the ‘less to lose’ category, so my results aren’t the dramatic physical changes so many Tappers experience. But I still fit in 4-to-6 petites and I’m probably a good 10# heavier than I was a couple of years ago. So the internal muscles have increased in strength. At age 51 I have no loose skin, few expression lines, fewer typical hormonal issues and generally feel better than I did in my mid-30’s. CRT brushing has helped my metabolism and I believe is instrumental in preventing pain in my legs. This month, 1/2006, is the first time I could do the gymnastic stretch ever, and it’s been since November of 2005 that I could do a real bootcamp without pooping out, getting sore or losing form.
Anyone who has had trials and tribulations with over/under exercising, food, health issues, body image, fears of failure or success, can learn to appreciate their body and wellbeing through Tapping. At this point in time, my knee is approximately 90% healed without surgery. I can do most everything within reason. What I cannot do…well, c’est la vie. Climbing mountains is probably not in my best interest. But as Teresa says, going to my personal max is a mountain worth climbing every time.